Signum University is happy to announce that the Keynote Speaker for the TexMoot 2021 symposium on “Embodiment” will be:
Dr. Sara Brown
Here is an abstract of her talk:
Written on the Body:
Cyborg Theory and Understanding Humanity in the 21st Century
Throughout history, we have questioned what it means to be human. The answer to that question has evolved over time and differs according to cultures and beliefs. Part of what it means to be human is undoubtedly rooted in the body; our understanding of our own corporeality, and the spark of life within that drives us and makes us who we are – that almost indefinable sense of self that somehow develops as the physical shell grows around it. Advancements in science have changed our understanding of the body, what it is and how it works. In the 21st century, we can claim a more in-depth understanding of the physical body than could possibly have been dreamed of in the earliest days of medicine, responding to a hunger for knowledge that is intrinsically human. Alongside these developments in science have come changes in belief systems, which have also determined how we view the body and how we respond to it. Sometimes these belief systems have influenced the rate and extent of scientific growth; sometimes they have dictated what may or may not be done to orfor the body, regardless of our knowledge and ability. Into this arena steps the cyborg. Human, yet not. Part organic, part inorganic – recognisable, yet not. How does the cyborg fit into our understanding of what it means to be human? What are we to make of it?And what will it make of us?
Dr. Brown is the Teaching Coordinator and Thesis Coordinator for the MA Program at Signum, as well as a Lecturer and Preceptor within the Language and Literature faculty. She also teaches on the Signum Path Program.
Sara Brown lives in North Wales, UK. She was an English teacher, teaching ungrateful teenagers, for over twenty-five years but recently gave this up to work full time for Signum University. She has been with Signum since 2012 and is the longest serving preceptor in the Language and Literature Faculty, working on courses that have included ‘Modern Fantasy’ with Corey Olsen, ‘Tolkien’s World of Middle-earth’ with Verlyn Flieger, ‘Roots of the Mountain’ with Doug Anderson, ‘Cultural Studies and Audience Reception of The Lord of the Rings’with Robin Reid and ‘Celtic Myth in Children’s Fantasy’ with Dimitra Fimi. In 2017 Sara presented her own 12-week lecture series entitled ‘Tolkien in Context: Middle-earth as a Roadmap to Twentieth-Century Anxieties’, which explored Tolkien’s writing as a response to modernity.
Besides her BA (Hons) in English and History, Sara has a Masters degree in International History from the London School of Economics, for which she wrote a thesis on The Problem of the Gold Standard in International Politics and Economics in the Nineteenth Century. She completed her Ph.D. in Literature at Salford University in 2013. Entitled From Abjection to Alchemy in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth Legendarium, the thesis explores the way in which Tolkien was responding to the anxieties of the post-war world in the mid twentieth century, drawing on (amongst others) the theories of Julia Kristeva and Donna Haraway. She believes it’s a real page-turner. Sara has given a number of lectures at various conferences on the topics of Tolkien, fantasy fiction, and fandom, and is regularly seen at Tolkien Society events in the UK. She currently serves on the editorial board of The Mallorn, the academic journal of the Tolkien Society and hopes to have her own work more widely published in the future.