*The human, *unlike any other species,* comes into the world so weak, so
needy, so deprived of nature's teachings, so completely without abilities
and talents exactly so that the human, *unlike any other species* can enjoy
an elevated position and so that the human species, unlike all animal
species, becomes an internally coherent whole! **

Posthumanism is usually understood to be a contemporary critical model but
in his *Treatise on the Origin of Language *(1772) Johann Gottfried von
Herder conceives of the human being as a uniquely deficient animal, a *
Mängelwesen*, who because of his unique deficiencies also has a unique
potential: the capacity to develop language, society, culture, and
technology.  Can this be considered evidence of a posthumanistic vein in
18th century thought?  We're interested in papers that address this
construction of the human as a deficient being as a counter narrative to
standard discourses on personhood in the eighteenth century.  We're also
interested in soliciting conference papers that discuss both the precursors
to and the afterlife of Herder's conception of man as a deficient being.
How is the eighteenth century vision of man as a being constituted by the
very things he lacks derived from medieval and classical traditions of the
human? How does this idea resonate in a bionic era?  How does it relate to
efforts to overcome humanity?  How does it produce productivity?  We're
interested in these questions but we're also interested in related
investigations from other disciplines, including, but not limited to:

   - Literary History
   - Art History
   - Critical Theory
   - Linguistics
   - Philosophy
   - Media Theory
   - Economics
   - History of Science/History of Medicine
   - Theology/Religious Studies
   - Architecture
   - Anthropology

Please send submissions to [log in to unmask] no later than February 15th,

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Megan McKinstry
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: