ARCT5517 Architecture and the Posthumanist Subject

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Recent developments in digital media and biotechnology, cultural hybridisation, and new attitudes to the body and sexuality challenge our notion of what it means to be 'human.' Since the Enlightenment, 'man' has been considered a rational, progressive being conquering nature and claiming the right to liberty. However, this also involved 'human exclusivism'. Women, non-white races, people of alternative sexual orientation, the elderly, as well as other natural species were not included in the definition of 'man' and thus regarded as irrational, biologically inferior, and in need of governance. Today the boundaries between ‘man' and ‘non-man' are more porous and human exclusivism is giving way to posthumanist inclusivity. What are the implications of this for architecture? How do changing notions of gender impact the design of the single family home? What are the consequences of the new understanding of ageing for the design of elderly homes and public space? How do we accommodate alternative sexualities in design? What does the workspace look like if it is designed for ‘cyborgs'—hybrids of human and machine? What should migrant neighbourhoods look like? How does the notion of ‘style' change in a multicultural context? How do we articulate our relationship with ‘companion species' in the design of labs, natural reserves, zoos, or spaces for pets? How do posthumanist subjects find their voice in urban spaces? These are the issues explored.
Students are able to (1) gain insight into politics of race, gender, age, sexuality, and technology, as well as the philosophy of the posthuman, with its main concepts and theories; (2) examine political and ethical issues of the posthuman age and assess their implication for design; and (3) select a posthuman ‘species' and develop their own architectural proposition which will accommodate it.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) mid-semester quiz and (2) final essay (5000 words). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Assistant Professor Tijana Vujosevic
Contact hours
seminars: 3 hours per week
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