My interest in cyberfeminism is nothing new (see entries from English 467), and I was excited to combine it with some of my other work when I found the title Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life on a library shelf. (There is something to be said for browsing shelves, even in the age of the Internet!) But, the book wasn’t what I thought it was based on the cover. The contents include sections on biology, artificial life, “CyberLife’s Creatures,” network identities, genomics, and feminism.
The first passage that caught my interest was in the biology section, and it discussed eugenics and its source(s). Having learning in English 467 that many Nazi policies were actually based on policies from the U.S., it wasn’t as much of a shock to learn where many of the theories attributed to Darwin really came from and how they have evolved. This section also reminded me of Robert Ehrlich’s Eight Preposterous Propositions, one chapter of which deals with dysgenics (Are We Getting Smarter or Dumber?). Ehrlich seems to conclude that we are getting smarter, at the same time that Kember notes the seeming imbalance of pitting thousands of years of evolution against a couple decades of feminism (35). For me, this raises the question of why evolution and feminism need to be seen as oppositional or even separate.
In truth, this book raises far more questions for me than answers, and the ones that I find most intriguing have to do with the dichotomies Kember sets up. I’ll end by sharing a few of those, perhaps with a hope that someone can shed some light on why they are necessarily pairs, oppositional, or even related.
Ehrlich, Robert. Eight Preposterous Propositions. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2003. Print.
Kember, Sarah. Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life. New York: Routledge, 2003. Print.