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Posthumanism in Science Fiction: 2015 John Fekete Lecture

November 17, 2015

Dr. Colin Milburn gives third annual John Fekete distinguished lecture

Fekete Lecture

A fine line distinguishes the boundaries of science fiction and scientific practice, according to University of California (Davis) Dr. Colin Milburn, who has made it much of his life’s work to examine the complicated interactions and influences between the imaginative speculations of science fiction and the cutting edges of scientific experimentation and research.  On November 5, Professor Milburn shared some of his discoveries with the Peterborough community in a lively and well-attended event in Bagnani Hall at Traill College.

Prof. Milburn’s talk, Science Fiction and the Project of Posthumanist Science, explored a particular case study of physicist Gerald Feinberg, whose theorization 40 years ago of tachyons, a hypothetical (and never verified) faster than light particle, both relied on and further encouraged the invention of faster-than-light technologies in science fiction. He also discussed Feinberg’s more recent “Prometheus Project,” a project of planning for “pre-adaptation” to the high-tech, even “posthumanist” future.

Prof. Milburn argued that “something like post humanism began to emerge and characterize certain modes of techno-scientific and philosophical thoughts over the last half century… This area of study is significantly, if not entirely, indebted to the genre of science fiction.”

“We were very pleased that Colin Milburn’s interdisciplinary work attracted such a large and energetic crowd of people from across the university to the lecture, and that so many stayed for the question period and the reception afterwards,” said Dr. Victoria de Zwaan, Cultural Studies professor at Trent and one of the organizers of the event. “Everyone who wanted it had a chance to engage with Professor Milburn personally, not just on the materials covered in the lecture, but also on the subject of his first book on nanotechnology. The next morning, Cultural Studies faculty and graduate students attended an extremely stimulating seminar with Professor Milburn on the related topics of nanotechnology, video-gaming, and science fiction.”

To learn more about the John Fekete lecture series, visit https://www.trentu.ca/culturalstudiesphd/fekete.php