Saran Mahasupap is a graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature, Faculty of Art at Chulalongkorn University. His research interests are queer studies, affect studies, and posthumanism. E-mail: saran.mahasupap@gmail.com


Feeling Queer Posthuman: Affective Posthumanism in Randel Kenan’s A Visitation of Spirits

Abstract: Queer and feminist thinkers have debated the topic of queerness and posthumanism for decades. Several questions have been raised such as: Has queerness ever been human? If not, what will it become? Is queerness considered posthuman? According to these questions, the ability to feel or affect is a crucial line that divides and marks the boundary between being human and posthuman. In Randal Kenan’s novel A Visitation of Spirits, the main character, Horace, wants to escape being queer. After he is rejected by his community, family, and the people of Tim Creek, he attempts to transform himself into a bird. However, he is exorcised and controlled by a demon. Significantly, Horace’s position or identity as someone exorcised by a demon is queerly delineated in the blurred or in-between spaces of being human and being unable to be defined as “human.” This paper questions the privilege of the ability to “feel,” which is believed to be reserved only for humans. By applying and connecting the concepts of affect theory and feminist posthumanism, it forges a new space for feeling to be read and found by posthumans and queers. Additionally, by becoming a queer posthuman, one can create a counter-narrative and phenomenological space to de-orient the concept of heterosexuality, reveal its ideal, and reorient queerness, as a way to understand the worldmaking of queer posthumans.
Keywords: queer, posthumanism, affect, feeling, queer phenomenology