Transhuman and anti-speciesist? Humans, non-humans, and cultural ecology in transhumanist utopia

  • Marzia La Barbera Università degli Studi di Palermo
Keywords: Margaret Atwood, Transhumanism, Ecocriticism, Dystopia, Anthropocene


With a rich corpus of images that influenced cultures all over the world, the idea of human/animal mimicry or even hybridization is neither unfamiliar nor unprecedented. In more recent times, speciesism and the theoretical implications of trans- and posthumanism have drawn from the rich well of mythology that informed literary genres such as fantasy and science fiction, to create new models of interaction between human and non-human animals that attempt to break the mold of nature and culture as opposites. Through the analysis of Motherlines by Suzy McKee Charnas and the MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood, this paper aims to argue the hypotheses of anti-speciesism in literary models of transhumanism relying on human/animal hybridization in post-apocalyptic societies, focusing on its underlying anthropocentrism in a perspective deeply rooted in cultural ecology. In the same perspective, we will observe the modes of interaction between human and non-human animals according to what transhumanists define as ‘uplifting’ (Dvorsky, 2008), and we will highlight the ways in which human/animal hybridization can fuel new utopian narratives for the survival and rebirth of collapsed societies, in order to argue how anti-speciesism does not find their proper place in this brave new interspecies and transhumanist world.


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How to Cite
La Barbera, M. (2023). Transhuman and anti-speciesist? Humans, non-humans, and cultural ecology in transhumanist utopia. Rhesis. International Journal of Linguistics, Philology and Literature, 14(2), 5-17.