Cyborg cultures: hybrid beings and monstrous identities

Course Dates: 24/04/24 - 29/05/24
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online
Tutors: 
In this course students will be introduced to theories of posthumanism that suggest ways we can embrace ‘monstruous’ identities and ‘mutant’ forms of knowing. Through popular science fiction films and literary texts, we will contemplate the complex coming together and apart of bodies-minds-worlds in contemporary culture and explore experiences of hybridity and metamorphosis.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00

Cyborg cultures: hybrid beings and monstrous identities
  • Course Code: HCC15
  • Dates: 24/04/24 - 29/05/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 19:30
  • Taught: Wed, Evening
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Katie Goss

Course Code: HCC15

Wed, eve, 24 Apr - 29 May '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

In this Culture course students will be introduced to influential theories of posthumanism and explore how they can be brought into conversation with contemporary cultural phenomena. Given our intimate entanglement with digital technologies, rapidly changing environments and non-human forms of intelligence, we are already pushing the boundaries of what it means to be human.
We will explore the extent to which this century is defined by a profound unsettling of categories of human/non-human and characterised by the emergence of hybrid or ‘mutant’ forms of being. Putting theories of the posthuman into conversation with films, literary texts and new media art, we will consider how contemporary subjects grapple with metamorphic landscapes and maintain themselves through changes that render them unrecognizable. We will ask what can be learned from those who refuse to be fully human and how these ‘cyborgian’ subjects may offer ways of navigating the most urgent ethical questions of our times.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

In this course we will cover an array of influential theories of posthumanism, contemporary culture, science fiction films and texts.

Proposed timetable
Week 1: Posthumanism and ‘The Cyborg’
Week 2: Hybridity as a critique of the human: feminist, queer, crip, Black, indigenous and inter-species posthumanisms
Week 3: ‘Mutants’ and mutation: twenty-first century landscapes of metamorphosis
Week 4: More-than-human intelligence and mutant ways of knowing: from slime-moulds to chat-bots
Week 5: Artificial environments: matrixes and metropolises
Week 6: Bio-digital embodiments and the technological uncanny.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Have an understanding of posthumanism, its key concepts and usefulness for approaching contemporary culture.
- Demonstrate familiarity with a wide range of cultural debates about the concept of the human.
- Demonstrate familiarity with a range of innovative writers, filmmakers and artists who represent cyborgian subjectivitites.
- Discuss films, texts, cultural trends and artefacts through a posthumanist-informed critical lens.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course would be well-suited to anyone who has a keen interest in theories of posthumanism, contemporary culture and science fiction. While no previous knowledge of the material or topics is required, it does involve working with theoretical material, artworks and cultural artifacts. You should have the ability to read texts and watch films, think critically about them, and discuss them in an open and supportive manner with other members of the class.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The class will be structured around a combination of tutor presentations, viewing of film extracts, small and large group work and class discussion.

There will be some short textual extracts to read each week. Students will also have the option to take part in a series of creative exercises, designed to help them further develop their own ideas, practices and approaches to posthumanism.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no additional costs and the tutor will supply all reading and viewing material.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other Culture and Film, TV and Media Studies courses under History Culture and Writing/Film Studies at www.citylit.ac.uk.

Katie Goss

Dr. Katie Goss is an independent scholar, writer and artist whose research covers contemporary literature, culture and thought, queer-feminist theory and philosophy, psychoanalysis, trans* studies, posthumanism, and the environmental and medical humanities. They have taught for a number of years in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London and their work has been published or is forthcoming in journals including Transgender Studies Quarterly and Film-Philosophy and edited collections like The Edinburgh Companion to Queer Reading and The Queer Feminist Decolonial Ecologies Dossier (LADA 2020). They are currently working on the publication of their PhD research which explores the ‘plasticity’ or bio-material transformability of contemporary embodiment through womxn’s writing and film.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.