This dissertation explores the posthuman visions in U.S. and Japanese science fiction/speculative fiction (SF) produced after World War II. By posthuman visions, I refer to a writers imaginative capability to create a series of ideas andMoreThis dissertation explores the posthuman visions in U.S.
and Japanese science fiction/speculative fiction (SF) produced after World War II. By posthuman visions, I refer to a writers imaginative capability to create a series of ideas and imageries of the new figures that appear in SF, many of which are radically different from the modern, Western conception of human. In many cases, these posthumans are hybrid characters, results of intercorporeal fusions, augmentations, exchanges, and hybridizations between man and machine, man and aliens, man and animals, etc.
My research primarily analyzes the literary and cinematic works of SF writers and creators such as William Gibson, Octavia E. Butler, Numa Shozo, and Oshii Mamoru. I argue that their posthuman visions articulate the emerging subjectivity in the postwar technocultural context in which new sciences and technologies such as cybernetics, informatics, bio(techno)logy, nanotechnology, and global information networks have become both extensive and dominant social and cultural forces.
Simultaneously, they critically question and refigure the normative model of human by engaging the issues of otherness in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality (or nationalism).-My research is mostly informed by the development of posthuman theories cultivated by cultural critics and philosophers such as Donna J. Haraway (cyborg theory), Katherine N. Hayles (posthuman theory), and Deleuze/Guattari (nomadology). Among them, Hayles theoretical conception of the posthuman synthesizes questions of new technologies and postmodern SF literature.
Her posthumanism is one of the foundational frameworks in this project. Yet, the dissertation has an extended engagement that situates posthumanism in conversation with the discussion of otherness. I claim that the posthuman theory and/or discussion should engage more critical strands of thought such as ethnic studies and postcolonial theory.
These disciplines have also problematized the normative model of the human, which often functioned as a repressive and exclusive category in conjunction with ideologies and practices like imperialism, colonialism, and nationalism. Being critical of this normative model of the human, the aforementioned SF works attempt to expand and (re-)negotiate the exclusive category of human in social and historical contexts.
In so doing, they radically and imaginatively examine what it really means to be human in the age of technoculture and globalization.