Knowledge and Technology and Ethics. Un/Making Bodies and Global Future(s)




Prof. Dr. Susan Arndt


Englische Literaturwissenschaft und Anglophone Literaturen







I intend to kick off a research project that explores knowledge of/about technology and gender needed for the un/making of future_bodies in a global context of naturecultures (Cecile Åsberg) and spacetime (Karen Barad).

“The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed“, writes William Gibson. Recently, the genetic and digital revolution has opened new options for the FutureS of humanity (the capital S stresses that future is always wo*man-made and exists only in a polyphonous plural) that is simultaneously challenged to redistribute energy, resources and climate responsibility. Consequently, a reorganisation of the distribution of FutureS  and the challenge of distributing it (more) equally is an option that is generating narrations that envision FutureS in the plural and in the making, redefining human power just as much as power about/of/off/beyond the human body. This is particularly true given the fact that processes of transgressing spaces, times and bodies have resituated invented “norms” like Europe, progress or masculinity lastingly, triggering new mappings, narrations and visions. Consequently, FutureS in the  21st century, precondition a transcultural discussion and sharing of knowledge about an ethics of genetics, energy, ecology, climate, health and economy.

New technologies like genetic engineering and biotechnology redefined nourishment and reproduction, birth and death (sperm banking, reprogenetics, reproductive medicine, cryobiology etc.). The ICT (information and communication technologies), in turn, brought about the digital revolution that generated the Information Age. This enabled the intensified sharing of information, knowledge and ethics  with an accelerated speed and into diversified spaces with exponentially growing options and challenges that require digital literacy as well as competency in ‘doing’ the genetic and digital revolution. Consequently, new epistemologies are needed that revisit knowledge and technology (as both knowledge about technology and knowledge offered by technology) and the thus given context of an ethics for the future of technology.

Thus framed, the project will delve into the intersection of knowledge, technology, ethics and future. In doing so, the technology’s impact on generating FutureS is discussed in a diachronic, transdisciplinary and transcultural perspective with a keen focus on the travelling of ethics and knowledge as framed intersectionally in and beyond gender_ability_age_race_class. The research agenda is framed by feminist technoscience studies (as indebted to Donna Haraway, Karen Barad and Cecilia Åsberg) that transgress dystopic fears of technology, rather envisioning future technologies as a means to share futures in equality, liberating the ‘othered’ body and pursuing post-humanist futures.

Feminist and postcolonial technoscience generate visions and narratives that envision future technologies as a pool of new possibilities and power constellations that happen to share FutureS more equally and based on newly negotiated paradigms. Part and parcel of this vision is the insistence on a linguistic turn that dares to atomise given categories and binarisms, yet managing to address the opaque and rhizomic intraaction of spacetimematter (Karen Barad).  “Less divided, more differentiated”, as Cecilia Åsberg puts it.