Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Literature
Art, Art History & Visual Studies
104 Friedl Building
Phone: (919) 668-4896
American Mass & Popular Culture
Film Theory & History
Cultural Theory and Media Studies, Philosophy of New Media, Phenomenology and Cognitive Science
Over the past decade I have sought in my research, writing and teaching to theorize the role played by technology in human agency and social life. In work that ranges across a host of disciplines, including literary studies, film and media, philosophy (particularly phenomenology), science studies, and cognitive neuroscience, I have explored the meaning of the relentless technological exteriorization that characterizes the human as a form of life and have paid particular attention to the key role played by visual art and literature in brokering cultural adaptation to technology from the industrial revolution to the digital revolution. My recent work has focused on the experiential significance of the revolution in computation that has transformed the architecture of knowledge in academe and in culture more broadly. As I understand it, the computational revolution is altering the infrastructure of our lifeworld profoundly and thereby changing what it means to be human and also what is involved in practicing the humanities today. I believe that the humanities must embrace technology and that humanists must enter full-scale into the informatics revolution by, for example, contesting the meaning and value of information and rethinking what it means to be human in a realtime, digitally-networked, global world in which we often cognize in concert with intelligent machines. My first book, Embodying Technesis: Technology Beyond Writing, set the agenda for my research by asking what is left out when literary and cultural theorists turn their attention to technology. My answer, to put it schematically, is experience: by variously taking technology as a formalizable object - as, say, a figure for the operation of language, for the structure of the text, or for the vicissitudes of the psyche - theorists simply overlook the non-representational, experiential, and massively diffuse impact of technologies on social and cultural life. My effort to grapple with this diffuse impact has led me to focus on media technologies and, in particular, on the contemporary digital media revolution. I have done this in two books, New Philosophy for New Media and Bodies in Code, both devoted methodologically to a practice of experiencing the theoretical and technical significance of the digital revolution through the work of practicing new media artists, architects, and literary authors. In both of these studies, and in my work generally, I proceed from actual engagements with cultural artifacts and processes to theorization that draws together 20th century phenomenology, recent cognitive (neuro)science, and (neo-) cybernetic discourses. My current work expands the scope of my research by focusing directly on the coupling of the human and the technical that has characterized the human since its inception. In a study of time and media, I seek to update German philosopher Edmund Husserl's model of time-consciousness in order to address the massive technical inscription of time in our world today. If our experience of selfhood is a function of self-affection by time (as Husserl argues), how is this experience impacted when time becomes mediated by computational processes that occur at scales far beneath what our senses can experience? I explore this critical nexus of self-affection and technical time across various registers, ranging from the intensive times of textual processing in 20th-21st century experimental writing and digital poetics to the evolutionary dynamics of human technogenesis. Having recently spent a year in Beijing, China, I have also become interested in expanding my work to address the very different experience and tradition of time in the East, especially as it impacts practices involving media, art, and the internet, in the context of contemporary globalization.
Feed-Forward: Recording (for) the Emergent Future
Areas of Interest
media studies cultural theory science studies phenomenology contemporary literature philosophy critical theory
University of California, Irvine,
University of Konstanz, Germany,
BA in Comparative Literature and French,
Coursework toward B.A. in French and Comparative Literature,
University of Paris (VIII and X),
Awards, Honors and Distinctions
Senior Scholar, Visiting Lecturer,
Fulbright Commission, Senior Specialist Program,
June 28-July 13, 2012
Arts Council Funding,
Duke University-Arts Council,
FHI Faculty Fellowship,
Duke University, FHI,
September, 2009-May 2010
Fulbright Research Grant for non-China Specialists,
Sophomore Initiative Grant,
Best Published Article by an Untenured Scholar,
Society for Literature and Science,
Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies,
Karl J. Root Preceptorship,
Faculty Research Grant,
Humanities Center Fellowship,
Oregon State University,
Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities,
250th Anniversary Grant for Innovation in Education,
Faculty Research Grant,
NEH Summer Seminar,
NEH Summer Institute,
DAAD Short Term Research Grant,
NEH Summer Seminar,
Dissertation Research Fellowship,
Fulbright Full Scholarship,
Mark B. N. Hansen.
"Technical Repetition and Digital Art, or Why the ‘Digital’ in Digital Cinema is not the ‘Digital’ in Digital Technics."
Technology and Desire: the Transgressive Art of Moving Images.
Ed. Rania Gaafar and Martin Schulz.
(Corrected proof submitted summer 2012, book to appear February 2013)
"Symbolizing Time: Kittler and 21st Century Media."
Kittler Mediated: New Essays on Culture and Technology.
Ed. S. Sale and L. Salisbury.
Stanford University Press,
(Corrected proof submitted fall 2012.)
Final version of article submitted. Publication expected in early 2012.