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Elaine Graham Grosvenor Professor of Practical Theology University of Chester The Rise of the Posthuman: Where is the Gospel?

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Presentation on theme: "Elaine Graham Grosvenor Professor of Practical Theology University of Chester The Rise of the Posthuman: Where is the Gospel?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Elaine Graham Grosvenor Professor of Practical Theology University of Chester The Rise of the Posthuman: Where is the Gospel?

2 Stop the Cyborgs! Launch of “Google Glass”, June 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=OLn0cSZfl 6c#t=1s ‘Making technology natural’ “Stop the Cyborgs” campaign: Concerns about privacy, safety People need to “actively set social and physical bounds around the use of technologies and not just fatalistically accept the direction technology is heading” (March 2013) Are advanced technologies a neutral, benevolent tool? At what point do they reshape, control or encroach on our lives?

3 The ‘Post/human Condition’ Information and communications technologies: first stored-memory computer, 1948 Advent of advanced biotechnologies: discovery of DNA, 1953 Technologies as INCORPORATED into the human: incorporated into the body or experienced as ‘natural’, spontaneous, routine Technologies as IMMERSIVE: Creation of new virtual and social worlds

4 Servant or Monster? Technologies as dehumanising – “Frankenstein Foods” Technologies as liberating – Transhumanism Questions of ontology: Not so much “what are we doing with our technology?” but it must be “what are we becoming with our techno- logy?” (Hefner, 2003: 9)

5 The Promises of Monsters At the boundaries of human/non-human, born/made, nature/technology, life/death As refractions of normative and exemplary humanity A longer tradition of ‘teratology’: monsters as portents and signs Horror and hybridity As refractions & mirrors of our hopes and fears

6 Science/Fiction and the cultural imagination The cultural power of myth Mary Shelley and the origins of Frankenstein Monsters, cyborgs, aliens, the undead as ‘things to think with’: Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2005); 28 Days Later (dir. Danny Boyle, 2000); Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, 1982); BBC TV Being Human (2008-13)

7 What it means to be human Technology and human becoming Humans as ‘builders of worlds’ (William Paden) Material and imaginary A capacity for ‘transcendence’? Made in the image of God? ‘Created co-creators’ (Ted Peters) Human/Nature

8 Post/human Ethics Whose humanity? Whose futures? ‘Cyborg Ethics’ (Donna Haraway) Neither extinction or mastery … but co-evolution


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