Julia Spahn studied English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Würzburg and at the University of Warwick, UK. Her main research interests are posthumanism & science fiction, Victorian poetry, and gender studies. She is currently a PhD student at the Graduate School of the Humanities in Würzburg and is working on a dissertation about “Post/Human Animals and Cyborg Subjectivities in Utopian New Zealand Literature”.

NEUSTE ARTIKEL von Julia Spahn

Posthuman = Postgender? (De)stabilising Binary Oppositions in ‚Mass Effect‘

The Science fiction series Mass Effect take part in an ongoing discussion of the ‘posthuman’ – they negotiate, and, at times, question or even transgress our notions of what it means to be human. The series is influenced by the concepts of “popular culture posthuman” and “theoretical posthumanism” The first is based on a Cartesian separation between mind and body and likes to imagine techno-science as a chance to overcome humanity’s physical weakness and perfect the body. In contrast, the latter rejects these remnants of Humanism and casts ‘the human’ as an unstable and ever-changing concept; theoretical post¬humanism enjoys radical experimentation and seeks to overcome the oppressive binary oppositions that have empowered the ideal humanist subject since the Enlightenment. This paper will show, that the Mass Effect games are influenced by both trajectories; the results can be fruitfully traced in the way gender issues are depicted.