• Class Number 3676
  • 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
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. develop arguments about new forms of human and other-than-human life;
  3. research and 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.

Additional Course Costs


Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to 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 Participation in class activities
5 Health technologies: Reshaping the human 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 class activities

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Class participation 10 % 1, 2, 3, 4
Short paper (glossary entry, revised and resubmitted after feedback with list of changes made) 30 % 1,2
Research essay 60 % 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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 %
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 live 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: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Short paper (glossary entry, revised and resubmitted after feedback with list of changes made)

This assessment involves writing about one of the key terms in debates on posthumanism. We will compile a list of terms in class and allocate the terms in a group process. Your glossary entry should explain the meaning of the term, discuss its origins, and explain its use in relevant debates on the posthuman. The writing is for your colleagues to read and use. After they have been read by me and returned to you with feedback (after the mid-term break) you must revise them according to the feedback and then resubmit to me with a list of revisions made. The mark allocated will be determined both the final quality of the revised piece and your efforts to respond to the feedback. You will be asked to upload the final piece on this Wattle site. They will then become a resource for the whole class. The entries should be interesting and engaging to read.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 60 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Research essay

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 4 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 12 academic articles or books. Please use the additional references provided on this site, as well as conducting your own, more specifically relevant searches. Length is 4000 words.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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. Extensions may be granted 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

By Appointment

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