Science/Fiction: Imagineering the Future of the Human

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Author: Manuela Rossini, Basel und Nijmegen

The project focuses on the category of the post/human as constructed primarily in contemporary sf written in English, but also as „imagineered“ in literary and cultural theory, in philosophical writings as well as in scientific and bioethical texts on reproductive technologies in a wide sense. The research starts from the premise that the popular genre of sf is an important cultural resource for dealing with technoscientific developments. Moreover, I argue that sf has also shaped the developments in information and biomedical technology in crucial ways. Because of my contention that the hitherto separate spheres of sf, science and social reality are collapsing and in order to emphasise the narrative nature of scientific writings, I consider all the selected types of text as science/fiction or scientifictive texts to be subjected to a careful semiotic and narratological analysis which is theoretically and methodologically informed by gender, feminist and queer studies, deconstruction, bioethics, and the cultural studies of technoscience.

In these scientifictive texts, the mixing of the human and non-human, cloning and other forms of genetic manipulation are (re)presented in both utopian and dystopian terms. They figure scenarios of the dangers as well as potentialities for radical democratic life in which post/human difference can be celebrated rather than be used for the objectification and suppression of the Other – whether that Other be defined in terms of gender, race, sexuality, animal or machine.

My main research interests lie in the investigation of how human beings are constructed textually and how „human“ is differentiated from other entities (organic and non-organic). Special emphasis is given to the relationship between different „imagineerings“ of the post/human and prevailing concepts of gender and other structures of inequality, hierarchies and discrimination: what/who does the term „human“ include or exclude, and in whose advantage or disadvantage are such inclusions or exclusions?

Zur Person:

Dr. Manuela Rossini studierte Anglistik und Hispanistik an der Universität Basel. Anschliessend war sie wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Hochschule St.Gallen für die Englisch-deutsche Studienausgabe von Shakespeares King Lear. Danach erlangte sie am Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory der Universität Cardiff einen M.A., bevor sie von 1995-2000 am Englischen Seminar der Universität Basel als Assistentin tätig war. Die Promotion erfolgte 2002 mit einer kulturwissenschaftlichen Dissertation zur Familie in der Frühen Neuzeit. Bis vor kurzem koordinierte sie die Ausarbeitung eines Nationalen Forschungsschwerpunktes im Bereich der Gender Studies und arbeitet nun an der Universität Nijmegen an ihrem vom Schweizerischen Nationalfonds unterstützten Habilitationsprojekt „Science/Fiction: Imagineering the Future of the Human“.

Siehe auch 5th European Feminist Research Conference: Manuela Rossini – Science/Fiction: Imagineering Posthuman Bodies


„Künstliche Reproduktion (in) der Science/Fiction: Neue Technologien – alte Geschichten?“ In: figurationen 02/03.