What does it mean to be human? How have new ideas in philosophy, science, technology, and literature shaped the way we answer this question?

This seminar will examine modern challenges and revisions to the idea of being “human.” To understand both the history of being “human” and the objections raised by the idea’s critics, students in this seminar will encounter arguments from a wide variety of disciplines and national literatures. Students will study modern and contemporary narratives that probe assumptions about race, gender, and nationality underlying modern humanism. Students will also investigate the porous borders between humans and technology and evaluate post-apocalyptic scenarios in which the natural become “uncanny” and technology becomes “natural.” This will count towards the Pre-1900s requirement to the Literature Minor.