Monday, January 19, 2009

Class Info

Philosophy of Technology and the Body (PHIL 486A 001) is a Spring Philosophy course being offered at UBC. The interface of techne and bios will be conceptually explored in a multitude of guises: grotesque literature, contemporary politics, feminist philosophy, internet art, ancient poetry, transnational discourse - to name a few.

The course also includes an online component. Both attendance of the class and participation online is open to anyone. The class meets alternating Tues/Thu evenings throughout the semester (Tues Jan 13 6-9pm; Thu Jan 22 5:30pm-8:30pm; Tues, Thu - etc, EXCEPT Thu Feb 5, which will be changed to Tues Feb 3 6-9pm) in GEOG 201

any questions, or more info at

Full Schedule

Tues Jan 13 6-9pm
Thu Jan 22 5:30-8:30pm
Tues Jan 27 6-9pm
Tues Feb 3 6-9pm
Tues Feb 10 6-9pm
Thu Feb 19 5:30-8:30pm
Tues Feb 24 6-9pm
Thu Mar 5 5:30-8:30pm
Tues Mar 10 6-9pm
Thu Mar 19 5:30-8:30pm
Tues Mar 24 6-9pm
Thu Apr 2 5:30-8:30pm (or till last week of classes whenever that is)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekly Outline With Potential Readings

(Tentative: merely a list of popular nodes to reference, subvert or not – the class will be defined by the exceptions to these, their transgressions)

Week 1: Introduction: Considering Technology in Relation to the discourse of the Body (Hayles, Haraway)

Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifiers

Full text of the Cyborg Manifesto

further reading:

Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture (Paperback)
by Vivian Sobchack (Author)

Week 2: Posthumanism and The Cyborg: The Body in Technology (Haraway, Latour, Baudrillard)

How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, 1999 - intro

Zaretsky, Adam (2005). "Bioart in Question".

1000 Years of War: CTHEORY Interview with Manuel De Landa – Manuel de Landa on Posthumanism

further reading:
Latour, Bruno (1992). "Where are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts", pp. 225-258 in: Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change, edited by W.E. Bijker & J. Law, MIT Press, USA.
Badmington, Neil (2000). Posthumanism (Readers in Cultural Criticism). Palgrave Macmillan

Week 3: Technological Determinism: Technology Determining the Body
(Kittler, Heidegger, Mcluhan, Latour)

Heidegger: The Question Concerning Technology

Gramophone, Film, Typewriter

The Gutenberg Galaxy

further reading:

The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man
Latour, Bruno (1996). Aramis, or the love of technology, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass., USA.

Week 4: Postmodernism and Simulacra: The Body in Technological Space (Baudrillard, Zizek, Lyotard)


Lyotard's postmodern ethics and information technology:

The Cyberspace Real

Week 5: Feminism: Technology and Gender (Cixous, Hayles, Haraway)

Feminist approaches to technology

FEMINISM, TECHNOLOGY AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY Learning from the past, imagining the future

further reading:

Feminism Confronts Technology - by Judy Wajcman - 204 pages
Women Science and Technology: A Reader in Feminist Science Studies - by Mary Wyer
Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women By Anne Marie Balsamo
Cyber Selves: Feminist Ethnographies of South Asian Women By Radhika Gajjala

Week 6: The Internet: The Body and The Virtual Body (Dean, Negri/Hardt)


Cybersalons and Civil Society

Empire by Hardt & Negri (especially chap. 3.4 & maybe 2.5):

further reading:

Publicity's Secret
How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy by Jodi Dean

Week 7: Electronic Literature: The Body Writing Technology (Hayles,, Landow)

Writing Machines supplement

Electronic Literature: What Is It? - Hayles


file: e-language int. festival:

Montfort, Nick. 2005. "On Authorship, E-Lit, and Blogs." 'Grand Text Auto',


Week 8: Bioscience & Disability: Technology on the Disabled Body in Science (Haraway, Birke)

Cyborg Manifesto

Tomorrow's Child - Reproductive Technologies in the 90's (Birke et al.)

Moistmedia, Technoetics

The body and disability: Prosthetics, proxemics and pratfalls

further reading:

Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies: Death, Mourning, and Scientific Desire in the Realm of Human Organ Transfer (Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures) by Lesley A. Sharp

Week 9: "Old" and New Media Art: The Body Creating Technologies (Fluxus, jodi, Volkart, codework)

Defining New Media Art:

Yvonne Volkart – Cyborg Bodies:


Week 10: Bio-art: Technology on the Body in Art (Kac, Symbiotica, Bioteknika)


Volkart on Biotech:

Week 11 & 12: Review, revisit authors of interest, discuss papers, or? – space for the class to decide.