Posthumanist Strategies of Forming Surrogate Cyborg Subjectivity in Contemporary Young Adult Autism Novels

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 PhD Candidate of English Literature, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor of English Literature, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

3 Professor of English Literature, Shiraz University, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

10.34785/J014.2022.191

Abstract

Posthumanist themes are usually worked in speculative genres such as biotechnological science fiction. This paper demonstrates the potentiality of realistic young adult autism fiction for exploring posthumanist ideas. By highlighting the parallels between autistic sense of self and the posthumanist conception of subjectivity, we argue that autism young adult novels have the potentiality to re-conceptualize adolescence and subjectification in ways that diverge from the dominant humanistic paradigm of traditional young adult novels. Unlike traditional young adult novels, these autism novels depict adolescence as the period in which the individual leaves the illusion of autonomy behind, and becomes aware of his status as relational and inextricably tied to other subjectivities. These novels demonstrate that subjectification is a collective process whereby the individual emerges as an agential subject only in relation to other subjectivities. In order to illustrate our point we analyze Nothing is Right and Imaginary Friends, two novels by the autistic writer Michael Scott Monje, Jr. This paper proposes that this process relies on posthumanist premises of relationality, deconstruction of self/other binary and acknowledgment of difference as a constituent of selfhood.

Keywords


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  • Receive Date: 14 May 2021
  • Revise Date: 19 November 2021
  • Accept Date: 09 December 2021
  • First Publish Date: 22 April 2022