The Souls of Cyberfolk
Posthumanism as Vernacular Theory
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
344 pages, 149.00 x 229.00 x 18.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780816634064
- Published: May 2005
In The Souls of Cyberfolk, Thomas Foster traces the transformation of cyberpunk from a literary movement into a multimedia cultural phenomenon. He examines how cyberpunk defined a framework for thinking about the cultural implications of new technologies - a framework flexible enough to incorporate issues of gender, queer sexualities, and ethnic and racial differences as well as developments in nationalist models of citizenship and global economic flows. Beginning with William Gibson's paradigmatic text Neuromancer, and continuing through the works of Maureen McHugh, Melissa Scott, Neal Stephenson, Greg Egan, and Ken MacLeod, Foster measures cyberpunk's reach into social and philosophical movements (the Extropy Institute), commercial art (Hajime Sorayama's gynoids or sexy robot illustrations), comic books (Deathlok), film (Robocop), and music video (from Billy Idol's Cyberpunk album). The central challenge that cyberpunk poses for cultural critics, Foster argues, is to understand what happens when the technological denaturalization of physical embodiment becomes the norm. This question acquires urgency as the focus of his book moves beyond the typical technocultural concerns with gender and sexuality to consider race and models of citizenship - a shift that constitutes one of the book's most original contributions to scholarship on the topic.
Contents Acknowledgments Introduction. Cyberpunk's Posthuman Afterlife1. The Legacies of Cyberpunk Fiction: New Cultural Formations and the Emergence of the Posthuman2. Meat Puppets or Robopaths: The Question of (Dis)Embodiment in Neuromancer3. The Sex Appeal of the Inorganic: Posthuman Narratives and Constructions of Desire 4. Trapped by the Body: Telepresence Technologies and Transgendered Performance 5. The Souls of Cyberfolk: Performativity, Virtual Embodiment, and Racial Histories6. Replaying the L.A. Riots: Cyborg Narratives and National Traumas7. Franchise Nationalisms: Globalization, Consumer Culture, and New EthnicitiesConclusion. The Antinomies of Posthuman ThoughtNotesWorks CitedIndex