Biopolitics of Pop Culture
Join me and a pretty nifty selection of speakers on December 4 at the Biopolitics of Popular Culture event in HOLLYW--er, IRVINE, California.
Popular culture is full of tropes and cliches that shape our debates about emerging technologies. Our most transcendent expectations for technology come from pop culture, and the most common objections to emerging technologies come from science fiction and horror, from Frankenstein and Brave New World to Gattaca and the Terminator.
Why is it that almost every person in fiction who wants to live a longer than normal life is evil or pays some terrible price? What does it say about attitudes towards posthuman possibilities when mutants in Heroes or the X-Men, or cyborgs in Battlestar Galactica or Iron Man, or vampires in True Blood or Twilight are depicted as capable of responsible citizenship?
Is Hollywood reflecting a transhuman turn in popular culture, helping us imagine a day when magical and muggle can live together in a peaceful Star Trek federation? Will the merging of pop culture, social networking and virtual reality into a heightened augmented reality encourage us all to make our lives a form of participative fiction?
During this day long seminar we will engage with culture critics, artists, writers, and filmmakers to explore the biopolitics that are implicit in depictions of emerging technology in literature, film and television.
On the roster are Annalee Newitz (the first time we'll be speaking on the same program!) and my friend and comic book/superhero fiction historian Jess Nevins, along with:
(Still not gender parity, but a speaker list that's one-third women is a significant improvement over nearly other future-focused event I've been to. Good work!)