Culture and the Media
The Cyborg Subject
Gray, C. H. with Figueroa-Sarriera, H. J. and Mentor, S. (eds) (1995). The Cyborg Handbook. London: Routledge, pp. 1-14 (Introduction).

Donna Haraway’s essay ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’, first published in 1986, prompted huge interest in a cybernetic approach to contemporary culture and theory. In this Introduction to their collection of cyborg writings, Chris Gray et al. outline the key developments and ideas within ‘cyborgology’, and the ways in which we have all become cyborg subjects.

Further Reading

Balsamo, A. M. (1996). Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women. London: Duke University Press. Balsamo examines the body within virtual reality, cosmetic surgery, cyberpunk, body building, reproductive medicine et al.

Bell, D. and Kennedy, B. M. (eds) (2007). The Cybercultures Reader. 2nd ed. London: Routledge. A huge collection of essays on aspects of cyberspace and cyberculture: cyborgs, subcultures, virtual reality, sci-fi, cyberfeminism, cybersex, etc.

Bostrom, N. and Sandberg, J. (2008). Human Enhancement. Oxford: Oxford University Press. A selection of essays examining the ethical implications of human enhancement technologies.

Brahm, G. and Driscoll, M. (eds) (1995). Prosthetic Territories: Politics and Hypertechnologies. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. A collection of essays on cyber-fact and fiction.

Channell, D. F. (1991). The Vital Machine: A Study of Technology and Organic Life. New York: Oxford University Press. A philosophical history of the relationship between humans and technology.

Christie, J. R. R. (1993). A Tragedy for Cyborgs. Configurations 1(1) (Winter), pp. 171-96. A sceptical response to Haraway's original essay (not held by Brookes library).

Clark, A. (2003). Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Enthusiastic account of the history and potential future of human cyborgs.

Clynes, M. E. and Kline, N. S. (1995). Cyborgs and Space. In: Gray, C. H. with Figueroa-Sarriera, H. J. and Mentor, S. (eds) The Cyborg Handbook. London: Routledge, pp. 29-34. The 1960 article in which the term 'cyborg' was coined, used of an enhanced human being who could survive in extraterrestrial environments.

Davis-Floyd, R. and J. Dumit (eds) (1998). Cyborg Babies: From Techno-sex to Techno-tots. London: Routledge. On the impact of cyborg technologies on fetuses, babies and children.

Dery, M. (ed.) (1994). Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture. Duke University Press. Eclectic early collection of essays on cyber-stuff.

Dery, M. (1996). Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century. London: Hodder & Stoughton. Dery's own accessible book on cyber-everything.

FM-2030 (1989). Are You a Transhuman?: Monitoring and Stimulating Your Personal Rate of Growth in a Rapidly Changing World. New York, NY: Warner. Idealistic tract on transhumanist potential, written in the late 1980s by Iranian philosopher Fereidoun M. 'Fm-2030' Esfandiary.

Fuller, S. (2011). Humanity 2.0: What it Means to be Human Past, Present and Future. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. A reflection on key historical, philosophical and theological moments that have shaped our understandings of humanity.

Gray, C. H. with Figueroa-Sarriera, H. J. and Mentor, S. (eds) (1995). The Cyborg Handbook. London: Routledge. A large and varied collection of essays on cyborgs.

Halberstam, J. and Livingston, I. (eds) (1995). Posthuman Bodies. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. An interdisciplinary collection engaging with the interconnections of technologies and bodies.

Haraway, D. J. (1991a). A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. London: Free Association Books, pp. 149-81. Retrieved 24 January 2006 from here. Retrieved 5 September 2006 from here. Haraway's original cyborg essay: wide-ranging and demanding.

Haraway, D. J. (1991b). Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. London: Free Association. A collection of essays on science, gender, primatology, biotechnology, et al.

Haraway, D. J. (1995). Cyborgs and Symbionts: Living Together in the New World Order. In: Gray, C. H. with Figueroa-Sarriera, H. J. and Mentor, S. (eds) The Cyborg Handbook. London: Routledge, pp. xi-xx. Haraway returns to cyborgs, here emphasising a global perspective.

Haraway, D. J. (1997). Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. FemaleMan_Meets_OncoMouseTM: Feminism and Technoscience. London: Routledge. A wide-ranging discussion of scientific technologies, from changing gender norms to genetically modified laboratory animals.

