Cyborg Saints: Religion and Posthumanism in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Cyborg Saints

Religion and Posthumanism in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction, 1st Edition

By Carissa Turner Smith


248 pages

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Hardback: 9780367193164
pub: 2019-09-27
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Saints are currently undergoing a resurrection in middle grade and young adult fiction, as recent prominent novels by Socorro Acioli, Julie Berry, Adam Gidwitz, Rachel Hartman, Merrie Haskell, Gene Luen Yang, and others demonstrate. Cyborg Saints: Religion and Posthumanism in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction makes the radical claim that these holy medieval figures are actually the new cyborgs, in that they dethrone the autonomous subject of humanist modernity. While young people navigate political and personal forces, as well as technologies, that threaten to fragment and thingify them, saints show that agency is still possible outside of the humanist construct of subjectivity. The saints of these neomedievalist novels, through living a life vulnerable to the other, attain a distributed agency that accomplishes miracles through bodies and places and things (relics, icons, pilgrimage sites, and ultimately the hagiographic text and its reader) spread across time. Cyborg Saints analyzes MG and YA fiction through the triple lens of posthumanism, neomedievalism, and postsecularism. Cyborg Saints charts new ground in joining religion and posthumanism to represent the creativity and diversity of young people’s fiction.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: Neomedievalist Saints and the Embodiment of Hagiographic History

Chapter Two: Cyborg Saints, Born and Made

Chapter Three: "Are We Not All Things?": Relics, Posthumanist Agency, and Intersubjectivity

Chapter Four: The Virgin Martyr of Comics: Distributed Agency and Saintly Iconography

Chapter Five: Posthumanist Pilgrimage: Trans-corporeal Journeys

Chapter Six: "Holy Dog!": Animal Studies, Tolerance Discourse, and Posthumanist Ethics

About the Author

Carissa Turner Smith is a Professor of English at Charleston Southern University.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founding Editor and Series Editor 1994-2011: Jack Zipes

Series Editor, 2011-2018: Philip Nel


Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Nature
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Religion