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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Cyberfeminism and Embodiment: Weaving World Wide Webs

Amanda Du Preez.

In this era during which human interaction with new technologies are becoming increasingly seamless and bio-bodies are constructed as just another designer interface, it is proposed in this paper that being human also necessarily implies being embodied. The closeness and connectivity that exist between women, new technologies and embodiment are explored in this paper by tracing some of the intellectual and artistic roots of cyberfeminism.
At the core of cyberfeminism lies the problem of identity and the body and their interrelation to new technologies. Cyberfeminism deals with the question of how and why technologies inscribe gender onto bodies and how these gendered identities are re-configured in a posthuman age. The theories of Sadie Plant, Katherine Hayles, Donna Haraway, and the art created by VNS Matrix and Linda Dement, all contest the underlying urge in most current cyber-theories to discard embodiment as a mere fashion accessory or burdensome imprisonment.


Amanda Du Preez  (South Africa)
Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts
Visual Communication and Art History Division, Department of Visual Arts, School of Arts, Faculty of Humanities
University of Pretoria

Amanda du Preez obtained a BA degree at the University of Pretoria in 1987. In 1989 she obtained her BA Honours (Art History) from the University of Pretoria. She continued her postgraduate studies at the University of the Orange Free State and in 1996 obtained her MA (Art History) on the topic of The Figure of the Androgyne in Selected Symbolist Artists in which the construction of androgyny in the late nineteenth century was deconstructed by utilising a postmodern construction of androgyny. She has handed in her doctoral thesis at the University of South Africa’s Department of English early in January 2003, with the title of Gendered Bodies and New Technologies. Over the past ten years Ms du Preez has lectured at the University of Pretoria, University of South Africa, the Pretoria Technikon and the Open Window Art Academy. The subjects taught ranged from Art History, Visual Communication, Gender theory, Open and Distance Learning to English.
Ms du Preez’s has published several articles in accredited journals and is the editor of Siren, The Journal of the Institute for Gender Studies at University of South Africa, and co-editor of Fragmente. Tydskrif vir Filosofie en Kultuurkritiek (Journal for Philosophy and Cultural Critique). Ms du Preez’s field of expertise is cyber-theory, which broadly includes cyborgism, virtual reality, virtual communities, bio-politics, gender, new technologies, film and visual culture on the Internet.

  • Cyberfeminism
  • Gender and New Technologies
  • Posthumanism
  • Embodiment
Person as Subject
  • Plant, Sadie Hayles, Katherine Haraway, Donna VNS Matrix Dement, Linda

(Virtual Presentation, English)