What is Posthumanism?Edit
According to the Oxford English Dictionary:
1. post-humanism: A system of thought formulated in reaction to the basic tenets of humanism, esp. its focus on humanity rather than the divine or supernatural
2. posthumanism: The idea that humanity can be transformed, transcended, or eliminated either by technological advances or the evolutionary processl artistic, scientific, or philosophical practice which also reflects this belief
...to find more information on this history of the word Posthumanism, click HERE
N. Katherine HaylesEdit
N. Katherine Hayles was born in St. Louis Missouri on December 16, 1943. She attended Rochester Institute of Technology where she earned a B.S. in Chemistry. She then attended the California Institute of Technology and earned a M.S. in Chemistry as well. In 1977, she went to the University of Rochester and earned a Ph.D. in English Literature.
N. Katherine Hayles is popular critic of posthumanism. She is most known for being the author of "How We Became Posthuman". She believes that although we can put our intellect into another machine, we still need to keep in mind who we are and that our information is not completely transferable-- we still need the use of our own bodies. She has become a critic to many believers of posthumanism who believe the body acts as a piece of hardware just as any other computer.
"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"Edit
SummaryEditIn post World War Terminus, clean humans are given the choice of remaining on Earth or to emigrate to Mars with the promise of an android servant. While many have flocked to Mars, the remaining humans on Earth dwell amongst escaped Androids. The novel revolves around the story of a bountyhunter, Deckard, whose job is to retire as many androids as possible. The only method to determine whether or not one is an android or human is a Voigt-Kampff test which measures one's empathy. This society cherishes empathy so much that a religion known as Mercerism arose on the belief of empathy is what unites the remaining individuals on Earth, to struggle together as a cohesive group. These remaining humans get on with their lives by trying to own the scarce amount of animals left on Earth. Although artificial animals are readily available and much more affordable, this society revolves around the idea of obtaining living animals as a sign of social class. The bountyhunter Deckard has a sheep but hates it since it is an electric sheep. Deckard is obsessed with the idea of retiring as many androids as possible so that like his neighbor he too can have a real breathing animal. While Deckard is retiring androids one by one, he encounters female androids that he seems to have more empathy for, compared to male androids. He even has to retire an opera singing android that he doesnt seem any harm for her existence and in fact believes that such a beautiful voice could only be an asset to their society. He questions if his fellow bountyhunter Phil Resch is human or android by his lack of remorse when he retires androids. When Deckard administers the Voigt Kampff test to Phil he is surprised at the fact that he is human and not an android.
Reference To PosthumanismEdit
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Hayles' paper on posthumanism intertwine with one another as Hayles believes in a "Separation between body and mind is a consequence of historical change rather than what must inevitably happen as part of their materialized life." As we progress further into a new age of humans slowly developing into an android-like state (people getting prosthesis to help them function better) we are not going against humanity but simply flowing with the tides of history. With this kind of change, we are brought with the question: what makes us human? In DADES the only method to determine who is a human and android is by one concept: empathy. Some of the humans follow a religion known as Mercerism which is based on empathy. By utilizing an empathy box, it links them to other humans as they take upon the obstacles that Mercer faces as a cohesive unit. We are brought upon a concept of how humans, identify ourselves as individuals and as members of a group through Mercerism by being able to feel empathy towards each other. The novel toys with the concept of expanding this group to the few existing animals on Earth, and even androids. These androids are advanced to the point where it is only possible to determine whether or not one is human or android by a test involving empathy. When the bountyhunter in DADES, Deckard, has to retire these androids, he begins to ponder if he in fact is human. He believes that if being human is the ability to feel empathy, then how can he truly be human without feeling empathy when he retires the androids. In order to expand the definition of human to androids, Hayles and Dick both believe that a new mixture of man and machine must occur to fulfill this expanded category to androids. A mixture of machine and man are already amongst us (as shown in one group's presentation of a man with a robot eyeball) and many already have robotic arms/legs etc.
Bladerunner is a movie based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric sheep. The film did not fare well in box offices, but has since become a classic. Some may say the film needed time to catch on but it is used in classrooms all around the United States to teach about posthumanism.
Shelley Jackson was born in the Phillippines in 1963. Jackson attended Stanford undergraduate and Brown for her M.F.A. in creative writing. While at Brown Jackson was inspired to create her first hypertext fiction titled, Patchwork Girl. This work at the time was the best selling CD for electronic litterature and is considered a cornerstone in starting the electronic litterature movement. Jackson is currently teaching in The New School in New York City.
Similar to These Waves of Girls, "My Body" is a Hypertext Fiction that explores a young girl's memories of childhood and growing up. Many of the memories involve stories relating to growing up, sexuality, and body development. This hypertext fiction maps out different parts of a woman's body for readers to click and to discover the author's inner thoughts.
To navigate for yourself click HERE