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The Posthuman
ENGL 165EC - Spring 2003,  Rita Raley

What does it mean to be posthuman, human, or even alive? What have been the effects of the encounter between humans and intelligent machines? To borrow from a book that we will read, how have we become posthuman? This course will investigate the category, advent, and attributes of the posthuman, beginning with cybernetics and informatics. After one unit devoted to the iconic figure of the posthuman age - the cyborg - we will engage the philosophical discourse on humanism and the category of Man. Consideration of the problematics of race, gender, and sexuality will suggest a decentered human subject, no longer thought to be universal. The third unit of the course will engage some of the philosophical, cultural, and social implications of biotechnology (with some attention to genetic engineering, AI, artificial life, transgenic species, and technologies of reproduction). We will also consider some of the art and music that have emerged with posthumanism.

Course fulfills Area G and the Writing Requirement


Rita Raley

Office and Office Hours
SH 2703
On leave 2012-2013


South Hall room 1415
TR, 3:30 PM4:45 PM

Required Texts

Neil Badmington, ed., Posthumanism (2000); essay selections available on Electronic Reserve
Manuel De Landa, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines (1991)
Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1996)
Engl 165 course reader (available in Davidson Library copy services)

20% Participation
25% Midterm Paper
30% Collaborative Web Project
25% Final Exam
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