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124070 VO Culture, Society and the Media (2021S)

Human and Nonhuman Bodies: Representing Animals, Environments, and Machines in Media

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).



Aims, contents and method of the course

Since at least the Renaissance, the "human" has been the central, organising concept of cultural, philosophical, scientific, political, economic, historical, literary and critical debates. However, in recent years significant theoretical developments and advancements in animal studies, nonhuman studies, posthumanism, ecocriticsm, and ecofeminism have challenged the correctness and ethics of studying culture exclusively through theoretical paradigms and constructions that centre and elevate 'the human’. By focusing rather on media representations, narratives and experiences of animals, landscapes, machines, networks, cyborgs, and AI in diverse historical contexts, cultural practices, and representational modes, together we will explore the very notion of culture (what it excludes and why, its unspoken assumptions and exploitations) and consider how, in an increasingly mechanised and digitised cultural realm, the limits of the human are being redrawn.

Assessment and permitted materials

Final exam based on the course materials

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

All content covered in the lecture series will be relevant for the final exam, which will count for the entirety of the participant's grade. The benchmark for passing the exam is at 60%.
Grades in %:
1 (very good): 90-100
2 (good): 80-89
3 (satisfactory): 70-79
4 (pass): 60-69
5 (fail): 0-59

Examination topics

All content covered in the lecture series will be relevant for the exam.

Reading list

The following films will be discussed in detail in the course (more to be announced, including TV shows)
Metropolis (dir. Fritz Lang, 1927)
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, 1982)
Ghost in the Shell (dir. Mamoru Oshii, 1995)
Avatar (dir. James Cameron, 2009)
Rubber (dir. Quentin Dupieux, 2010)
The Shape of Water (dir. Guillermo del Toro, 2017)
Disney & Pixar: Pocahontas (1995), Wall-E, Moana (2016)

Computer games including Zero Dawn Horizon, Anima Crossing, Fallout 3.

A playlist will be made in advance for songs and albums to be discussed in detail

The following theoretical texts will be discussed in detail:
Jacques Derrida, "The Animal that Therefore I Am" (2008)
Jane Bennett, "Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things" (2009)
Stacey Alaimo, "Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self" (2010)
Val Plumwood, "Feminism and the Mastery of Nature" (1993)
Donna Haraway, "The Cyborg Manifesto" (1985)
Rosi Braidotti, diverse works
(more to come)

Association in the course directory

Studium: BA 612, EC 125, EC 126; BEd 046
Code/Modul: BA07.1, EC Cultural and Regional Studies 1; BEd Modul 10
Lehrinhalt: 12-4070

Last modified: Mo 23.08.2021 09:07