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Monstrosity and the Posthuman Discourse in Contemporary Women's Science Fiction
the posthuman,feminist science fiction and cyberpunk,human and technology,risk,assemblage,queer,nanofiction,
|Publication Year :||2009|
|Abstract:||中 文 摘 要
Throughout this dissertation, I’ve endeavored to analyze current theoretical and fictional narratives of the posthuman from various angles with the hope of producing a more productive way to account for the intricate, complex and dynamic assemblages between humans and nonhumans, including technical devices and animals. To a large extent, these three novels covered in this dissertation can be regarded as novelists’ responses to the traversal and even possible dissolution of the boundaries between humans and nonhumans suggested not only by cutting-edge technical devices but also by the paradigm-shifting conception of cybernetics which holds the human body can be interpenetrated by and reduced to information. While part of my dissertation is inspired by Donna Haraway’s “The Promises of Monsters,” I am more reserved in the disruptive potential of these posthumans considering the fact that various forms of posthumanism imply different forms of agency “in which both subjectivity and the human/nonhuman distinction are no longer distributed in any easily recognizable way” (Johnston, Information 263). In its stead, I contextualize human-nonhuman couplings in these novels in Ulrich Beck’s theory of the risk society to underscore the complexities of contemporary technoculture and to expose the problems and limitations of the anthropocentric view of technology and traditional ways of risk management. In the process of working out diverse tactics to tackle risks, protagonists in these novels are quick to establish alliances with other humans and nonhumans, which provide a sharp contrast to the lone hero’s pilgrimage stories so common in the literary tradition of humanism. Moreover, Rose’s distributive way of controlling the development of nanotechnology in Kathleen Ann Goonan’s Queen City Jazz even suggests a new way of confronting contemporary technological risks of various kinds.
Besides a critical survey of various narratives of posthumanism, I contextualize and assess various configurations of human-technology relationship in contemporary theoretical discourse and women’s science fiction in Chapter One. In Chapter Two, my rereading of Pat Cadigan’s Synners aims not only to revisit current critical paradigms of feminist cyberpunk but also to shift the attention to consider implications of technological embodiment in the context of contemporary technoculture. In Chapter Three, I incorporate Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s conceptions of machinic assemblage and nomad to interpret the power struggle between Trouble (and her queer friends) and the Mayor (along with other mainstream straight hackers) in Melissa Scott’s Trouble and Her Friends to substantiate my observation that different forms of human-nonhuman couplings trigger tremendous impacts in terms of sexuality and politics. In Chapter Four, I contextualize Kathleen Ann Goonan’s Queen City Jazz in contemporary debates and controversies on Eric Drexler’s conception of nanotechnology to interpret the emergence of new machinic assemblages when the boundary between the biological and the technological is redefined. While the order of my textual analysis does not indicate a linear line of development in women’s science fiction, all of them make manifest promises and compromises of posthumans and demonstrate the worth of women’s science fiction in providing a much needed arena to try out current and emergent posthuman configurations.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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