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Constance Penley
Andrew Ross
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 1991
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 352
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The contributors provide a realistic assessment of the politics-the dangers and possibilities-currently at stake in cultural practices touched by advanced technology, while suggesting new and timely possibilities for those concerned with the pressing need for technoliteracy. Contributors: Houston A. Baker, Jr., Sandra Buckley, Peter Fitting, Reebee Garofalo, DeeDee Halleck, Donna Haraway, Valerie Hartouni, Jim Pomeroy, Constance Penley, Andrew Ross, and Paula A. Treichler.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8371-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. viii-xviii)

    Among the many surprises offered by the Chinese democracy movement of spring 1989 was the spectacle of the Western press cheerleading the students’ use of new electronic media, especially fax machines, to communicate with students outside of Beijing. Most of the communications around the events, however, were one-way, com posed primarily of the students’ increasingly frantic gathering of information from Western media sources, as the suppression of the movement was stepped up. Since the hardware and the lines of communication were primarily in Western hands, very little information about the students’ actual demends, desires, and strategies wasdirectlyrelayed to...

  5. Cyborgs at Large: Interview with Donna Haraway
    (pp. 1-20)
    Constance Penley and Andrew Ross

    Andrew Ross: Many people from different audiences and disciplines came to your work through “A Manifesto for Cyborgs,” which has become a cult text since its appearance inSocialist Reviewin 1985. For those readers, who include ourselves, the recent publication ofPrimate Visionsand the forthcomingSimians, Cyborgs, and Womenprovides the opportunity to see how your work as a historian of science was always more or less directly concerned with many of the questions about nature, culture, and technology that you gave an especially inspirational spin to in the Cyborg Manifesto. So we’d like to begin with a...

  6. The Actors Are Cyborg, Nature Is Coyote,and the Geography Is Elsewhere: Postscript to “Cyborgs at Large”
    (pp. 21-26)
    Donna Haraway

    The Cyborg Manifesto was written to find political direction in the 1980s in the face of the odd techno-organic, humanoid hybrids “we” seemed to have become worldwide. If feminists and allied cultural radicals are to have any chance to set the terms for the politics of technoscience, I believe we must transform the despised metaphors of both organic and technological vision to foreground specific positioning, multiple mediation, partial perspective, and therefore a possible allegory for antiracist feminist scientific and political knowledge.

    Nature emerges from this exercise as “coyote.” This potent trickster can show us that historically specific human relations with...

  7. Containing Women: Reproductive Discourse in the 1980s
    (pp. 27-56)
    Valerie Hartouni

    “Brain-Dead Mother Has Her Baby”—so read the headline of a major West Coast newspaper in July 1986, when doctors removed an apparently healthy, thirty-two-week-old fetus from the body of Marie Odette Henderson.¹ Henderson had died fifty-three days earlier from a brain tumor; by court order, her body was kept functioning until the respiratory system of the fetus she carried had matured sufficiently to enable “independent” life. Once matured, the fetus was removed by cesarean section and delivered into the arms of Henderson’s fiance. Shortly thereafter, doctors disconnected the woman from all life support, whereupon she was pronounced dead, again....

  8. How to Have Theory in an Epidemic: The Evolution of AIDS Treatment Activism
    (pp. 57-106)
    Paula A. Treichler

    A remarkable development in the evolution of the AIDS epidemic is the crusade of AIDS activists for the testing and release of experimental drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and for participation in the design and implementation of clinical drug trials. The struggle over AIDS drug trials and treatments requires sophisticated technical information about the structure and functions of the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); about the process and economics of developing, evaluating, and releasing new drugs; about the conceptual and statistical grounds on which standards for clinical drug trials are...

  9. Hacking Away at the Counterculture
    (pp. 107-134)
    Andrew Ross

    Ever since the viral attack engineered in November of 1988 by Cornell University hacker Robert Morris on the national network system Internet, which includes the Pentagon’s ARPAnet data exchange network, the nation’s high-tech ideologues and spin doctors have been locked in debate, trying to make ethical and economic sense of the event. The virus rapidly infected an estimated six thousand computers around the country, creating a scare that crowned an open season of viral hysteria in the media, in the course of which, according to the Computer Virus Industry Association in Santa Clara, California, the number of known viruses jumped...

  10. Brownian Motion: Women, Tactics, and Technology
    (pp. 135-162)
    Constance Penley

    Near the end ofStar Trek V: The Final Frontier,Captain Kirk, thought to be dead but rescued finally by Spock and some exceptionally helpful Klingons, stands facing his first officer on the bridge of the Klingon ship. Glad to be alive, he moves toward Spock and reaches for him with both hands. Spock interrupts the embrace with “Please, Captain, not in front of the Klingons.” Kirk directs a brief glance toward the known universe's most macho aliens, then turns back to Spock to exchange a complicitous look before lowering his hands. Most members of the audience probably took this...

