Science, Culture, and the Making of Modern Non/personhood


ANIMA: Critical Race Studies Otherwise

More about this series

Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: 35 illustrations Published: December 2018

Author: Megan H. Glick

American Studies, Cultural Studies, Science and Technology Studies

In Infrahumanisms Megan H. Glick considers how conversations surrounding nonhuman life have impacted a broad range of attitudes toward forms of human difference such as race, sexuality, and health. She examines the history of human and nonhuman subjectivity as told through twentieth-century scientific and cultural discourses that include pediatrics, primatology, eugenics, exobiology, and obesity research. Outlining how the category of the human is continuously redefined in relation to the infrahuman—a liminal position of speciation existing between the human and the nonhuman—Glick reads a number of phenomena, from early twentieth-century efforts to define children and higher order primates as liminally human and the postwar cultural fascination with extraterrestrial life to anxieties over AIDS, SARS, and other cross-species diseases. In these cases the efforts to define a universal humanity create the means with which to reinforce notions of human difference and maintain human-nonhuman hierarchies. In foregrounding how evolving definitions of the human reflect shifting attitudes about social inequality, Glick shows how the consideration of nonhuman subjectivities demands a rethinking of long-held truths about biological meaning and difference.


“With superior scholarship and a daring treatment of her material, Megan H. Glick weaves together a wide variety of texts and historical periods in a sophisticated fashion. Glick's use of the concept ‘infrahuman’ to examine topics ranging from primatology and eugenics to obesity will be of great interest to scholars working in sociology, science and technology studies, animal studies, posthumanism, critical race studies, and gender studies. An insightful book and a strong contribution.” — Fiona Probyn-Rapsey, author of Made to Matter: White Fathers, Stolen Generations

Infrahumanisms makes new inroads into science studies, animal studies, and critical race literatures by tracking post-eugenic thought through scientific disciplines and popular culture. Offering eye-opening analyses of how nonhuman bodies configure the social field of human differences, Megan H. Glick's excellent work helps us understand the history of the posthuman grounded in the changing biopolitics of race and empire.” — Neel Ahuja, author of Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Megan H. Glick is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Wesleyan University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction: Toward a Theory of Infrahumanity  1
Part I. Bioexpansionism, 1900s-1930s
1. Brief Histories of Time: Nature, Culture, and the Making of Modern Childhood  29
2. Ocular Anthropomorphisms:Eugenics and Primatology at the Threshold of the "Almost Human"  56
Part II. Extraterrestriality, 1940s-1970s
3. On Alien Ground: Extraterrestrial Sightings, Atomic Warfare, and the Undoing of the Human Body  85
4. Inner and Outer Spaces: Exobiology, Human Genetics, and the Disembodiment of Corporeal Difference  110
Part III. Interiority, 1980s-2010s
5. Of Sodomy and Cannibalism: Disgust, Dehumanization, and the Rhetorics of Same-Sex and Cross-Species Contagion  139
6. Everything except the Squeal: Porcine Hybridity in the Obesity Epidemic and Xenotransplantation Research  159
Conclusion. The Plurality Is Near: Techniques of Symbiotic Re-speciation  196
Notes  209
Bibliography  247
Index  263
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Winner, 2019 Alison Piepmeier Book Award, presented by the National Women's Studies Association

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0151-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0116-4
Publicity material