R1A-002 | CCN: 23587

The Craft of Writing

Genres of the Human: Towards a Rhetoric of Imagination

Instructor: Ryan Ikeda & David Lau

4 Units

M/W/F 1:00-2:00 PM, Dwinelle 209

Recent new media scholarship suggests that the emergence of digital technology has changed the conditions of human experience to such an extent that the term ‘human’ no longer corresponds to its historical or contemporary referent; in its place new genres of the human have emerged. Katherine Hayles describes one such figure as ‘posthuman’, a new genre of the human co-extensive with digital technology.


The phrase ‘genres of the human’, however, has roots in the black feminist tradition and refers specifically to the scholarship of Sylvia Wynter. In this context, ‘genres of the human’ distances itself from the novelty emphasized in new media studies to suggest that ‘genres of the human’ is not a new, rather it describes ‘the human’ as an historically imagined figure, configured and produced by sociopolitical forces (in addition to technics). The concept ‘genres of the human’ refuses to accept ‘the human’ as a universal ontological fact, it insists that we consider ‘the human’ as an individuated fragment and thus attend to their modes of individuation. In addition to theoretical essays, this course will consider configurations of the human among digital culture, art, and poetry.