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An intellectual history of post-concepts

What does it mean to live in an era of ‘posts’? At a time when ‘post-truth’ is on everyone’s lips, this volume seeks to uncover the logic of post-constructions – postmodernism, post-secularism, postfeminism, post-colonialism, post-capitalism, post-structuralism, post-humanism, post-tradition, post-Christian, post-Keynesian and post-ideology – across a wide array of contexts. It shows that ‘post’ does not simply mean ‘after.’ Although post-prefixes sometimes denote a particular periodization, especially in the case of mid-twentieth-century post-concepts, they more often convey critical dissociation from their root concept. In some cases, they even indicate a continuation of the root concept in an altered form. By surveying the range of meanings that post-prefixes convey, as well as how these meanings have changed over time and across multiple and shifting contexts, this volume sheds new light on how post-constructions work and on what purposes they serve. Moreover, by tracing them across the humanities and social sciences, the volume uncovers sometimes unexpected parallels and transfers between fields usually studied in isolation from each other.

Historicist-inspired diagnoses of modernity, 1935
Herman Paul

or as evidence that secularization did not halt before the doors of the church. These underlying narratives of progress or decline touch upon one of the key questions in the (sparse) historical literature on post-prefixes: What did the ‘post’ in ‘post-industrial’, ‘postmodern’ or ‘postcolonial’ intend to convey? Did ‘post’ serve as a marker of critical dissociation, indicating that the root concept was no longer seen as representing a desirable condition? Or was ‘post’ an equivalent to ‘beyond’ in a

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Post-concepts in historical perspective
Herman Paul

challenges that intelligent robots, uploaded minds, and other posthuman beings pose to us, humans without post-prefixes. 8 Surveying this plethora of post-concepts, two social scientists recently sighed that ‘one would think only a new titan from the end of the world would come up with another “post” term’. 9 However, one does not have to be a Jürgen Habermas or a Slavoj Žižek to found a Post Carbon Institute, launch a Post-Post-Race album or establish a Post-Imperial menswear brand. Posts are literally everywhere. They

in Post-everything
Howard Brick

after the ‘golden age’ that this post-construction faded from view, especially as the end of the Cold War ushered in a triumphalist spirit regarding capitalism itself to be permanent and unalterable. The post-construction’s second birth since around 2010 has recapitulated some features of mid-twentieth-century postcapitalist discourse while also significantly altering its tenor. This much should be obvious about a ‘post-prefix’ term: it can never be understood apart from the name of the existent phenomenon it presumes

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Lessons for future posts
Adriaan van Veldhuizen

, Jasmijn Leeuwenkamp and Leire Urricelqui do the same in their chapter on posthumanism. Other chapters even bring in quantitative elements, or show how post-concepts developed in two or more contexts at the same time. Which of these approaches is most helpful for the task at hand obviously differs from concept to concept. Importantly, however, all of these methods make abundantly clear that the meaning of the post-prefix is never fixed over time. Post-concepts should therefore be considered as dynamic phenomena, as even the seemingly

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A rare example of a post-concept in economics
Roger E. Backhouse

. The reason why the term post-Keynesian could acquire its specific meaning only with the construction of such narratives is that post-Keynesian economics was never defined by a single theory but was seen to comprise a family of doctrines, raising questions about the coherence of the term. 38 Economists’ use of labels and identities The use of post-prefixes is not common in economics. The only other example listed in the contents of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics , a major reference work

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(Post-)structuralism between France and the United States
Edward Baring

structuralism, but it was difficult to overcome it, because it remained unclear what structuralism actually was. In order for structuralism to earn its post-prefix, the internal intellectual tensions that had animated it in France would need to be recast as decisive and revolutionary critique. This occurred in two ways: first by transporting structuralism to America, and second by associating it with an intellectual movement, the New Criticism, that many had already declared to be obsolete. In this way, Derrida’s short

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Postfeminist genealogies in millennial culture
Stéphanie Genz

over and multiplicity of postfeminism’s meaning(s) are to a large extent due to the indefiniteness and precariousness of the ‘postprefix itself. Then I will consider postfeminist transfers by investigating different incarnations of postfeminism and contemplating the possibility of a twenty-first-century post-boom postfeminist stance – what I designate bust postfeminism – that emerges in response to an indeterminate post-2008 recessionary environment. The current historical juncture requires that we question and

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Yolande Jansen, Jasmijn Leeuwenkamp, and Leire Urricelqui

discourse on posthumanism that has developed since the publication of Hassan’s article in 1977, we can trace the two cultures’ further intertwinement in the interaction between ‘transhumanism’ on the one hand, and ‘critical’ or ‘cultural’ posthumanism on the other. The ways in which each of these strands within posthumanism interprets the ‘post’ in posthumanism is pivotal for this interaction. In an article on the notion of ‘postraciality’, African American Studies scholar Paul Taylor nicely captures how the post-prefix

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