IFK 2018-20 Postdoctoral Scholar Nicolette I. Bruner interrogates how American law and its cultural contexts construct the knowledge of who and what counts as a person—whether human, animal, robot, corporation, system, or object. In Bruner’s book manuscript, which she is completing during her tenure at IFK, she builds on her dissertation to investigate the larger question of how nonhuman entities acquire the status of person. Through case studies on the legal problem of self-driving cars, objects sued by the U.S. government, and others, Bruner explores the gulfs between the label of “person,” the rights a person can hold, and the social responsibilities consequent on personhood. Although scholars within the interdisciplines of animal studies and posthumanism have theorized about the agency of nonhuman entities, this project adds a legal and rhetorical perspective, enabling the discourse to move from the theoretical into the pragmatic.

Related IFK Courses:

  • KNOW 40203: Biopolitics and Posthumanism (Winter 2019)
  • KNOW 27013: Being Corporate (Spring 2019)
  • KNOW 40205: Ecological Thinking (Winter 2020)
  • KNOW 27017: Passing (Spring 2020)

Learn more about Nicolette I. Bruner.

The tree that owns itself in Athens, GA.