A Geneology of Cyborgothic

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Yi, Dongshin . A Genealogy of Cyborgothic: Aesthetics and Ethics in the Age of Posthumanism. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2010.

Reviewed by Jacabo Canady, "Cyborg Ethics," Extrapolation 52.3 (Fall 2011): 380-83.

Canady concludes, "Readers may be lost at times. Overall, however, I recommend A Genealogy of Cyborgothic as an introductory text to the question of cyborg and ethics." Canady has earlier clarified that "Yi does not use the cyborg as a metaphor to illustrate the struggle of the oppressed by society, and he is not using the term in a lax way, such as referring to people with prosthetic limbs. On the contrary, the cyborg" in this book "is the next stage in the evolution of humanity into posthumanity; as such, a real danger of potential conflicts lies ahead of us, and in Yi's eyes, we should engage in a series of changes to prevent them" (p. 382). The fifth and final chapter of a slim book deals with Marge Piercy's 1991 novel, He, She and It. Canady asserts the ethical/political issue that "The 'human' has always been defined in opposition to some nonhuman Other" and "women and sexual or ethnic minorities have traditionally been excluded from the 'human,' as proven by their ongoing struggles to be acknowledged as equals. The cyborg will have to face such circumstances when it appears. This is, by far, the most controversial aspect of Yi's work, since he equates non-existing beings, the cyborgs, to groups that have actually suffered the consequences of segregation" (p. 382) — and Erlich notes in human history consequences in addition to and worse than segregation, though that is usually the first step.