Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Whedon Manifesto: Superhumans, Inhumans, and Humans in the Posthuman Century
by Pearson, Megan St. Clair, M.A., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2014, 83; 1560922
Abstract (Summary)

Examining Whedon's cyborgs using Donna Haraway's essay "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s" and the literary theory of posthumanism, I examine which posthuman cyborg characters exhibit characteristics of villainy as well as those that display the antipodal characteristics of heroism. Haraway is well known as one of the earliest theorists to examine cyborgs in literature as transformative figures, and she is referenced in almost every cybernetic studies text available. Haraway's construction of the cyborg identity, which she deems essential for the progress of feminism, opens up a new type of human existence. For Haraway, the cyborg's conglomeration of bits of organic matter with that of machine creates an authentic replication of natural human existence, removed from possible human error within the body itself. Haraway's definition of the cyborg allows for some clear-cut outlines of what constitutes the body of the cyborg. The cyborg is a fused being, a combination of both organic and nonorganic material, which exists in both reality and fiction (Haraway 7). Whedon's corpus is replete with cyborg characters, from the `Frankensteinesque' Adam in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to that of the manipulated human forms of River Tam and the Reavers in Firefly and Serenity, and lastly to the technologically-adept Dolls and Topher Brink in Dollhouse.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: DeSpain, Jessica
Commitee: Anderson, Jill, Berger, Charles
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: English Language & Literature
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 53/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, Film studies
Keywords: Buffy the Vamire Slayer, Cyborg, Dollhouse, Firefly, Technology, Whedon
Publication Number: 1560922
ISBN: 9781321047912
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