This course examines three figures of hybridity and radical differencethe monster, the robot, and the cyborgin order to pose a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human in the year 2017? Are we already machines when our vital organs can be surgically harvested, transplanted, and exchanged among bodies like replacement parts of automobiles? Are we already cyborgs when we spend most of the day attached to our iPhones and plugged into massive computer networks? How do monsters, robots, and cyborgs help us both understand and challenge a series of deeply fraught cultural binaries: human/machine, natural/unnatural, organic/artificial, agent/automaton?
Literary representations of monsters have proven extremely powerful in both the history of Western literature since antiquity and post-war Anglo-American popular culture, simultaneously seducing us and repelling us, horrifying us and reassuring us of our own humanity. We will examine some of the ways these figures have been used to tell us what it means to be human and seek to understand what they can tell us about ourselves, our imagination of the social body, and our relationships to nature and technology.

 

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This course examines three figures of hybridity and radical differencethe monster, the robot, and th was first posted on July 2, 2020 at 11:24 pm.
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