Imaginaries of the human have shifted over time with, and made possible new epistemes, politics, methodologies and ethics. As each new ‘turn’ takes effect, the attempt to keep up with quests for recognition across inequalities, forms of life and worldings, can leave one feeling quite dizzy. The expansion of ontological imaginaries frequently animates the archive towards a politics for the present and / or future. The archive is frequently read towards a politics and new sets of relations: to insert new subjects (or worlds), recover them, dispute their rendering, or to delegitimise the scope of the archive. What remains, irrespective of the mode of human and the form of the political that is emergent, is a relation to the archive that appears to be paradigmatic. Given different imaginaries of the human across time and space, I want to present some questions about temporal (and ontological) equivalences and the ontological remainders that are carried across when we are mining the archive to animate our texts. In this paper, I will propose that Frankenstein as a metaphor is useful to explore the excisionary logics of knowledge production which sutures together ontological imaginaries and produces fictive historical contiguities. 


Kharnita Mohamed is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. She is finalising a PhD in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of the Western Cape focused on thinking about disability, debility and violence in South Africa towards exploring a decolonial feminist approach to disability. Her debut novel Called to Song was published by Kwela in 2018.