Humanity under duress

An iHuman/Inclusive Societies Symposium on 20th – 21st June 2019, University of Sheffield


An example of our interdisciplinary and intersectional inquiry is evidenced by our two-day symposium convened by iHuman and the Inclusive Societies group, both based within the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield, held in June 2019. This led to the publication of our Open Access edited collection

The brief given to our invited scholars was clear; write 1500 words (no more), share this with us two weeks before the event (no later) and prepare a 10 minute synopsis of the paper in readiness for some debate and discussion (no worries).

Some prompts were provided:

● What does it mean to be human in a post-welfare, post-social, austerity society?

● What does it mean to flourish as a human and who gets to flourish and who does not?

● What are the social, political and economic implications and feedback effects of compressed and damaged flourishing among particular social strata and geographies?

● What kinds of non-human connections are necessary in the time of the anthropocene?

● Can we celebrate the human category and also embrace non-humans such as animals and tech?

● Are we living in a time of the posthuman and, if so, what does this mean in practice, politics and theory?

● Are new vocabularies of winning, losing-out, difference or class required to understand the complex forms of social and (non)human problems as we move forward?

Their responses were dynamic, eclectic, theoretical and political. And we share their papers below in the spirit of ongoing debate and dialogue.

Photo credit: Charlotte Atkinson.


Introducing the papers, Rowland Atkinson & Dan Goodley

The Murder Box - A Trope for Inhumanity, Rowland Atkinson

Persons in Translation: an old concept-metaphor in cross-cultural comparison, Jamie Coates

Racialised Humanity, Nadena Doharty & Reza Gholami

The Economic Capture of the Human, Nicholas Gane

Desiring New Humanisms, Dan Goodley

The dark side of human enhancement: crime and harm in the lifestyle drug trade, Alexandra Hall

Biocapital and the condition of posthumanity, Paul Martin

Posthuman risks? Some thoughts on posthuman disability studies and strategic humanism, Rebecca Maskos

Uncertainty under duress: the distracting certainty of theory, Rod Michalko

Narrative imagination after posthumanism, Javier Monforte

The child, dis/ability and the human, Karin Lesnik-Oberstein

The challenges of thinking with and through disability in interdisciplinary research, Runswick-Cole, Wechuli and Ktenidis

(Non)urban Humans, Abdou-Maliq Simone

The fix is in - but let's skip it, Tanya Titchkosky

The sociological problem of suffering: ever more exacerbated and cofounding, Iain Wilkinson

Robot reading books

Our work

How we understand being ‘human’ differs between disciplines and has changed radically over time. We are living in an age marked by rapid growth in knowledge about the human body and brain, and new technologies with the potential to change them.

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.