Alexander G. Weheliye This essay takes up N. Katherine Haylesâs challenge to seize this critical moment in order âto contest what the posthuman means . . . before the trains of thought it embodies have been laid down so ï¬rmly that it would take dynamite to change them,â by closely examining her recent text, How We Became Posthuman.1 I do this because Haylesâs volume provides the most elaborate history and theory of the posthuman, even while her framework embodies the âtrains of thoughtâ she herself queries. In other words, Haylesâs own formulations are on the way to becoming hegemonic, at least in the discrepant disciplines in the humanities and social sciences that make up the postdiscipline of cultural studies. I begin with two contentions. The ï¬rst concerns the literal and virtual whiteness of cybertheory.2 The second establishes at the very least an aporetic relationship between New World black cultures and the category of the âhuman.â In addition, this essay also seeks to realign the hegemony of visual media in academic considerations of virtuality by shifting the emphasis to the aural, allowing us to conjecture some of the manifold ways in which black cultural production engages with informational technologies.
Social Text – Duke University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2002