Racing the Posthuman: Blackness, Technology and the Literary Imagination

Collins, Alyssa, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Wallace, Maurice, AS-English-Eng Lit Ops, University of Virginia

"Racing the Posthuman: Blackness, Technology, and the Literary Imagination" suggests pausing ongoing debates about what it is to be human under the incursion of new technology to consider methods black authors have already used to navigate historical and contemporary definitions and fictions of the human. I propose that although narratives both of the human and of technological progress have ignored black culture, black literary engagements with the relationships between humans and technology are intrinsic to these conversations. Expanding upon the literary, philosophical, and critical race work of Katherine Hayles, Sylvia Wynter, and Alexander Weheliye, each chapter connects black authors with a contemporaneous school of scientific and technological thought. In reading works by Ralph Ellison, Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, and under the hashtag #sayhername, I address the way black writers complicate narratives of technology and unsettle the racialized dialectics of the human.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
afrofuturism, posthuman, Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, #sayhername, Ralph Ellison
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