Biocultural Creatures

Toward a New Theory of the Human

Biocultural Creatures

Book Pages: 216 Illustrations: Published: June 2016

Author: Samantha Frost

Politics > Political Theory, Science and Technology Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Feminist Theory

In Biocultural Creatures, Samantha Frost brings feminist and political theory together with findings in the life sciences to recuperate the category of the human for politics. Challenging the idea of human exceptionalism as well as other theories of subjectivity that rest on a distinction between biology and culture, Frost proposes that humans are biocultural creatures who quite literally are cultured within the material, social, and symbolic worlds they inhabit. Through discussions about carbon, the functions of cell membranes, the activity of genes and proteins, the work of oxygen, and the passage of time, Frost recasts questions about the nature of matter, identity, and embodiment.  In doing so, she elucidates the imbrication of the biological and cultural within the corporeal self.  In remapping the relation of humans to their habitats and arriving at the idea that humans are biocultural creatures, Frost provides new theoretical resources for responding to political and environmental crises and for thinking about how to transform the ways we live. 


"Biocultural Creatures provides an excellent introduction to how the human can be understood in biological terms, without becoming inaccessible in its terminology." — Niclas Hundahl, MedHum | Daily Dose

"This is a remarkable book, of interest and highly recommended to any researcher—across scientific, social science, and humanities disciplines—exploring the intersections of life sciences and politics, 'filling out the conceptual hunches' of posthumanism, or in any way intrigued by how matter matters at all levels of our creaturely experience."

— Emily Beausoleil, Theory & Event

"Frost’s important text is creative, profoundly suggestive, and painstakingly argued." — Romand Coles, Theory & Event

"Trenchant and incisive." — Kevin Arcineaux, Theory & Event

"... the book is indeed offering a new theory of a human being is. Crucially, it is one that would simultaneously retheorize any living organism. ... Frost's is an ambitious task, and the book's success is due, largely, to its highly specific means of pursuit." — Nathan Snaza, Feminist Studies

"Samantha Frost offers a clear, accessible, and theoretically invigorated exploration of the life sciences, demonstrating the need for a new theory of the human." — Susan Merrill Squier, author of Liminal Lives: Imagining the Human at the Frontiers of Biomedicine

"Samantha Frost has fashioned an exciting new conceptualization of human nature by creatively synthesizing a deep dive into contemporary biology with mastery of humanist theory. By explicating and analyzing biological discoveries revealing that the boundaries between DNA, self, and the environment are much more fluid than ever imagined, Biocultural Creatures builds an important bridge between the humanities and the sciences." — Gene E. Robinson, Director, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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Price: $24.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Samantha Frost is Associate Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the coeditor of New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, also published by Duke University Press, and the author of Lessons from a Materialist Thinker: Hobbesian Reflections on Ethics and Politics.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction  1

1. Carbon  31

2. Membranes  53

3. Proteins  77

4. Oxygen  101

5. Time  119

Conclusion  147

Notes  161

References  167

Index  183
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6128-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6109-1