block 3: posthumanities

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. 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”- a figure who might more broadly be aligned with the rich mix of philosophy, cybernetics and popular culture which constitutes ‘posthumanism’. In the final block of this course we are taking as our starting point the position that digital culture is to an extent a culture of the posthuman. As Haraway, Hayles and others argue, this has biological, political and ontological implications. It also, as we will see in the readings for week 10, has profound consequences for how we understand, and undertake, education.

The two core readings in week 9 – “A Cyborg Manifesto” (Haraway) and a chapter from How We Became Posthuman (Hayles) are classics of the literature in this area. They are also both quite challenging pieces of writing, and may orientate you towards these topics and themes in ways that you find surprising. In Week 10 we look at some educational implications of the notion of the posthuman. What does ‘thinking with the posthuman’ imply for educational research and practice?

During weeks 9 and 10 we would like you to use your tumblogs to reflect on and discuss the readings, and tweet (using #ededc) when you have a new post you want to share with us. Please try to give feedback on each others’s postings, and pull your comments into your own tumblog. Here are some discussion questions you can use as a starting point.

Week 10 will also provide us with another opportunity to meet synchronously – this time in a Skype text chat during which we will discuss the readings and look ahead to the assignments.

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 9 and 10 readings

weeks 9 and 10 discussion questions

week 10 Skype tutorial

Weeks 11 and 12: assignment preparation