What is Technology (IDSEM-UG 9353)

It would be a misnomer to assume that technology is something we “use.” Rather, the human appears as embedded in a matrix of the socio-techno-material. In this sense, there is something quite non-technical about technology which has an intrinsically social nature and can take the form of bodily and socializing techniques, the canalization of creative powers, becomings of all sorts, and of course the mechanical and material manipulation of ourselves and our life-worlds. We must thus speak of a biological and technical habitus of dependency and over-coming, one constituted by everything from creating art, to language, to ideological persuasion, to human enhancement and post-humanism, and various forms of convergence. What is the relationship between these various techniques and technologies and their respective effects (ethical, cultural, aesthetic) on the category of the human? Social transformation and technology cannot be theorized in isolation. The technological, mediological, and digital have to be unearthed as constitutive of our shared “material culture” and milieu. Within such a milieu, which is both internal and external to actors and agents implicated within it, the “essence” of the human is not only potentially redefined, but indeed dissolved. In such a potential redefinition and dissolution, one finds a radically new ethical and political threshold that has yet to be adequately theorized. This course attempts to reveal this threshold through developing a critical heuristic which maps the topoi of the socio-eco-techno system. Drawing on mediology, ethics, and the French school of the anthropology of techniques, we explore such topoi in terms as both “deep” historical sediment and also futurology with a view to illuminating how our values are negotiated and transformed in our rapport with the technological.

Interdisciplinary Seminars (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 14 Weeks

Sections (Spring 2024)

IDSEM-UG 9353-000 (3672)
at NYU Paris (Global)
Instructed by