This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
The number of participants is limited to 24.
Please note that passing a Thematic Seminar (10 EC) in the second year, second semester, is an entry requirement for starting your thesis in academic year 2023-2024. You need to have passed a minimum of 100 EC of year 1 and 2 of the International Studies programme as well in order to start your thesis.
In this thematic seminar on posthumanism in science fiction, we will work on “map[ping] out some of the ways in which the posthuman is circulating as a dominant term in our globally linked and technologically mediated societies” (Rosi Braidotti, 2013). We aim to use posthumanism as a “generative tool” (Braidotti, 2013) for rethinking what it means to be human by looking at the ways science fiction narratives succeed in decentralising the concept of the human, often challenging the implicit and often invisible norm of white, western masculinity. This course will encourage you to try to think beyond the centrality of the human (and consider whether this is even possible as a human being). We begin by looking into humanity’s origin stories. Next, we turn to some of the challenges to the figure of the human, including robots, androids and cyborgs. We will problematise the lack of an intersectional viewpoint in the way humans or human-like figures are often represented. To decentralise the figure of the human, we will look at works in which non-human actors play a central role.
The Thematic Seminars for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the multidisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.
Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral and written presentation skills:
1. To explain clear and substantiated research results.
2. To provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course:
in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
using up-to-date presentation techniques;
using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
aimed at a specific audience.
3. To actively participate in a discussion
1. To provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position.
2. To adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.
Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. To collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques.
2. To analyse and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability.
3. To formulate on this basis a sound research question.
4. To design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved.
5. To formulate a substantiated conclusion.
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the Midterm Exam week. This includes supervised research.
Assessment and Weighing
|Attendance and assignments||20%|
|Final Research Essay - 5,000 words (between 4,500 and 5,500)||50%|
To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.
Students who score an overall insufficient grade for the course, are allowed resubmit a reworked version of the Final Essay. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the Final Research Essay and subsequent feedback.
In case of resubmission of the Final Research Essay the final grade for the Essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.
Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, but still within 5 working days of that deadline, will receive a grade and feedback on their essay. This will be considered a first submission of the final essay, however, the grade will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.
Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, and also fail to hand in their essay within 5 working days of that deadline, get 10 working days, counting from the original deadline, to hand in the first version of their final essay. However, this first version counts as a resubmitted essay with consequential lowering of the grade, and there will be no option of handing in a reworked version based on feedback from the lecturer.
Retaking a passing grade
Retaking a passing grade is not possible for this course.
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2022 – 2023.
Exam review and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.
Octavia Butler, Dawn – Xenogenesis / Lilith’s Brood, part 1 (1987)
Mamoru Oshii, dir., Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Andrew Stanton, dir., Wall·E (2008)
Lavie Tidhar, Central Station (2016)
Emma Ríos, I.D. (2016)
Further material will be made available via Brightspace and includes:
Short stories by various authors
Other art forms, including visual art and music
Critical theory on posthumanism and related concepts
Additionally, the students will work through:
W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;
W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 16 December 2022:
- On 16 December 2022 you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
- Indicate there which are your 5 preferred Thematic Seminars, in order of preference.
- Based on preferences indicated by 2 January 2023 the course Coordinator will assign you to one specific Thematic Seminar by 23 January 2023.
- Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.
Students cannot register in uSis for the Thematic Seminar courses, or be allowed into a Thematic Seminar course in any other way.
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies
The deadline for submission of the Final Essay is Friday 9 June 2023.