Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Objective Witnesses

Disabling the Posthuman in Harry Parker’s Anatomy of a Soldier

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2021), 15, (1), 75–91.

Abstract

Closely reading British author Harry Parker’s autobiographical novel Anatomy of a Soldier, the article attempts to “disable” disability studies’ own techno-optimistic notions of becoming posthuman. It argues instead for a “counterhumanism” which centers the voices of disabled and debilitated humans in the (post)colonial world. Critiquing Parker’s narrative choice to tell the story of his double amputation after the war in Afghanistan through the perspectives of 45 nonhumans—including his prosthetic legs and an unmanned aerial vehicle—the article argues for more sustained attention to questions of race, imperialism, and militarized masculinity in Euro-American disability studies and posthumanism. In doing so, the article suggests that disability studies should not champion the cyborg but other forms of hybridity which, while underscoring the common humanity of people through their shared vulnerability to disability, is attentive to power differences.

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Author details

Sidiki, Bassam