What Was the Human

New School for Social Research: Liberal Studies

Liberal Arts
Graduate Course
Degree Students (with Restrictions)
What Was the Human
Spring 2024
Taught By: Dominic Pettman
Section: A

CRN: 14701

Credits: 3

This course starts with the provocative claim that we are no longer human. (Indeed, it entertains the possibility that we never were human - but we get to that later.) Reviewing key moments in the history of thought, concerning our own "species being" (Marx), this seminar seeks to identify common themes concerning the self-description of "the human" across epochs and cultures. In doing so, we shall effectively chart a retrospective prospectus of the human race. Special attention will be placed on canonical attempts to identify and fix a human essence or element, as well as intellectual projects designed to demonstrate the errors - or even delusions - of the same. The latter portion of the course will concentrate on the figure of the so-called posthuman, especially in its role as avatar of triumphant or inevitable technics. Readings will include works by Plato, La Mettrie, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Georges Bataille, Marshall McLuhan, Gilles Deleuze, Alphonso Lingis, Bernard Stiegler, David Wills, Steven Shaviro, Donna Haraway, Sylvia Wynter, and Rosi Braidotti. We shall also be discussing films and other pop cultural phenomena relating to this theme.  Undergraduates seeking to take this course will need to contact the instructor for permission.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Liberal Studies (LBS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 11:48am EDT 5/27/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday
Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm
Building: 6 East 16th Street
Room: 600
Date Range: 1/22/2024 - 5/13/2024