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Politics without Humans?
/ STS 273
/ PSCI 273
Are human beings the only beings who belong in politics? And is political involvement a unique or defining aspect of what it means to be human? Such questions are increasingly complex as the boundaries of “the human” become blurred by the rise of artificial intelligence, robotics, and brain implants: shifting attitudes towards both animal and human bodies; and the automation of economic and military decisions (buy! sell! attack! retreat!) that used to be the prerogative of human actors. How do visions of politics without humans and humans without politics impact our thinking about longstanding questions of freedom, power, and right? Can and should the link between humans and politics survive in an age in which “posthuman” or “transhuman” entities become central characters in the drama of politics? This class will consider these questions through readings, films and artifacts that bring political theory into conversation with science fiction, popular literature on the so-called “singularity” (the merger of humans with computers), science and technology studies, evolutionary anthropology, “new materialist” philosophy, and feminist theory.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
three 5- to 7-page papers, regular Glow posts, class participation
please note that this is an introductory-level course with no prerequisites; first-year students and those with no background in political theory are welcome, as are more experienced students
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives
ENVI Environmental Policy
PHIL Related Courses
PSCI Political Theory Courses