607223 UE Cultural Theory and Cultural Practice: Human machines / machine people in literature. Golems, robots, androids and cyborgs as the third sex.

winter semester 2021/2022 | Last update: 12.05.2021 Place course on memo list
607223
UE Cultural Theory and Cultural Practice: Human machines / machine people in literature. Golems, robots, androids and cyborgs as the third sex.
UE 2
5
every 2 weeks
annually
German

In her famous study “Bodies that matter” (1995), Judith Butler describes an area of outsiders and rejected people who - like homosexual, bisexual and intersexual people - do not fit into the image of our western societies characterized by heterosexual hegemonies. Similar considerations are made by Donna Haraway in her “A Cyborg Manifesto” (1984), when she states that our bipolar thinking always needs a third part that cannot be classified into clear categories like male or female. In this course, these theories will be introduced to the students, in order to then think them together with the literary science fiction figure of the “human machine”. In literary texts such as Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (1818), Gustav Meyrinck's "The Golem" (1913/14), Marge Piercy's "He, She and It" (1991) or Terry Pratchett's "Feet of Clay" (1996) artificial beings were created, that can be linked with the category of the third sex after Butler and Haraway. The aim of the course is to examine these literary figures in gender theory and to demonstrate their social functions.

Already in his main work “Politics”, created in the 4th century BC, Aristotle dreamed of machines that take over the tasks of slaves and could thus revolutionize social life. Beings that are neither humans nor machines, neither men nor women, neither living beings nor objects have been occupying our imagination for centuries. This is also confirmed by the Jewish legend originated in the 12th century AD of the Golem, a creature made of clay, which can be brought to life by wise rabbis. The interest in these literary figures increased since the beginning of the industrial age. E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman" (1816) and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (1818) are early examples of science fiction prose that deals with the subject of artificially created people. In the 20th century, in addition to the technical aspect, that of digital and biogenetic also played an important role. Robots, androids and cyborgs complete the modern picture of the “hybrid being”, which can be both a curse and a blessing for mankind. In this exercise some of the most important classics of this genre – such as Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot" (1950), Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (1968) or Ian McEwan's “Machines Like Me” (2019) – will be examined from a gender-theoretical perspective.

The theories of Donna Haraway and Judith Butler will be introduced by the course leader at the beginning of the course. The viability of the theoretical approach is practically tested in the second part of the course by the students in learning groups and presented in presentations.

In order to complete the course positively, keynote speeches must be given as part of learning groups during the semester and three short papers (length approx. 3 pages) must be submitted. In addition, the active participation in the discussions will be part of the rating.

  1. Adam, Marie-Hélène (Hg.): Technik und Gender. Technikzukünfte als geschlechtlich codierte Ordnungen in Literatur und Film. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing 2016.
  2. Aurich, Rolf (Hg.): Künstliche Menschen. Manische Maschinen, kontrollierte Körper. Berlin: Jovis 2000.
  3. Butler, Judith: Körper von Gewicht. Die diskursiven Grenzen des Geschlechts. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp 1997.
  4. Butler, Judith: Die Macht der Geschlechternormen und die Grenzen des Menschlichen. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp 2009.
  5. Haraway, Donna: Die Neuerfindung der Natur. Primaten, Cyborgs und Frauen. Frankfurt/Main: Campus 1995.
  6. Haraway, Donna: Ein Manifest für Cyborgs. In: Dies.: Die Neuerfindung der Natur. Primaten, Cyborgs und Frauen. Frankfurt / Main: Campus 1995, S. 33 -73.
not applicable
13.10.2021
Group 0
Date Time Location
Wed 2021-10-13
08.30 - 11.45 40123 40123 Barrier-free
Wed 2021-10-27
08.30 - 11.45 40123 40123 Barrier-free
Wed 2021-11-10
08.30 - 11.45 40123 40123 Barrier-free
Wed 2021-11-24
08.30 - 11.45 40123 40123 Barrier-free
Wed 2021-12-15
08.30 - 11.45 40123 40123 Barrier-free
Wed 2022-01-19
08.30 - 11.45 40123 40123 Barrier-free
Wed 2022-02-02
08.30 - 11.45 40123 40123 Barrier-free