Posthuman Care


Dr. DeFalco’s current research project, ‘Posthuman Care,’ reconsiders care as a concept, philosophy, and a textual practice, following contemporary critical reorientations toward animality, vulnerability, and the posthuman. It explores how contemporary literary and cinematic representations of nonhuman companionship and assistance draw attention to the consequences of embodiment, namely, affectivity, responsibility, and dependency. Exploring embodied imaginative responses to central theoretical questions, this work asks: How might the philosophy of care, a largely humanist philosophical perspective, work in dialogue with posthumanism? How can the shared attention to embodiment, contingency and interdependence in posthumanism, new materialism, and philosophy of care be cultivated in ways that expand and enrich both perspectives?

In their depictions of unconventional, often transgressive, scenarios in which relations of care between human and nonhuman not only supersede human-human relationships but produce new human/animal/machine ways of being, literary and visual representations can help us to imagine a future of care while analysing the meaning and ethics of care in our neoliberal, posthuman present. Through interdisciplinary workshops, networking and engagement events, as well as interdisciplinary publications, the project explores the social, political, aesthetic and ethical issues arising from new models of relationality, companionship, and caregiving.

The project brings together researchers and stakeholders from ageing, affect, animal, vulnerability and disability studies, critical medical humanities, ethics of care philosophy, engineering, haptics, and robotics to participate in a range of projects and activities funded by the British Academy (“The Ethics and Aesthetics of Intimate RobotCare”), the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (“Touch: Feeling, Sensing, Knowing” Sadler Seminar Series and the “Future of Care Initiative”) and the Leeds Cultural Institute (“Touching Worlds” Engagement Event). 

Additional reading

Beyond Prosthetic Memory: Posthumanism, Embodiment, and Caregiving Robots

MaddAddam, Biocapitalism, and Affective Things