The Posthuman: Introduction and Contents
"The cyborg is our ontology; it gives us our politics." - Donna Haraway, "The Cyborg Manifesto"
Who is posthuman? Where does posthumanism come from? What are the politics of the posthuman? And, how does posthumanism connect to race, gender, class, and ability? Following this line of questioning, Dr. Wright's focus section on "Bodies: The Posthuman" will examine the significance of posthuman bodies in popular culture. We will also address the connection between the posthuman and key concepts central to understanding the body: mind-body dualism, embodiment, intersectionality, physical difference, cultural norm, and stigma.
At its most general, posthumanism challenges body boundaries that are often taken for granted in the Western tradition. First, our class will examine the boundary between the body and technology. We will read about, analyze, and make our own versions of the cyborg. Second is the boundary between human and nonhuman bodies. Here, we will focus in on the intersection between disability studies and animal rights. Third, the boundary between bodies and their environments take center stage. After a brief introduction to actor-network theory, we will read a philosophical essay about the anthropcene. In the second half of the semester will apply our discussions of these body boundaries to the study of afrofuturism, necropolitics, and algorithmic culture.
A significant portion of "Bodies: The Posthuman" (click on link to access the syllabus on Google Docs) will be watching/reading examples of the posthuman in popular culture and discussing them using a roundtable format. We will be watching Ex Machina, an episode of Stranger Things, and The Girl With All the Gifts. We will be reading Alan Moore's graphic novel Saga of the Swamp Thing and Octavia Butler's first book in the classic Xenogenesis sci-fi series, Dawn. The remainder of your required readings/screenings are available as content links to this page. Check out the syllabus for specific due dates.