Before Humanity

This is a short monograph, co-written with Ivan Callus, which takes up the question of the “post-” in the “posthuman”. As we are “about to forget” the human, we are thrown back to the very beginnings of the human. “Before” humanity means both:

  • what happens just before we apparently became human (i.e. a critique of paleoontology, evolution and hominisation narratives)? and
  • witnessing the “end” of (at least certain notion of) humanity, what task lies “before” it?

In other words, while others rush ahead into technoutopias of artificial intelligence and posthuman evolution, we are interested in the proto-, paleo-, ante-… conceptualisations on which these “science factional” scenarios rely.

Have “we” ever been “human” and if not, what could “we” have been?

Projected chapters:

  • “Before…”: building on “Proto-, Post- and Ana-: Constructions of the Future”, a keynote delivered at the Winterschool Timing Transformations (IASH, University of Bern, February 2013); available here.
  • About to forget… the human: a reading of Max Frisch’s story Man in the Holocene (coming soon).
  • A critique of paleo-ontology.
  • First and last man narratives.
  • After humanity? World-without-us-scenarios.