  11. “Penguin in Bondage”: A Graphic Tale of Japanese Comic Books
    (pp. 163-196)
    Sandra Buckley

    The last page of the August 1989 issue ofPenguin Club,a Japanese pornographic comic book (pooruno manga), carries an advertisement for a computer software package titled “Penguin in Bondage.” The title may seem more comic than pornographic to the English reader, but the description of the content of the computer program is far from funny. The player has to overcome a cast of some eighty monsters created by a mad scientist in order to survive the game. He the readership is predominantly male) also has at his disposal an array of “bunnygirls” and “angels” and a set of “items”...

  12. Hybridity, the Rap Race, and Pedagogy for the 1990s
    (pp. 197-210)
    Houston A. Baker Jr.

    Turntables in the park displace the machine in the garden. Postindustrial, hyperurban, black American sound puts asunder that which machines have joined together . . . and dances . . . to hip hop acoustics of Kool DJ Here. “Excuse me, Sir, but we're about to do a thang . . . over in the park and, like how much would you charge us to plug into your electricity?” A B-Boy, camp site is thus established. And Here goes to work . . . with two turntables and a truckload of pizzazz. He takes fetishized, commodified discs of sound and...

  13. Watch Out, Dick Tracy! Popular Video in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez
    (pp. 211-230)
    DeeDee Halleck

    Dick Tracy used advanced technology. He was the comic hero with the two-way radio wristwatch. He was also a cop, and cops can usually get the technology they need. But in 1948 I, a knobby-kneed eight-year-old girl, had a Dick Tracy watch, which made me the most technologically advanced of my family, not to mention on my block. No one in our neighborhood even had a TV set at that time. I got my two-way radio watch by sending in Kix (or was it Shredded Wheat?) box tops with a quarter and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. It was a classic...

  14. Just the Facts, Ma’am: An Autobiography
    (pp. 231-246)
    Processed World Collective

    Processed Worldmagazine was founded in 1981 by a small group of dissidents, mostly in their twenties, who were then working in San Francisco’s financial district. The magazine's creators found themselves using their only marketable skill after years of university education: “handling information.” In spite of being employed in offices as “temps,” few really thought of themselves as “office workers.” More common was the hopeful assertion that they were photographers, writers, artists, dancers, historians, or philosophers. But day after day, thousands of such aspiring creative types found themselves cramming into public transit en route to the ever-expanding Abusement Park of...

  15. Understanding Mega-Events: We Are the World, Then How Do We Change It?
    (pp. 247-270)
    Reebee Garofalo

    In one of those moments that cried out for some grand social gesture, Joan Baez opened the Live Aid concert with the words: “Good morning, you children of the eighties. This is your Woodstock and it’s long overdue.” While there was undoubtedly a historical connection between the two events, close examination reveals as many differences as similarities. Woodstock was experienced as participatory, communitarian, and noncommercial (indeed, anticommercial), with no great (spiritual) distance between artist and audience. Interestingly, these are all terms that come from the vocabulary of folk culture. But it was Woodstock that ushered in the big-business/massmusic/technoculture of the...

  16. Black Box S–Thetix: Labor, Research, and Survival in the He[Art] of the Beast
    (pp. 271-294)
    Jim Pomeroy

    Given the opportunity to work with new, evolving media in the “big science”¹ orientation of our fin de siècle decades, artists have rushed and hustled to take advantage of the increasingly rich technological stockpile of tools and palettes. Honors often go to those who are among “the first on the block” to pioneer aesthetic experiments with “state of the art” technology. The story of Nam June Paik’s achievement as the first artist to get his hands on a Sony PortaPak VTR is just one apocryphal milestone in the chronicle of first ascents. Many a subsequent career has been underwritten by...

  17. The Lessons of Cyberpunk
    (pp. 295-316)
    Peter Fitting

    “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” This is the opening sentence of William Gibson’s 1984 novelNeuromancer, which launched what soon came to be called “cyberpunk.” Gibson’s success triggered debates and panel discussions, and a host of imitators. While some within the SF community claimed that cyberpunk was the most important development since at least the New Wave of the 1960s, other writers and fans scornfully dismissed it as a marketing device. This furor then spread outside the field, prompting articles in newspapers and magazines as diverse asRolling Stone(December...

  18. Contributors
    (pp. 317-320)
  19. Index
    (pp. 321-327)