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Making Enhancement Equitable: A Racial Analysis of the Term “Human Animal” and the Inclusion of Black Bodies in Human Enhancement

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Abstract

This article seeks to deconstruct the language employed by critical posthumanism, specifically the term “human animal.” It explores the implications of its use as a blockade against the equitable inclusion of Black bodies in human enhancement. Essentially, it suggests that human advancement has universal implications. This is especially important in considering how enhancement will be distributed among those who do not fit normative humanistic descriptions. The reality of my context is that many Black folks in the United States are just beginning to explore what it means to be both Black and human within the bounds of “equality.” There remains within Black subjects a tremendous amount of baggage associated with historical objectifications, stemming from ancestral experiences and communal narratives. So, when white scholars propose a futuristic critical framework without employing a thorough assessment of race, skepticism from Black scholars regarding equity should be expected. This is especially true when human animality is a key component of that framework.

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... A further shift in view is offered by Steve Fuller in 'Race As a Problem for Black Transhuman Liberation Theology' who suggests an alternative interpretation of race theory through his exposition of Butler (2018Butler ( , 2020, a young US theologian who identifies strongly with the Black liberation movement and sees various features of transhumanist thought as supportive of a project he calls 'Black Transhuman Liberation Theology'. What follows is a wide-ranging critical examination of how Butler positions his project vis-à-vis the concept of race, which he rightly observes has been underexplored in both the post-and trans-humanist literatures. ...
... Introduction Butler (2018Butler ( , 2020) is a young US theologian who identifies strongly with the Black liberation movement and sees various features of transhumanist thought as supportive of a project he calls 'Black Transhuman Liberation Theology' (BTLT). What follows is a wide-ranging critical examination of how Butler positions his project vis-à-vis the concept of race, which he rightly observes has been underexplored in both the post-and trans-humanist literatures. ...
... In the end, I will address the implications of this exploration for our postdigital age. S. Fuller (*) University of Warwick, Warwick, UK e-mail: s.w.fuller@warwick.ac.uk Butler (2018Butler ( , 2020 takes off provocatively from Fanon's observation that the radical otherness of Blacks in a White-dominated society effectively renders Blacks 'non-human', not only to Whites but also to Blacks themselves. Moreover, as Blacks adapt better to White society, they become complicit in forgetting their own racial history. ...
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This conversation between Catherine Keller and Petar Jandrić explores the contemporary relevance of the concept of Apocalypse and inquires into ways of responsible reading of Biblical texts. It introduces the concept of dreamreading and positions it in relation to the concept of prophecy. It presents arguments for rejecting the notion of creatio ex nihilo and proposes a close examination of the theology concerning creatio ex profundis. The conversation outlines the basics of process theology and its complex links to postmodernism and feminism. It moves to the contradiction between universal morality expressed in Scripture and postmodernism’s rejection of universal morality. It outlines Keller’s understanding of theopoetics and explores the transdisciplinary nature of (process) theology. The conversation ends with an in-depth exploration of postdigital theology, addressing postdigital spatio-temporality, transhumanism, posthumanism, Trinity, eco-pedagogy, and the Kingdom of God.KeywordsPostdigitalProcess theologyTheopoeticsApocalypseDreamreadingHeresyCreationismFeminismSexualityPostmodernismWhiteheadLiberation theologySciencePoetryTransdisciplinarity Docta ignorancia Creatio ex nihilo Creatio ex profundis
... Introduction Butler (2018Butler ( , 2020) is a young US theologian who identifies strongly with the Black liberation movement and sees various features of transhumanist thought as supportive of a project he calls 'Black Transhuman Liberation Theology' (BTLT). What follows is a wide-ranging critical examination of how Butler positions his project vis-à-vis the concept of race, which he rightly observes has been underexplored in both the post-and trans-humanist literatures. ...
... In the end, I will address the implications of this exploration for our postdigital age. Butler (2018Butler ( , 2020 takes off provocatively from Fanon's observation that the radical otherness of Blacks in a White-dominated society effectively renders Blacks 'non-human', not only to Whites but also to Blacks themselves. Moreover, as Blacks adapt better to White society, they become complicit in forgetting their own racial history. ...
... However, Fanon was clear that more concrete violence was required for 'decolonization' to fully succeed, including the dispossession and repossession of property and even the elimination and replacement of people. Butler (2018Butler ( , 2020 enters the picture mindful that when Fanon called for sustained violence at several levels to overturn the oppression of Black people, he was not only trying to capture the radical nature of the problem, but also to make a normative point about what Black people are literally 'entitled' to do once they own their 'non-humanity'. If you cannot escape your non-humanity by the rules of the game, then you are allowed to turn that non-humanity to your advantage, since you are simply listening to those who have defined your oppression. ...
Chapter
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