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A posthuman era? New theoretical reflections on the human and its relations GEN550

In recent decades, increasing awareness around environmental and technological challenges contributes to greater interest  regarding the role and position of the human in a geological, political and ethical context. Under the umbrella term Anthropocene - the age of humanity - posthuman studies point to  the human`s historical, social, cultural and material impact on, entanglement with and responsibility for the planet's ecological and technological systems. This course explores the specific gendered, racialized, sexualised, classed and speciesist implications and effects of such human/non-human relations. As such the course is situated within the feminist posthumanities, a field that offers a critique of the universal (hu)man and grapples with the conditions of possibility for liveable lives, justice and relationality among humans, but also between humans and the non-human.


Course description for study year 2021-2022

Facts
Course code

GEN550

Credits (ECTS)

10

Semester tution start

Autumn

Number of semesters

1

Exam semester

Autumn

Language of instruction

English

Offered by

Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Media and Social Sciences

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

  • Knowledge about key theoretical frameworks that deal with the relationality between humans and the non-human or more-than-human, such as animals, technology and climate change
  • Knowledge about the field of the posthumanities, specifically feminist posthumanities
  • Knowledge about central discussions and concepts concerning the human and its relations,

Skills:

  • Students should be able to analyse and critically discuss characteristics of the so-called posthuman turn
  • Students should be able to make use of central concepts in the posthumanities, and particularly within the feminist posthumanities
  • Students should be able to analyse challenges and opportunities provided by the theoretical frameworks of the posthumanities
  • Students should be able to compare and contrast key influences in the growing field of the posthumanities

Competences:

  • After the course, students are expected to be able to recognize posthuman discourses in contemporary debate and identify possible feminist posthumanist critiques
  • Students are expected to be able to apply a posthuman perspective in professional and educational situations
Content

This course provides an introduction to theoretical debates in the emerging fields of the posthumanities, and, particularly, the feminist posthumanities. Influenced by gender studies, queer and decolonial studies, Indigenous studies and critiques of political economy, the feminist posthumanities are particularly concerned with questions of power, agency and structural inequality. In the course, we will grapple with questions of climate change, humanimal relations, global politics and economics and (posthuman) ethics, and engage with contemporary questions of knowledge production in times of change. The central aim of the course is to improve students’ understanding of the entangled relationships among humans, between nature and culture, and between humans and technology, animals and environment. The course discusses questions of agency, subject-object relations, and the production of knowledge. The course is relevant to students who are interested in studying power, relationality, vulnerability and accountability of the human in a co-existential perspective.

The literature for this course consist of a collection of articles to be found in Leganto. Information about the article collection can be found on Canvas before the start of the course. Any changes to the curriculum will be announced on Canvas before the start of the course. The curriculum consists of approximately 1000 pages.

Required prerequisite knowledge
Completed bachelor-degree
Exam
Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Portfolio-exam 1/1 A - F

The exam for this course is a portfolio-exam. This exam consists of 2 Close Reading Workshops, 2 individual papers (à 500 words) and 1 group paper (1500 words) that will be handed in during the semester and a final individual essay (3000 words). The two individual papers and the group paper will have separate and fixed deadlines, but will be given a joint evaluation after the entire portfolio has been handed in. However, comments to the these papers will be given in a plenary session. The portfolio will be graded A-F.The continuation exam will take place in a similar manner as the ordinary exam, but within a shorter timespan.

Coursework requirements
Projects: hand-ins, group presentations, workshops
This course requires active participation: Students will be asked to attend 2 Close Reading Workshops, hand in 2 individual papers (à 500 words) and prepare a group paper (1500 words). These activities are part of the final portfolio exam in this course, and will be given a final evaluation when the portfolio exam is completed.  Comments to the essays will be given in a plenary session, and will receive a approved/non-approved assessment during the semester. Students will have to pass these compulsory assignments in order to qualify for handing in the final portfolio exam.
Course teacher(s)
Course coordinator: Mathias Klitgård
Course coordinator: Ingvil Førland Hellstrand
Method of work
The course consists of weekly sessions. These sessions will include lectures, seminars, excursions, group work and individual work - adapted to different modes of study. All students are expected to read the syllabus and participate in group discussions and thereby develop analytic reflections in a productive environment with fellow students. This will be done on and off campus and the course coordinator will facilitate a digital learning platform (Canvas). The working language for this course is English.
Open for
This course can be taken as a part of the Minor in Gender Studies (30ECTS)
Course assessment
Student evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the evaluation system of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Overlapping courses
Course Reduction (SP)
A posthuman era? New theoretical reflections on the human and its relations (GEN350) 10
Literature
Search for literature in Leganto