Reconfiguring Human, Nonhuman and Posthuman in Literature and Culture  book cover
1st Edition

Reconfiguring Human, Nonhuman and Posthuman in Literature and Culture

ISBN 9781032240787
Published December 13, 2021 by Routledge
300 Pages

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Book Description


The time has come for human cultures to seriously think, to severely conceptualize, and to earnestly fabulate about all the nonhuman critters we share our world with, and to consider how to strive for more ethical cohabitation. Reconfiguring Human, Nonhuman and Posthuman in Literature and Culture tackles this severe matter within the framework of literary and cultural studies. The emphasis of the inquiry is on the various ways actual and fictional nonhumans are reconfigured in contemporary culture – although, as long as the domain of nonhumanity is carved in the negative space of humanity, addressing these issues will inevitably clamor for the reconfiguration of the human as well.


The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license. 

Table of Contents

Reconfiguring Human, Nonhuman, and Posthuman: Striving for More Ethical Cohabitation
Sanna Karkulehto, Aino-Kaisi Koistinen, Karoliina Lummaa, and Essi Varis

Part 1. Towards Posthumanist Literature and Posthumanist Reading

1 On the Possibility of a Posthuman/ist Literature(s)
Carole Guesse

2 Posthumanist Reading: Witnessing Ghosts, Summoning Nonhuman Powers
Karoliina Lummaa

3 Becoming-instrument: Thinking with Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and Timothy Morton's Hyperobjects
Kaisa Kortekallio

Part 2. Imagining Aliens and Monsters

4 Alien Overtures: Speculating about Nonhuman Experiences with Comic Book Characters
Essi Varis

5 Playing the Nonhuman: Alien Experiences in Aliens vs. Predator
Jonne Arjoranta

6 Wild Things Squeezed in the Closet: Monsters of Children’s Literature as Nonhuman Others

Marleena Mustola and Sanna Karkulehto

Part 3. Becoming with Animals

7 Dead Dog Talking: Posthumous, Preposthumous, and Preposterous Canine Narration in Charles Siebert’s Angus
Mikko Keskinen

8 Carnivorous Anatomies: Art and Being Beasts
Brad Bolman

9 Reconfiguring Human and Nonhuman Animals in a Guiding Assemblage: Towards Posthumanist Conception of Disability
Hana Porkertová

Part 4. Technological (Co-)Agencies

10 Meeting the Machine Halfway: Towards Non-Anthropocentric Semiotics
Cléo Collomb and Samuel Goyet

11 Journeys in Intensity: Human and Nonhuman Co-Agency, Neuropower, and Counterplay in Minecraft
Marleena Huuhka

12 Cyborganic Wearables: Sociotechnical Misbehavior and the Evolution of Nonhuman Agency
Patricia Flanagan and Raune Frankjær

Part 5. Afterword: Unnarratable Matter?

13 Unnarratable Matter: Emergence, Narrative, and Material Ecocriticism
Juha Raipola

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Sanna Karkulehto is Professor of Literature at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She has published books, articles and book chapters on the critical study of representation, the politics of discourse, and the politics of difference. Her latest co-edited anthology offers theorization on the ethics and politics of reading when studying representations of gender and violence.

Aino-Kaisa Koistinen (PhD, contemporary culture studies) currently works as postdoctoral researcher in contemporary culture studies at the University of Jyväskylä. Her research interests include feminist theory, posthumanism, crime fiction and speculative fiction, transmediality, and monster studies.

Essi Varis is a graduate student in Comparative Literature and Comics at the University of Jyväskylä. She defended her doctoral compilation dissertation Graphic Human Experiments: Frankensteinian Cognitive Logics of Characters in Vertigo Comics and Beyond in April of 2019.


"In Reconfiguring Human, Nonhuman, and Posthuman in Literature and Culture, editors Sanna Karkulehto, Aino-Kaisa Koistinen, and Essi Varis have done more than assemble a collection of essays on posthumanisms (broadly conceived); they have amassed a scholarly mesh of sorts, a strange ecosystem of questions, concepts, methodologies, and subject positions that play productively with the evolving formations of critical posthumanisms...the book is dazzling in its playful intelligence and indefatigable curiosity. Because of this spirit of interrogative play, I consider it to be part of the now-vital network of collected essays on critical posthumanisms...the prime value of the collection, at least for this reviewer, is its effort to bring into conversation a wide array of theories, disciplines, primary texts (comics, novels, video games, etc.), materialities, and aesthetic sensitivities that both enhance and question the emerging fields of critical posthumanisms." Tony M. Vinci, Fafnir: Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research

"This book does not merely model ways to look at texts through a nonhuman or posthuman lens but illuminates the benefits and even necessity of employing a nonhuman gaze." --Colleen Karn, Methodist College

"Is it possible to say something meaningful about "nonhuman" literature? Would you really like to know what it is like to be a bat? How to make sense of the current drive in the "new" humanities towards problematizing "humanness" and "humanity"? What kind of narratives, readings, visualisations, experiences could or should be employed in human-nonhuman-posthuman relations? Sometimes it is by asking the right questions that knowledge, politics and ethics can be reconfigured. The contributions in this volume are a case in point." --Stefan Herbrechter, Coventry University