Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, January 17, 2005


Sorry to have so backburnered the blogging the last few days, but I’ve been preoccupied with preparations for the course I begin teaching tomorrow, as well as trying to meet some writing deadlines now that the end of the dissertation is starting to acquire a tantalizing proximity at last.

When the nice folks at the San Francisco Art Institute hired me to teach my “Critical Theory, Network Politics, and ‘New’ Media” course they asked for quite a lot of material for my file, among which a brief statement of my teaching philosophy. This is something I have long known I would have to put together when I finally went out on the job market in earnest, but not something I had taken any kind of a crack at yet.

It was a clarifying little statement to craft, and especially useful for me as it gave me an occasion to try to define in a nicely pithy way just how I conceive of my disciplinary location in the academy. That’s always been a bit of a trying and worrying thing to contemplate, since there seem to me at once few to no Departments at all devoted precisely to the sort of work that has come to preoccupy my own attention, but a profusion of rather incompatible sorts of Departments where bits and pieces of that work seem to be taking place. Of course, to some extent this is the inevitable curse and blessing of any kind of interdisciplinarity, and it remains to be seen if this will finally imply an impoverishment or a profusion of possible destinations for me once my degree is in hand and I’m making my way door to door.

Anyway, here is my current description of my disciplinary location, and how the elements of which it consists fit together:

The focus of my work, both of my writing and my teaching, has been the ongoing provocation of technological development on personal and public life. I teach technocritical theory, both in its technocultural and technoethical aspects. The technocultural dimension of technocriticism documents and interprets prosthetic practices and technocultures as they emerge and transform under pressure of ongoing technological developments and their resignifications. The technoethical dimension of technocriticism undertakes the public deliberative engagement of multiple contending stakeholders to the problems of technological development, and subsumes media criticism, bioethics, neuroethics, roboethics, existential risk assessment and some elements of environmental criticism and design theory.

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