Hayles, H. K. (1993). The Life Cycle of Cyborgs: Writing the Posthuman. In: Benjamin, M. (ed.) A Question of Identity. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Reprinted in Gray, C. H. with Figueroa-Sarriera, H. J. and Mentor, S. (eds) (1995). The Cyborg Handbook. London: Routledge, pp. 321-35. Hayles examines the figure of the cyborg within popular fiction, standing as it does between the human and the posthuman, and allowing us to explore a new mode of subjectivity.

Hayles, N. K. (1999). How We Became PostHuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics. London: University of Chicago Press. Drawing on both science and science fiction Hayles examines the impact of computers and cybernetics on notions of the human subject.

Hayles, N. K. (2005). My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Hayles examines connections between computer code and human language, addressing issues of subjectivity, digital media, intermediation, literary objects, and textuality.

Kaplan, D. M. ed. (2004). Readings in the Philosophy of Technology. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. A collection of key theoretical texts on technology (although, strangely, McLuhan and Steigler are missing).

Kirkpatrick, G. (2008). Technology and Social Power. Palgrave Macmillan. Examines the role of technology in society from a range of perspectives.

Levidow, L. and Robins, K. (eds) (1989). Cyborg Worlds: The Military Information Society. London: Free Association. A collection of essays examining the impact of military and information technologies on individuals and culture.

Lykke, N. and Braidotti, R. (eds) (1996). Between Monsters, Goddesses and Cyborgs: Feminist Confrontations with Science, Medicine and Cyberspace. London: Zed Books. A collection of essays exploring the emancipatory potential of science and technology for feminist theory.

Mazlish, B. (1993). The Fourth Discontinuity: The Co-evolution of Humans and Machines. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. The fourth illusory discontinuity to be overcome, after those overthrown by Copernicus, Darwin and Freud, is that between humans and machines.

Miller, S. E. (2004). Human, Transhuman, Posthuman: What's the Difference and Who Cares? Futures Research Quarterly 20(2) (Summer), pp. 61-67. A lawyer's perspective on the term 'transhuman', 'posthuman' and especially 'human'.

Mitchell, W. J. (2003). Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. Cambridge, MA: MIT. Examines the new urban condition of ubiquitous, inescapable network interconnectivity.

Myerson, G. (2000). Donna Haraway and GM Foods. Cambridge: Icon. An introduction to Haraway's Modest_Witness (1997), and discussion of how genetically modified food problematises natural boundaries and categories.

Saletan, W. (2005). The Beam in Your Eye. Slate (18 April). Retrieved 19 April 2011 from here. Is there an ethical difference between enhancing your eyes with contact lenses and with laser eye surgery, as Tiger Woods did?

Shelley, M. (1992). Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Boston, MA: Bedford Books/St. Martin's Press. The story of one of the first modern cyborgs.

Smith, M. and Morra, J. (eds) (2005). The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future. Cambridge, MA: MIT. A collection of thirteen essays tracing the link between 'prosthetic' developments such as cybernetics, transplants, AI and VR, and the posthuman condition.

Turkle, S. (2005). The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. 20th Anniversary ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT. Turkle examines how computers have become a part of our social and psychological selves.

Wiener, N. (1950). The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. A popular explanation of cybernetics by Wiener himself.

Wiener, N. (2003). Men, Machines, and the World About. In: Wardrip-Fruin, N. and Montfort, N. (eds) The New Media Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT. A short, accessible account by Weiner of the background to his investigations into cybernetics.

Wolmark, J. (ed.) (1999). Cybersexualities: A Reader on Feminist Theory, Cyborgs and Cyberspace. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. A collection of essays exploring questions of identity, embodiment and technology.

Zylinska, J. (ed.) (2002). The Cyborg Experiments: The Extensions of the Body in the Media Age. London: Continuum. Essays on the performance artists Orlan and Stelarc. See especially the Introduction on 'Extending McLuhan into the New Media Age'.


Extropy: Journal of Transhumanist Thought Online. The journal of the Extropy Institute dealing with all things post- and trans-human. Hard to find now, but some articles are still available online.

Journal of Evolution and Technology. The most recent incarnation of The Journal of Transhumanism, published by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

Nick Bostrom's Home Page. Nick Bostrom is director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and a prime mover in transhumanism.