- Class Number 3675
- Term Code 3330
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Prof Celia Roberts
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 20/02/2023
- Class End Date 26/05/2023
- Census Date 31/03/2023
- Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- apply theories of the posthuman to contemporary issues;
- assess and synthesise arguments about new forms of human and other-than-human life;
- analyse specific examples and case studies using the key concepts introduced in the course; and
- reflect on and discuss their own learning as it relates to the subject matter of this course.
Proposed field trip to Australian National Museum in connection to weeks 8 and 9
Additional Course Costs
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- written comments
- verbal comments
- feedback to the whole class
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.
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.
The School of Sociology uses Harvard style referencing. For more details, see: http://libguides.anu.edu.au/c.php?g=464982&p=3178730
|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||The child: almost human?||Participation in class activities|
|8||Non-human animals||Participation in class activities|
|9||Indigenous knowledges and the human||Participation in class activities|
|10||Trees and other plants||Participation in class activities|
|11||Alterlife: bodies in the Anthropocene||Participation in class activities|
|12||Posthuman or posthumus?||Participation in in-class activities|
|Assessment task||Value||Learning Outcomes|
|Participation||10 %||1,2, 3, 4|
|Short paper (glossary entry)||20 %||1,2|
|Short paper (case study example)||20 %||1,3|
|Research essay||50 %||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:
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
Learning Outcomes: 1,2, 3, 4
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
Learning Outcomes: 1,2
Short paper (glossary entry)
This short piece of writing (2000 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
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
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3
This assessment is your chance to demonstrate that you can apply theories of the posthuman to relevant examples. In consultation with us and in discussion with your peers, you will choose an example/ case study (this could be an embodied practice you engage in, an object in the museum or in your life, a film, an artwork....) and answer the following question: How does this example articulate posthuman bodies? Does it demonstrate the limitations or difficulties of existing theorisations of the posthuman? If so, in what ways?
The essay must provide detailed analysis of your chosen case study (visual images would be great) and also engage in-depth with at least 3 theorists covered in the course. You should situate your argument in wider debates about the posthuman and/or similar cases. The essay must be properly referenced, using Harvard style, and be clear and interesting to read. You should reference at least 10 academic articles or books. Please use the additional references provided on this site, as well as conducting your own, more specifically relevant searches.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students