New Criticals

For me, feminist variants of the new materialisms, especially those engaged with technoscience, offer the most convincing post-anthropocentric approaches. These writers approach the topic by articulating the rich complexities of how nonhuman technologies create us even as we create them. My personal roster of rock stars in this regard is expansive, and includes thinkers as diverse as Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Stacy Alaimo, Rosi Braidotti, and Katherine Hayles, among others. Susan Hekman puts it best; she explains that this specialized field offers the most comprehensive approach for contemporary theorists because it “addresses epistemological, ontological, political, scientific, and technical issues simultaneously. It is concerned, not just with science, knowledge, or power, but with all of these at once, and most importantly, with the interactions among them.” (2010, p. 68) Collectively, then, these feminist critics rise to the challenge I outlined above: they account for the activity of matter while also forging an ethical politics for post-anthropocentric subjects. It is important to emphasize that what I’m calling a post-anthropocentric subjectivity is in no way an attempt to revive humanism: the models proposed by these scholars are resolutely materialist and posthumanist, even as they maintain a nuanced appreciation of limits, agency, and responsibility.