Technology and Culture – Boundaries of the Human—Transhumanism and Adaptation
115 001 | CCN: 31250
Boundaries of the Human—Transhumanism and Adaptation
Instructor: Michael Dalebout
Location: Dwinelle 182
Date / Time: Tu/Th 12:30pm - 1:59pm
Transhumanism—or the belief that human evolution via science and technology will greatly enhance human longevity, cognition, and physical ability—has long been a theme in philosophical, scientific, and artistic discourses. And, with such things as cochlear implants, advanced prosthetics, and wearable technology becoming increasingly more common, one could say that we are already transhuman. However, as philosophers and social theorists have pointed out, these adaptations have the possibility to increase existing inequities. This class will grapple with discourses of the transhuman and the history of thought surrounding transhumanism, while also engaging in transhumanist imaginaries. With an interdisciplinary approach we will examine transhumanist thought in philosophy, science studies, film, literature and performance. Some questions we will consider are: When does an adapted human cease to be perceived as human? How can technological enhancements to the human body and mind be distributed equitably? Can transhumanism liberate us from systemic forms of sociocultural and political oppression? Where do we draw the line between the transhuman and Artificial Intelligence?
In addition to the history of transhumanism in philosophical and scientific thought, topics will include: Feminist perspectives on reproductive technology; gender affirming care and trans studies; disability studies; artistic works (film, literature, performance and visual art) dealing with the more than human and human adaptation; cryopreservation; cyborganics; theories of the singularity, and more.