In this review of Timothy Morton's Hyperobjects, Robert Seguin contemplates the implication of the text's eponymous subject on art, philosophy, and politics. The "hyperobject," a hypothetical agglomeration of networked interactions with the potential to produce inescapable shifts in the very conditions of existence, emerges as the key consideration for the being in the present.
In one half of a pair of critical reviews looking at recent titles in animal studies, Nicole Shukin examines Karl Steel's How to Make a Human (Steel reviews Shukin in the other half). In particular, Shukin discusses Steel's framing of "the human" in terms of medieval violence, and she considers what that framing can offer to today's political and ethical conversations.
John Bruni contends that Cary Wolfe’s latest book "Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame” discusses the “legal issues that inform our relationships with non-human animals.” Bruni writes that in doing so Wolfe dissects the process of law-making and appearing “before the law” as animals, which might be potentially harmful and eclipse the existence of animals beyond the human sphere. According to Bruni what distinguishes Wolfe’s perspective is that he does not promote any form of “ecological self-righteousness” but rather asks the question whether we need to move beyond species-based discourses that constantly pits humans and animals against each other in an essentially unwinnable impasse—to a more ethical approach that may expand the "community of living."
Beginning his review by reflecting on the book's cover art, John Bruni speculates that a punk aesthetic runs throughout Alaimo's posthuman environmentalism. Providing brief treatments of each chapter, he argues that the book's trans-corporeal understanding of the relationship between bodies and places disrupts "the very heart of what we know about ourselves."
John Bruni suggests that Cary Wolfe's new essay collection explores the various cognitive fictions of humanism and carves out a functional role for systems-influenced theory and art.
In this review Veronica Vold charts the posthuman environmental ethic in Stacy Alaimo's Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self and notes how the text draws together issues of race, (dis)ability, and the environment in a way that disrupts the boundaries between bodies and places.