The Age of Posthumanism

Welcome to our 3rd episode of the “22 Lessons on Ethical Technology” series! We will be releasing new episodes in the series every first and second Friday of the month through the duration of the series.

In this episode, I sit down with Dr. N. Kate Hayles, one of the founding theorists of posthumanism, a key term to understanding the changing and dynamic relationship between humans and machines in the digital age. What is the role of the Humanities in understanding our relationship to technology? How have our technological innovations have changed the nature of “the human?” And what is the future of the human relationship to our machines–and to our understanding of ourselves?

Dr. N. Katherine Hayles is a Distinguished Research Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles and the James B. Duke Professor of Literature Emerita at Duke University. She teaches and writes on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her most recent book, Postprint: Books and Becoming Computational, was published by the Columbia University Press (Spring 2021). Among her many books is her landmark work How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, which won the Rene Wellek Prize for the Best Book in Literary Theory for 1998-99, and Writing Machines, which won the Suzanne Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship. She has been recognized by many fellowships and awards, including two NEH Fellowships, a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller Residential Fellowship at Bellagio, and two University of California Presidential Research Fellowships. 

Dr. Hayles is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. She holds a B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology, an M.S. from the California Institute of Technology, an M.A. from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. Within the field of Posthuman Studies, Dr. Hayles’  book How We Became Posthuman is considered “the key text which brought posthumanism to broad international attention. Her work has laid the foundations for multiple areas of thinking across a wide variety of urgent issues at the intersection of technology, including cybernetic history, feminism, postmodernism, cultural and literary criticism, and is vital to our ongoing conversations about the changing relationship between humans and the technologies we create.

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