Posthuman Studies in Rome

Recent graduate Chrysoula Sotiriadi studied English Literature at John Cabot University with a minor in Psychology. During her time at JCU, she took Professor Stefan Sorgner’s course “Posthuman Studies: Philosophy, Technology, and Media.”

Read what Chrysoula has to say about why she chose to study at JCU, her take on Posthuman Studies, and how learning at JCU goes beyond the classroom.

Growing Up International and Choosing JCU

I come from a Greek family, but I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. I always knew that I wanted to leave South Africa some day when the time came to expand myself academically and engage with like-minded individuals.

Growing up, my parents shared their love for art, language, culture, and literature with me, so when I was looking for a university, I wanted an environment that could cultivate those interests of mine and offer dynamic and diverse surroundings. John Cabot University was the perfect choice where I could go and experience an amazing cultural climate while collaborating with and growing alongside other motivated students like myself from across the globe.

Discovering Posthuman Studies

I had heard the terms ‘Posthumanism’ and ‘Transhumanism’ connected to famous proponents such as Elon Musk and Rosi Braidotti, but I had never understood what the terms meant and how directly they affected our lives.

Professor Stefan Lorenz Sorgner is one of the world’s leading voices within these discourses, so I thought it would be an unbelievably enlightening and one-of-a-kind opportunity to take his course on Posthuman Studies at JCU.

I’d studied dystopian futures in literature, which continuously addressed the implications of technology on human behavior, gender dynamics, and political climates. However, it’s quite exciting to realize how close our scientific and technological advancements come to the fictional stories we’ve read.

The class covered all kinds of popular topics, ranging from mind-uploading and the singularity argument, to green fluorescent rabbits in bioart and artificial wombs offering possibilities to transcend gender binaries, to the ethics of genetically modified meats and pigs created without brains. The classroom dynamic was discussion-based, and Professor Sorgner encouraged us to evaluate all perspectives and questions, and then to re-question important aspects before finally taking a bold stance.

For me, this was one of the most inspiring classes offered at JCU, and I believe every student in the liberal arts system should take the course. It pushes students to confront many of the most pressing issues of our times. Even though it is rooted in philosophy, topics from a great variety of academic disciplines and aspects of our lifeworld are being tackled.

Beyond the Classroom

The professors at JCU foster environments in which we can all come together to discuss and collaborate on significant issues in an intimate class setting. This makes the University quite special. However, I think that a course such as Professor Sorgner’s “Posthuman Studies: Philosophy, Technology, and Media” is a testament to how cutting-edge and ground-breaking the types of conversations that JCU fosters are.

My graduating friends and I attended the 4th JCU Posthuman Studies Workshop this year, dedicated to the theme “Sex in Posthuman Times,” in which we discussed topics such as the ethics of human-robot relationships, deepfake media, and many more. Where else could we have come across such a unique opportunity, if not here?

JCU offers experiences that allow you to extend yourself out of your comfort zone and to explore topics you could never have imagined.

Chrysoula Sotiriadi
English Literature major, Psychology minor
Class of 2020
Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa

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