Makuc, Ana (2010) What is 'woman?' : the problematization of gender in cyberpunk science fiction literature. In: Intellectual Party 2010: Lancaster Sociology Summer Conference, 2010-06-28 - 2010-06-29. (Unpublished)
My research project revolves around the problematization of the female body, subjectivity and the concept of ‘woman’ in a specific subgenre of feminist science fiction literature that is called cyberpunk science fiction. It involves an exploration of the social effects of science and technology aspects of contemporary gendered identity (such as race, age, ethnicity) as portrayed in the fictional worlds of some key male and feminist cyberpunk science fiction authors. Science fiction in this context represents a literary form that, by means of fantasy, draws ‘an art that life can imitate’ as it portrays a brighter and egalitarian future of human beings as subjects, or even posthuman sexless beings. Cyberpunk deals with the alteration of (gendered) identity or ‘the nature of humanity, the nature of the self’ (Bruce Sterling cited in Haran 2006: 247), by means of removable legs and arms, missing body pieces, interchangeable blood and organs, prosthetic substitutes, genetic alterations (Donawerth 2004), implanted circuitry, cosmetic surgery, brain-computer interfaces, artificial intelligence, and neurochemistry (Haran 2006). Concretely, it blurs the boundaries between physical and non-physical machines. The research would compare female- and male-authored late twentieth century and early twenty-first century cyberpunk novels, short stories and graphic novels, addressing issues of embodiment, subjectivity and technoscience, by means of feminist psychoanalytic textual analysis.
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