Introducing the history, forms, and discourses of Japanese “cyberpunk” in contemporary anime and film, this course explores the urban dreams (and nightmares) that constitute cyberpunk’s posthumanist vision of Neo-Tokyo. Viewed not as a reflection of contemporary Japanese society but rather as its defamiliarization, Japanese forms of cyberpunk are investigated alongside Western examples of posthumanism as sites of contestation for competing ideologies and the delineation of new possibilities of existence, new forms of being, at the intersection between carbon- and silicon-based forms of intelligence and data-processing.
Treating Japanese cyberpunk not merely as a literary movement or aesthetic style but more importantly as a philosophical discourse with distinctive questions and premises—i.e., as a philosophical “problematic” with its own sociohistorical specificities and transnational trajectories—we will investigate the cyberpunk city as an “abstract machine,” the cyborg’s “organs without a body,” and the rhizomatic processes of cyberculture.
Issues discussed include:
- The status of subjectivity in posthumanism: fabricated, virtual memories and fractured identities.
- The human body and its interfaces with technology: cyborg implants, prostheses, replacement parts, and bio-tech hybridities.
- Post-apocalyptic visions of class, race, gender, and sexuality.
- The individual and her relation to the city: new modes of spatiality and habitation, new forms of community, new ways in which individuals circulate and are contained, as well as new forms of surveillance and policing.
- Acts of resistance: the politics of cyber-terrorism and other forms of subversion.
Comics Studies Minor courses present students with an international, historical, and critical perspective on the art of editorial cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels, and how these forms communicate, inform, and emotionally engage their audiences. Students will be required to think outside of accustomed disciplinary boundaries, and to analyze and experiment with the interaction of both visual and linguistic systems of meaning.