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Title: Knowing Subjects and Known Objects: The Disappearance of the Individual in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction
Authors: Goldberg, Coby
Advisors: Keulemans, Paize
Department: East Asian Studies
Certificate Program: Humanities Council and Humanistic Studies Program
Class Year: 2020
Abstract: This thesis examines the relative empowerment of the individual in Chinese science fiction, exploring this topic through the frame of the role played by knowledge and technology (and technologies of knowledge). Whereas Chinese science fiction from before 2012 imagines individuals formed through processes of knowledge acquisition about the self and world, more recent science fiction sees individuals disempowered as the objects of knowledge. If the former tell the stories of protagonists who think and therefore are, the latter depicts people who are thought about and therefore never become. Technology plays a central role in all these stories as helping form knowledge, but where it can become a tool in the hands of the knowers in the earlier stories, it becomes merely a tool to deform the individual in the more recent stories. Individuals as knowers who can impact the world using technology are replaced by individuals as objects of knowledge, at the whim of technologies of social media and data analysis.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:East Asian Studies, 1951-2022

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