Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

From Monster to Midwife: The Cultural Evolution of the Posthuman

John Rickard.

At least since Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein," and increasingly since the publication of Darwin’s "The Origin of Species," writers have used imaginative fiction, poetry, and film to explore the horrors, promises, and prospects of the evolving “posthuman.” The notion of a new posthuman being is flourishing not only in contemporary literature and film, but also on the internet, in groups devoted to utopian fantasies about evolution beyond “the human” using new technologies. This presentation will investigate this nexus of fantasy and reality by examining the use of religious language to negotiate the boundaries of the “human” and the “posthuman.”


John Rickard  (United States)
Professor of English
English Department
Bucknell University

John Rickard teaches English at Bucknell University. He has published essays on science and literature, Irish literature, W. B. Yeats, and James Joyce. His book "Joyce's Book of Memory: The Mnemotechnic of 'Ulysses'" was published by Duke University Press in 1999.

  • Posthuman
  • Religion
  • Science and literature
  • Popular culture
  • Evolution

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)