Race in a Post-Human World talks resume with look at pop music, mobile technologies

Continuing a Bates series exploring the impacts of technology on concepts of race, Alexander Weheliye, an authority on African American culture at Northwestern University, offers the lecture Ring Ring Ring: Popular Music and Mobile Technologies at 7:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14, in Pettengill Hall’s Keck Classroom (G52), 4 Andrews Road (Alumni Walk).

Weheliye’s talk is the second public presentation in the series Race in a Post-Human World, which explores the collapse of social categories caused by advances in technology. Sponsored by the Bates College Lectures Committee, the series will include one more lecture and a dance performance, all open to the public at no cost. For more information, please contact dbegin@bates.edu.

Weheliye is associate professor of English African American studies at Northwestern. He teaches courses in African American and African diaspora literature and culture, critical theory and popular culture. He is the author of the book “Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity” (Duke University Press, 2005).

The term “post-humanism” expresses what many believe is our current condition as human beings. Thanks to technological advances — such as medical interventions like smart prosthetics and implanted defibrillators, and human-emulating capabilities such as artificial intelligence — the old boundaries between animal and machine are increasingly blurred.

Similarly, post-humanism challenges long-held notions of other categorizations of humanity such as gender, race and species — making post-humanism a concept that is highly controversial, but extremely idea-rich across a wide range of academic disciplines.

Next in the series is a lecture by Alondra Nelson, associate professor of sociology at Columbia University, titled Roots Revelations: Genetic Ancestry Tracing and the YouTube Generation at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, March 3, again in the Keck Classroom.

Nelson specializes in race and ethnicity in the U.S.; gender and kinship; sociohistorical studies of medicine, science and technology; and social and cultural theory.

Race in a Post-Human World concludes with a performance by acting director and assistant professor of dance at Bates, Rachel Boggia. Her performance, “In the Very Eye of the Night,” takes place in May (date TBA) and is conceived and directed by Marlon Barrios Solano, a Venezuelan dance and new media artist, teacher and researcher.

Boggia, who has been on faculty at Wesleyan University, Dickinson College and Ohio State University, specializes in multidisciplinary collaboration with scientists, dance documentaries and multimedia performance.

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