Constructing the Cyborg-Soldier: Posthuman Military Enhancements in Veterans’ Autobiographical Fiction from WWI to the Present
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Current military efforts aim to erase 'flawed' human input by creating weaponry that exceeds what we consider to be human abilities (and limitations). The possible ways of doing so have become the subject of cultural representations such as films, television shows and literature, as well as academic research across disciplines. Central to all these approaches is posthumanism, which revolves around the question of what is human and why. This project addresses the significance of this engineered evolution of the human through the prism of war, with a focus on soldiers' autobiographical fiction as it gives an important "insider" perspective on the interaction between man, machine, and its consequences. My interest lies in the tension that exists between mechanized warfare, its larger cultural imaginary, and the individual experience. In order to understand the dynamics of this interface (and the concerns it brings), it is important to look at military and historical documents, media coverage, and life writing by individual soldiers. By analyzing texts from various modern wars, this work investigates the question: what kind of man is made through war and by what means?