From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?
Ewha Institute for the Hamanities International Conference:
The 7th Conference of the Beyond Humanism Conference Series
On 15-18 September 2015, the Ewha Institute for the Humanities (Director: Professor Song Ki-Jeong) hosted the 7th Beyond Humanism conference.
The conference was a result of joint collaboration between the EIH and the Beyond Humanism Network (Director: Stefan Lorenz Sorgner).
This conference is a part of the Beyond Humanism conference series associated to the BHN. Starting from the 1st Conference in 2009 at the University of Belgrade (Humanism and Posthumanism) to the 6th Conference in 2014 at the University of the Aegeans (Posthuman Politics), all the Beyond Humanism conferences have been held in Europe. This is the first time that the Beyond Humanism conference has been held outside of European continent.
At this time, the topic of conference was “From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?” The relationship between humanism, posthumanism and transhumanism is one of the most pressing ones concerning many current cultural, social, political, ethical and individual contemporary challenges. There have been a great amount of uses of the various terms in historical and contemporary discourses. The goal of the conference “From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism” is to get a multifaceted survey of the concepts, the relationship of the various concepts and their ethical, social and cultural advantages and disadvantages.
More than 60 scholars from various disciplines all around the world gathered to investigate the relationship between the various beyond humanism movements further and the following questions have been addressed.
- Has a move from humanism to post- or transhumanism occurred?
- What do we mean when we talk about humanism, posthumanism and transhumanism?
- Which historical figures have been particularly relevant concerning thinking beyond humanism?
- What is the difference between postmodernism and posthumanism?
- Are all postmodern thinkers ancestors of posthumanist philosophies?
- Who is the “posthuman”?
- What is the role of bio art, new media arts, movies, science fiction, literary works, music or performances concerning beyond humanism discourses?
Stelarc, an eminent performance artist, gave a keynote speech and made a special performance titled as “Organs Without Bodies: Improvised / Involuntary / Automated.” Another keynote speech, “We Have Always Been Posthuman, or Towards a Cosmological Humanism”, was given by Mark Hansen, Professor of the Literature Program at Duke University. There was also a Special Beyond Humanism Presentation, “Information in Space: Seeing Things with No Devices,” by Dale Herigstad, who is four times Emmy Award Winner and responsible for the media design of the movie “Minority Report.” To provide some Asian perspective to the current beyond humanism discourse, there was a special session Post-and Transhumanism in Asia, in which Sungook Hong, a Korean historian of technoscience and STS (Science & Technology Studies) scholar, Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and Wong Kin Yuen, a professor and the head of department of English language and literature at Shue Yan University in Hong Kong, participated as the panel.