Becoming-Transhuman: The Machine Is Us (And the dash is Deleuzian)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Amanda Long / NEMLA conference Spring 2023

Continuing an ongoing philosophical conversation about the order of rank and value, media theorist and evolutionary biologist Donna Haraway states in A Cyborg Manifesto that the classifications of human, machine, and animal species blur if one examines them at the genetic or molecular level; the order and rank of human supremacy dissolves. In the late 19th century following the acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution, how were the fuzzy lines between humans, animals, and machines drawn and by whom? At what point do we, as humans, become transhuman—enhanced by technology? Can order, rank, and classification of species be challenged or changed within the human-nonhuman kingdom as the transhuman world evolves through representations in media and in perception? Taking responsibility for classifications and ranking means recognizing, in Haraway’s words, that “the machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment. We can be responsible for machines; they do not dominate or threaten us. We are responsible for boundaries; we are they.” There is no “natural” body in posthumanism. The cyborg figuration problematizes borders between semiotic and material aspects of the body (for example, gender/sex), pointing to untenable clear separations between biomachinic materiality and sociocultural dimensions. Becoming-Transhuman: The Machine Is Us calls for papers focusing on how classifications of human, machine, animal species blur in the twenty-first century. Scholars are invited to present explorations of practical and controversial applications of transhumanism, such as vaccines, prosthetic extensions of the body, bioengineering of life, cochlear implants, transgender status, transracial identity, sentient cars, communication with animals, and immortality research.


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