The (Un)Certain Future of Empathy in Posthumanism, Cyberculture and Science Fiction

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The (Un)Certain Future of Empathy in Posthumanism, Cyberculture and Science Fiction


This volume explores the anxieties expressed by posthumanism, cyberculture and science fiction, addressing concerns for the future of empathy, the centrality of the body, posthumanism and human ethics and ideologies.

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This volume investigates the future of empathy as contemplated by posthumanism, cyberculture and science fiction. As humanity increasingly networks and communicates online, the reconfiguration of human communities through the removal and immediacy of the body challenges traditional notions of humanity and human capacity for empathy. The impact of cyberculture and posthumanism on humanity and its capacity for empathy is here assessed through research in literature, films, neuroscience, anthropology and philosophy. This volume addresses the centrality of the body to human interactions and assesses how intrinsic it is to the defining of the human. The exploration of posthuman narratives which display futuristic bodily modifications also engages with the anxieties and hopes for the future of human empathy. Research in dystopian narratives shows that these anxieties are also expressed without the tropes of bodily modifications and that ideological distancing creates the conditions necessary for a lack of empathy towards otherness.

Elsa Bouet

Part I Effective Communication, Empathy and the Body

Toying with Intention: Embodiment, Empathy and Programmed Intentionality in New Media
Mari-Lou Rowley

Virtuous War and UAVs: The ‘Inhibition’ of Friction and the Banalization of Violence
Alcides Eduardo dos Reis Peron

Serial Communication Experiments: You Can (Not) Advance
Antony Chun-man Tam

Cyberculture and Ethics in Generation A and Super Sad True Love Story
Reinhold Kramer

Part II Prospects of a Fleshless Humanity

Of Flesh and Bone: Finding Human Sameness in the ‘Skinjobs’ of Battlestar Galactica
Teresa Bothelho

Dreams of Sheep: Humanity as a Discursive Formation in Battlestar Galactica
Yonatan Englender

In the Absence of Flesh, Bodies Made Anew: Transparency, Avatars and the Holographic Body in Hollywood Cinema (1980-2010)
Pia Pandelakis

Part III Posthuman Scepticism and Hopes

The Technological Utopia in Hollywood: The Surrogate as Contemporary Paradigm for Posthumanity in Surrogates (2009) and Gamer (2009)
Mehdi Achouche

Marge Piercy´s Body of Glass and the Cyborg-Human Relationship: Fear or Hope for the Twenty-First Century
Miguel Nenevé and Nayra Gomes

Digressions in Progress: Posthuman Loneliness and the Will to Play in the Work of the Strugatsky Brothers
Julia Vaingurt

Part IV Codifying Body and Mind

Bodily Imagination from Suprematism to Cyberpunk
Colleen McQuillen

The Colonized Pastoral: Africa, Myth, Alienation and Blackness in Greg Bear’s Queen of Angels
Selena Middleton

Imprisonment in the Fiction of Christopher Priest
Elsa Bouet

Totalitarian Literature: Realism and Reality
Luana Signorelli Faria da Costa

Elsa Bouet has recently completed her PhD on utopian and dystopian literature. She is currently working on dystopian geographies and cityscapes, dystopian literature and science fiction and researching on monsters and the monstrous in relation to ideology and utopia.