Saturday, August 08, 2009

(almost) done, done, done!

Below is the table of contents for the entire dissertation. What's left to write is an introduction and a conclusion, and there are a few sections in Part Two (anthropology) which are sketchy and need a bit more work. But, it's now possible to view the project as a whole, and, at the moment, I am quite pleased with myself.

The outline form didn't paste in very well, so the structure of my sections and sub-sections is a little unclear, sorry. But I'm assuming no one will really care. I'm just posting this as a little bit of unashamed self-congratulation.

Introduction

Part One: The Posthuman: Two Manifestos

Chapter One: The Cyborg Manifesto
Of This and/or That: the cyborg as transgressor of boundaries
Human/animal
Organism/machine
Physical/nonphysical
Of (Mother?) Nature: nature and the posthuman
Of God the Father: religion and the posthuman
Of Mice and Men: politics and the posthuman

Chapter Two: The Transhumanist Manifesto
On Being Better than Well: Transhumanism
Extropianism
Democratic Transhumanism
The Hedonistic Imperative
Singularitarianism
On God the Father: transhumanism and religion
On (Mother?) Nature: transhumanism and nature
On Mice and Men: transhumanism and politics

Part Two: Theological Anthropology and the Posthuman

Chapter Three: Post-anthropologies
Heart & Soul: materialism/dualism
All Heart?
No Soul?
FemaleMan: gender
Know Thyself: epistemology
Thy Sister’s Keeper: kinship

Chapter Four: Theological anthropologies
Imago Dei: the plastic image of God
The Bible tells me so
Thing, Action, Relation?
Human Nature, Mind, and Soul: substantive interpretations
We are what we do: functional interpretations
Not I, but We: relational interpretations
Human Uniqueness: Alone in the World?
Human Agency: Sin and Redemption

Chapter Five: Transversing: theologians engaging posthumans
Cyborg and theology
Anne Kull: TechnoNature
Elaine Graham: Theological Anthropology On the Edge
H+ and theology
Elaine Graham: Transcendence into an ‘Imaginary of Death’
Brent Waters: Just Say No
Ted Peters: Techno-optimism and the Doctrine of Sin
Steven Garner: The Hopeful Posthuman

Chapter Six: Constructing a Theological Post-anthropology
Relational, Embodied, Hybrid
The Turn to Relationality
(Post)Human Embodiment
Hybridity
“Medical Cyborg” Theologies
Queer Cyborg Theologies
Postcolonial Cyborg Theologies
Everybody Counts

Part Three: Christology and the Posthuman

Chapter Seven: Christology and the Posthuman
The Cyborg Christ
A Little Talk about Jesus
Trickster Figure and Hybrid Creature
Quest for the Hybridized Jesus
The Mestizo Future
The FemaleMan and the GodMan
The Ultimate Human

Conclusion

7 comments:

Krister said...

This looks awesome! I shall be first in line to buy a copy when you publish it. Congrats!

Jeffrey said...

Congratulations. This moment must be exhilarating after living with it for so long. Press on; ABD always seemed to me a pretty tragic way of life.

Jeffrey said...

I'm in the wrong account; that foregoing comment should be from "JRB."

Steve said...

Fascinating! What were some of your prime sources? Things you would recommend reading? Thanks

JTB said...

Thanks everybody.

Steve, as with any interdisciplinary project, there are a lot of different sources being juggled, some theological and some not. Theologians that deal specifically with the posthuman are pretty few, but the ones I think get it right are Anne Kull and Elaine Graham. I haven't found a book by Kull (there are several articles based on her dissertation published through Zygon, if you can get your hands on that theology & science journal), but Graham's book is titled Representations of the Post/human: Monsters, Aliens and Others in Popular Culture. A more recent book (which I criticize rather heavily in the dissertation on several grounds) is Brent Waters' From Human to Posthuman.

Non-theological resources on the cyborg would include Donna Haraway's "Cyborg Manifesto" (online; you can google it) and N. Katherine Hayles' How We Became Posthuman, a really helpful analysis that helps sort out the different constructions of the posthuman at play (cyborg versus the transhumanists).

For transhumanism, a construction of the posthuman rapidly becoming mainstream (and which, like Hayles, I consider somewhat "lethal"), you can check out humanityplus.org, an international umbrella organization for the transhumanist movement, which is pretty diverse and complex.

(I know that's probably way more than you wanted. If you were to pick up just one thing, it should be Haraway's manifesto--but be forewarned, it's a crazy ride.)

Ellen said...

OK, OK, for all of us non-theologians out here, what in the heck exactly is "posthuman" & "transhuman"??? And Jennifer, keep it simple!!! thanks!! dallasellen

JTB said...

hi Ellen!

Simply: "posthuman" is a sort of catch-all way to refer to some form of future humanity which is potentially significantly different from our current definition of "human." What exactly this might look like is a matter of contention, since the "posthuman" is a future (or emerging?) reality. (Also, what it means to be human in the first place is up for grabs...)

"Transhuman" is a specific term that refers to a movement advocating the deliberate pursuit of a specific kind of posthuman future. It's an organized and international movement--diverse and a little fringey still but actively seeking to become mainstream. Transhumanists are advocates of artificial intelligence, cryonics, anti-aging technologies of all sorts...generally, the posthuman future transhumanists want to achieve involves either refashioning our bodies extensively to achieve a pain-free, long-lived existence, or to leave the biological body behind altogether and "upload" consciousness to a virtual reality or some sort of artificial body. Immortality is an active research goal. It sounds incredible, but these guys are very, very serious about it.

and for good measure, the way I see it, "cyborg" is a different construction of the posthuman that emphasizes kinship, relationality, embodiment, and social responsibility. From the cyborg perspective, "posthuman" is something we already are...in the sense that to be post/human is to be connected and make connections with humans and nonhumans, in intimate ways that tie others into our identities. We are who we are in relation to others, and those others can be human, or not (animal, machine, and I would add, divine).

Putting all of that in conversation with theological definitions of being human ("image of God," etc.), that's pretty much the dissertation topic.