Becoming-Posthuman: The Sexualized, Racialized and Naturalized Others of Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood
This thesis explores the extent to which Octavia Butler’s use of the Other, in her trilogy Lilith’s Brood, problematizes the construct of the Human subject as established under Humanism. Adopting the protean field of posthuman theory as a framework, I advocate for a specifically anti-Humanist reading of the series; indeed, I posit that Butler’s re- imagination of the posthuman functions to empower subjectivities marginalized under this ideology — specifically, sexualized, racialized, and naturalized Others. The thesis argues that Butler confronts these forms of oppression as intersecting and overlapping issues that stem from a common location — myopic Humanism — and require similar remediation — destabilizing the monolith of normativity that constitutes ‘humanness’. I promote the reading of Butler alongside posthuman theory, in elucidating her radical rethinking of unitarian subjectivity and her celebration of the more expansive embrace of vital, diverse intersubjectivity. In reimagining who “we” are (or could be), I contend that Butler is not dependent on a binaristic ontology of either/or, but an expansive ellipsis of and... and. I argue that the series, in this way, underlines the unifying potential of a heterogeneous understanding of life’s multiplicities.