Title page for ETD etd-06042012-133038

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Petitfils, Brad M
Author's Email Address bmpetit710@gmail.com
URN etd-06042012-133038
Title A Posthuman Curriculum: Subjectivity at the Crossroads of Time
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hendry, Petra Munro Committee Chair
Egea-Kuehne, Denise Committee Member
Mitchell, Roland Committee Member
Liu, Chuanlan Dean's Representative
  • hyperreality
  • curriculum
  • posthumanism
Date of Defense 2012-05-17
Availability unrestricted
This investigation is focused on three critical issues facing educators in the 21st century: how technology is reshaping what it means to be human, the shift from the human era to the posthuman era and the implications of that shift on subjectivity, and the purpose of undergraduate education in a posthuman era. The current shift towards a posthuman worldview is a radical break from the modern and postmodern 20th century, when identity was constructed in terms of possibilities and multiplicities. Instead, in the hyperreal 21st century, subjectivity is complicated by homogenization and the radical sameness of simulated technological experiences. Also, whereas the modern and postmodern eras were human-centered, the posthuman era brings with it a shift from a human-centered to a machine-centered worldview. To illustrate a comparable historical shift, the investigation revisits the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and the transition from the medieval period to the Renaissance. In that shift, the focus turned from a theocentric (God-centered) worldview to a humanistic (human-centered) worldview. From a genealogical perspective, this historical glance can help demonstrate how notions of humanness were privileged in the face of radical social chaos. In the end, when theorizing about the purpose of undergraduate education in a posthuman era, a poststructural examination of modernity is undertaken that explores threads of the lives of young people and the implications of ubiquitous screen culture on their daily lived experiences. Finally, a posthuman curriculum is proposed, which seeks to reawaken attention of the human experience in a digital age.
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