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Abstract

In her oft-cited “A Cyborg Manifesto,” Donna Haraway conceptualizes the cyborg as a feminist possibility, emphasizing the need for a self-created, self-engendered female (150). In How We Became Posthuman (1999), N. Katherine Hayles examines the development of cybernetic theory from the 1940s to the present, linking its history to portrayals of cyborgs and artificial intelligence in science fiction. I argue that the combination of change and tradition embodied by Brazilian cyborgs must be understood within the history and paradigms of Latin American culture and its ambivalent attitudes towards modernity. To understand Brazil’s female cyborgs, I apply Bolívar Echeverría’s concept of the Latin American “baroque ethos,” which acts a form of resistance to capitalism in the works by Caio Fernando Abreu, Roberto de Sousa Causo and João Paulo Cuenca, whose female cyborgs question or refute societal expectations, while searching for acceptance in romantic partnerships or family structures. The presence of female cyborgs in Brazil during distinct moments of economic and technological change—from the period of the military dictatorship and state sponsored industrialization in the 1970s to the contemporary digital global economy in the 2000s—illustrates how cyborg body functions as feminized avatars of labor, mourning, survival and resistance.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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