N. Katherine Hayles is the John Charles Hillis Professor of Literature and Distinguished Professor in the Departments of English and Design/Media Arts at University of California, Los Angeles. She writes and teaches on the relations of literature, science, and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her book How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics won the Ren' Wellek Prize for the best book in literary theory for 1998-99, and her book Writing Machines won the Suzanne Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship. Her latest book is My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts, and her forthcoming book, out in February 2008 from the University of Notre Dame Press, is Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary. She is currently at work on a book exploring the complex ecologies of narrative and data.
Hayles presents RFID: Human Agency and Meaning in Information-Intensive Environments
From the beginning, RFID technology has been entangled with politics. Now that RFID tags are so small and cheap they can be spread pervasively in the environment, surveillance is an urgent concern. Also at issue, however, are the effects of RFID in creating an animate environment with agential and communicative powers. This talk will explore the epistemological and ontological issues raised by RFID in the context of two fictional scenarios of an RFID-embedded worlds, David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and Philip K. Dick's Ubik.
The conference was hosted by University College London’s Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies on September 15 and 16. The event stages an important debate in a field of growing importance in the humanities, where animal studies, post-humanism, and eco-criticism have arisen in recent years. A strikingly varied program of papers and debates chaired by high-profile contributors to this emerging field of study were presented. Dr. Rauch participated as a panel speaker to address theoretical and methodological issues alongside philosophy, history and art practice.