Of Masters, Men, Machines and (M)others: Revisiting the Virgin and the Dynamo in a Post/Trans-Human Context

Open access


The Education of Henry Adams owes its cultural cachet, in part, to Adams’ elaboration of a dichotomy that has pitted religion against science and technology. Though Western ideologies of modernity have viewed religion in rather negative terms, the current revival of religiosity in the postist context (post-modern, post-communist, post-colonial, post-human) invites a reconsideration of the role of religious belief, practice and objects/symbols in the current society. This article discusses Henry Adams’s dichotomy of the Virgin and the Dynamo, and recontextualizes it from a post-human perspective. It argues that the return of religiosity or spirituality, in its multiple forms, is an ethical stance that signals a cultural need for the feminine values of care, solidarity, affection and affiliation.

Agamben, G. Homo Sacer. Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford University Press, 1998.

Adams, Henry The Education of Henry Adams. An Autobiography. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1918.

Adams, H. Prayer to the Virgin at Chartres, available online at http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/prayer-to-the-virginof- chartres/, accessed on 04 June 2014.

Cox, H. “The Virgin and the Dynamo Revisited: An Essay on the Symbolism of Technology” in Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 54, No. 2, 1971, 125-146

Evdokimov, P. Femeia si mantuirea lumii, 2004. Bucuresti: Christiana. “Henry Adams, scientific historian: 'even into chaos '” in European Journal of American Culture, 2003, vol. 22, issue 2, 103-124.

Haraway, D. “A Cyborg Manifesto. Science, technology and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century” in Bell, David, Kennedy, Barbara M. (eds) The Cybercultures Reader London, New York: Routledge, 2000, 291-324

Lejeune, Ph., “The Autobiographical Pact” in Eakin, Paul John (Ed.) On Autobiography. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989, 3-30.

Lesser, W. “Criticism, Literary History and the Paradigm: The Education of Henry Adams” in PMLA vol. 97 no. 3, May 1982, 378-394.

Levenson, J.C. The Mind and Art of Henry Adams, Stanford University Press, Stanford California, 2nd edition, 1968.

Levinas, E. Alterity and Transcendence. London: The Athlone Press, 1999.

Perricone, Ch. “The Powers of Art: Reflections on ‘The Dynamo and the Virgin’” in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. Vol. 5, no. 4, Penn State University Press, 1991, 256-275.

Pinsker, S. “Henry Adams at Ground Zero” in The Virginia Quarterly Review. A National Journal of Literature and Discussion, Spring 2002, vol. 78 no. 2, 189-198

Smith, C. “Bodies electric: gender, technology, and the limits of the human, circa 1900” in Mosaic (Winnipeg). 41.2 (June 2008), 111+ . Literature Resource Center, University of Manitoba, available online at http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA235281136&v=2.1&u=dkb&it=r&p=LitRC&sw=w&asid=0883573d0381453f6d560b4806ad0e27, accessed 12 June 2015

Spretnak, C. Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-Emergence in the Modern Church. Gordonsville: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Vetter-Becker, P. “Sacagawea and Son: The Visual Construction of America’s Maternal Feminine” in American Studies. Vol. 50, No 1 / 2, Spring/Summer 2009, 27-50.

White, L. JR “Dynamo and Virgin Reconsidered” in The American Scholar, Vol. 27, no. 2 (Spring, 1958), 183-194.

Winn, P. “Thai parents cryonically freeze toddler in hopes she may live again” in USA Today. Global Post, 05 June 2015, available online at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/06/05/globalpost-thaiparents- freeze-toddler/28533905/, accessed on 14 June 2015.

*** International Manifestor of the “20145” Strategic Social Initiative, available online at http://2045.com/about/, accessed on 13 June 2015.

Websites: stelarc.org

Human and Social Studies

The Journal of "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University from Iasi

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 121 121 9
PDF Downloads 44 44 2