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Mutants and Cyborgs: Disability and Pop Culture | Lydia Fecteau | TEDxStocktonUniversity

Publication/Creation Date
September 20 2016
Lydia Fecteau (creator)
Stella Young (contributor)
Judith Butler (contributor)
Craig Klugman (contributor)
Leslie Fiedler (contributor)
Stockton University (contributor)
Media Type
Video Lecture
Persuasive Intent
[Video Description: Lydia Fecteau is a professor of literature at Stockton University, who specializes in the fields of Disability Studies and Pop Culture. In this talk, she discusses the role that pop culture and science fiction, particularly X-Men and other super heroes and 'mutants', shape how we perceive disability, abjection, and "otherness". Using the theories of Leslie Fiedler and Judith Butler, Fecteau explores the transcendence and transformation of humans through technology, and "what qualifies as bodies that matter". 

She examines two types of "mutants" in science fiction: the mutant that is physically different (such as X-Men's The Beast), and the cyborg that uses machiney for physical augmentation (such as DC Comics' Cyborg).

Facteau says, "Mutants are basically the unabashed or the unashamed disabled. They demand that society accept them as they are, for who they are, while cyborgs are slightly different. They are the disabled person who demands that society conform, usually in the form of assistive technology, to their bodily differences". 

She then explores the cyborg further by using literary critic Craig Klugman's research. In his essay, "From Cyborg Fiction to Medical Reality", he traces two types of cyborgs in science fiction: the replacement body (usually the 'fixing' of a disabling condition) and the enhanced body. 

She believes that as we "become more accepting of this 'otherness', of adaptability, we start to see the characters change in pop culture" (and vice versa)].
HCI Platform
Relation to Body
Related Body Part
Entire Body