• Class Number 4318
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Celia Roberts
    • Prof Celia Roberts
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

In many ways, contemporary life profoundly challenges our understandings of what it is to be human. This course explores the ways in which our bodies might be better described as ‘posthuman.’ We will examine our engagements with technology (from Fitbits to IVF), our entanglements with scientific and medical understandings of the body (such as those produced in genomics and neuroscience), and our ever-changing embodied relations to non-human animals and the material planet. Drawing on research and concepts from Science and Technology Studies, the Sociology of Health and Medicine, Feminist and Queer Theory, and Animal Studies, we will work through specific examples – relating to reproductive technologies, pharmaceuticals, self-tracking, and animals in space amongst others – to think about who and what we are today.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. apply theories of the posthuman to contemporary issues;
  2. assess and synthesise arguments about new forms of human and other-than-human life;
  3. analyse specific examples and case studies using the key concepts introduced in the course; and
  4. reflect on and discuss their own learning as it relates to the subject matter of this course.

Field Trips

Proposed field trip in Week 10 - to Australian National Museum (TBC)

Additional Course Costs


Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to the whole class

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The information provided is a preliminary Class Outline. A finalised version will be available on Wattle and will be accessible after enrolling in this course. All updates, changes and further information will be uploaded on the course Wattle site and will not be updated on Programs and Courses throughout the semester. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Course Convenor.

Please check Wattle for assessment submission dates.

Referencing requirements:

The School of Sociology uses Harvard style referencing. For more details, see: http://libguides.anu.edu.au/c.php?g=464982&p=3178730.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: What is the Posthuman? Participation in class activities
2 Are we all cyborgs? Participation in class activities
3 Robotic subjects Participation in class activities
4 Digital self-tracking and health Participation in class activities
5 Reproductive Technologies: Making new humans Participation in class activities
6 Pharmacopornographic bodies Participation in class activities
7 Feedback week: no class due to ANZAC Day holiday Meet with lecturer to receive feedback on Assessment 2 (optional); upload revised version of Assessment 2 on Wattle
8 The child: almost human? Participation in class activities
9 Non-human animals Participation in class activities;
10 Indigenous knowledges and the human Participation in class activities
11 Alterlife: bodies in the Anthropocene Participation in class activities;
12 Posthuman or posthumus? Participation in class activities

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class participation 10 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1, 2, 3, 4
Short paper (glossary entry) 20 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1, 2
Short paper (case study example) 20 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1, 3
Research essay 50 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1, 2, 3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is continually assessed (Assessment Task 1).


There are no examinations for this class.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Class participation

Each week students will be asked to participate in activities, both during the class and outside the class. Participation - including contributing to small and large group discussion (listening and speaking), locating and bringing examples to class, uploading materials on class Wattle site - will be assessed throughout the semester.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Short paper (glossary entry)

This piece of writing (1000 words) will focus on a key term used in the course. Students will prepare a glossary entry on a selected term, explaining its meaning, origins and use in debates on posthuman bodies. The writing will be submitted in Week 6, and returned to Students in Week 7 (after the two week break). Students will have the opportunity to meet with the lecturer to receive verbal feedback on their work in Week 7. Students will also be given the opportunity to revise their piece after receiving feedback (and a mark), and then must upload their piece onto the Wattle class site. These pieces of writing will form a shared glossary for the cohort to read and use in later assessments.

This assessment tests students' understanding of key concepts and their ability to provide a clearly written precis of a relevant concept for use by peers. It gives them an opportunity to practice revising work after feedback (although such revision will not be assessed).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3

Short paper (case study example)

In this short piece of writing (1000 words) students will describe in detail a relevant case study or example of 'the posthuman', selected from those introduced in the course so far. This could be an object, a cultural text (such as a film or image), or a practice (such as self-tracking of fitness or menstruation). The short paper should describe the case study in rich detail, including providing a visual image of it. This is an opportunity to hone descriptive writing skills and to start to think very carefully about how case studies are selected for and used in critical analysis. You will be practicing writing about examples in an engaging and interesting way and will begin to make links to relevant theoretical concepts (although there will not be room in this assessment for detailed theoretical exegesis - the bulk of the writing here is descriptive). The text should locate the case study example in time and space, providing the reader with a good sense of its lineage and context.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Research essay

The final assessment is a long essay (3000 words). Students must select a case study in consultation with the lecturer. This example must be different to that chosen for Assessment 3, and could be a film, an animal, a particular embodied practice they engage in, or an object/ group of objects. They will write a critical analysis of this example, answering the question: How does this example articulate posthuman bodies? How does it demonstrate weaknesses or limitations in current theorisations of the posthuman? The essay should engage critically with theories of the posthuman and demonstrate an understanding of the relevant academic debates, as well as providing a clear and engaging, detailed analysis of the chosen example. The essay must be well-referenced and demonstrate thoughtful engagement with the work of at least three scholars covered in the course.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Celia Roberts

Research Interests

Science and technology studies, feminist theories of embodiment, social studies of medicine, health and reproduction, sexuality studies

Prof Celia Roberts

Monday 13:00 15:00
Prof Celia Roberts

Research Interests

Prof Celia Roberts

Monday 13:00 15:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions