block 3: critical perspectives

Several of the films and clips we saw as part of our film festival in Block 1 introduced us to popular images of the cyborg. These fictional characters are only part of the puzzle of the cyborg, however. Haraway, in the first of the core readings for this block, describes the cyborg as “a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction”. In the final block of this course we are taking as our starting point the notion that we may all be changed by our engagement with technology and the digital to the point where we are all cyborgs, all posthuman. As Haraway and Hayles argue, this has biological, political and ontological implications.

Block 3 invites us to consider how our understanding of gender, race, power and subjectivity is affected by our engagement with the digital domain. The two core readings in week 8 – “A Cyborg Manifesto” (Haraway) and a chapter from How We Became Posthuman (Hayles) are considered classics of the literature in this area. They are also both very challenging pieces of writing, and may orientate you towards these topics and themes in ways that you find surprising. We encourage you to share your thoughts in your blogs in weeks 8 and 9.

Block 3 will also provide us with another opportunity to work collaboratively in Wallwisher – this time creating a collaborative story about ways we are posthuman.

In Week 10 we look at some pedagogical implications of the notion of the cyborg, the uncanny and the posthuman. Also in this week, you will think up or find an example of posthuman pedagogy, and feed this into your lifestream.

In this block you should also be considering, discussing and finally deciding on a topic for your final assignment. The final two weeks of the course will be taken up with assignment preparation.

Weeks 8 & 9 (9-22 November)

Week 10 (23 – 29 November)

Weeks 11 & 12 (30 November – 13 December)

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