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Excelsior as Mass Ornament: The Reproduction of Gesture

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNineteenth-Century Opera and the Scientific Imagination
EditorsDavid Trippett, Benjamin Walton
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781316275863
ISBN (Print)9781107111257, 9781107529021
E-pub ahead of print22 Aug 2019
PublishedAug 2019

King's Authors


In her 1984 ‘Cyborg Manifesto’, Donna Haraway declared: ‘the relation between organism and machine has been a border war’ in Western science and politics – which for her primarily amounted to a racist, male-dominated capitalism, as embodied by the notion of technological progress. Her manifesto identified that ‘The stakes in the border war have been the territories of production, reproduction and imagination’, each of these zones representing its own contentious interface between organism and machine within American post-industrial society: the encroachment of robots in industrial production; the use of test tubes for reproducing the body; the ascendancy of sci-fi imagination in literature and film. And in each case the battles weren’t being won by humans. Haraway was instead confident of a machine victory, pushing her towards a notorious conclusion: we are cyborgs.

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