7AAYCC08 Bodies and Identities in Digital Media
Taught by Dr Btihaj Ajana
This module is designed for students with an interest in the philosophy of technology and the critical dimension of new media. It examines the role of digital media in reconfiguring our notions and understandings of identity, and in creating different modes of being. The core concepts that are brought into focus are those of embodiment, subjectivity and singularity. By exploring different sites, practices and contexts within which digital media technologies are deployed, the module offers an opportunity to critically reflect on current technological developments, raising questions as to what extent such developments are implicated in the production of subjectivities and the reconfiguration of being. This is done through an empirico-philosophical approach whereby philosophical concepts (mainly those relating to ontology and technology) are used to inform our critical analysis of digital media, while, at the same time, empirical examples are used to challenge philosophical assumptions about questions of being and identity. To this end, the module offers a third way of approaching these issues, one that goes beyond both technological determinism and social constructivism, and foregrounds the hybridity and complexity of contemporary modes of mediation.
Some prior knowledge of philosophy and/or critical theory and new media studies is required for undertaking this module.
Week 1: Critical introduction to digital media
Week 2: The question concerning technology
Week 3: The condition of virtuality
Week 4: The experience of (dis)embodiment
Week 5: Prosthetic beings
Week 6: Digital narrative and selfhood
Week 7: The question of community and digital technology
Week 8: Smart crossings and the surveillant assemblage
Week 9: Bioethics of digital media
Week 10: Module summary and methodological considerations
Lister, M. et al. (eds.) (2003) New Media: A Critical Introduction, London: Routledge.
Bolter, J.D and Grusin, R (1999) Remediation: Understanding New Media, MA: MIT Press.
Heidegger, M. (1977) The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, New York: Harper and Row.
Van Loon, J. (2008) Media Technology: Critical Perspectives, Berkshire:
Open University Press.
Ihde, D. (2002) Bodies in Technology, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Thacker, E (2004) Biomedia, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Bassett, C. (2008) The arc and the machine: narrative and the new media, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Willson, M.A. (2006) Technically Together: Rethinking Community Within Techno-Society, New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
Zylinska, J. (2009) Bioethics in the Age of New Media, MA: MIT Press.
1 essay of 4000 words maximum