Course Details

Course offered Autumn 2021

HONORS 397 B: Human/Transhuman/Posthuman (SSc, W)

HONORS 397 B: Human/Transhuman/Posthuman (SSc, W)

SLN 23103 (View UW registration info »)

John (Jack) Whelan (Foster School of Business)

Credits: 2, c/nc
Limit: 15 students

Credit Type

NOTE: this is a 2 credit course so will only count towards UW general education requirements, not Honors core curriculum.

This course is as a continuation of Honors 394: “The Disenchantment of the West: From Shakespeare to the Coen Brothers” but can be taken without Honors 394 as a prerequisite. If the “Disenchantment” course seeks to provide the broad sweep of thinking and creative imagination that has shaped the social imaginary of the West over the last several centuries, the “Human” course seeks to drill down into the thought and imagination of the post-World War II era to the present. The themes developed in this course build on themes developed in “Disenchantment” but are concerned to explore in greater detail changing ideas about human identity as well as changing ideas about humanity as a species. The themes for each week are listed below. The course will give students the opportunity to engage with the work of a wide variety of thinkers and artists so that they might become acquainted with the dynamic cultural landscape that is profoundly changing our ideas of the human. The instructor will provide background information and resources to acquaint students with the different perspectives they will encounter, but the main goal of the course will be to provide an opportunity for lively discussion around a topic that is of central concern for all thoughtful human beings: What do you think it means to be human? This is a profoundly important question for students engaged in business, engineering, computer science, and the natural sciences to consider since the work they will be doing in their disciplines will have enormous consequences in shaping the answer to this question.

The class will meet twice a week for 90-minute sessions. This is a credit/no credit class that will require modest level of reading and a final “reflection” paper to provide students with the opportunity to integrate themes developed in the class with concerns relevant to them.