On Being a Cyborg

My primary computer was infected with a trojan several days ago, so I spent a large chunk of time this weekend working to eradicate it. Aside from feeling annoyed about the process in general–anger at whoever created the malware, trepidation about the damage it caused, frustration at the disruption of my plans in order to deal with the problem–I also found myself, my self feeling unsettled, as though it were actually my body that was infected.

I recognized this dis-ease as a symptom of the state of contemporary life which Donna Haraway describes in her “Cyborg Manifesto,” that is, having one’s selfhood extend outside of one’s physical body into the objects that seem essential to one’s existence (thus creating a cyborg–a being that is part-human, part human-made material), a state that is much more pronounced now than it was when Haraway was writing two decades ago. I have been well-aware for quite some time that my cyborg self extends at least as far as computers (especially as gateways to the internet), my cell phone, and my book collection, but every time I have a fresh reminder it scares me a little bit just how dependent I am on material objects.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: