This weekend, Assistant Professor Jeffrey Kirkwood will participate in the symposium Technologies of the Human: Modern Figures of Thought, held at Cornell University and co-organized by Paul Fleming and Carl Gelderloos:
The idea of technology has long provided a crucial set of discourses, rationales, tropes, and motifs for challenging inherited anthropologies and conceptions of subjectivity. This workshop explores a Geistesgeschichte der Technik (Blumenberg), i.e., the ways in which the vexed relationship between technology and the human serves as a central figure of thought in German cultural modernity.
The workshop will explore key moments in philosophical anthropology, media history, philosophy, literature, and the histories of science in which discourses of technology served as sophisticated analytic tools and speculative heuristic devices to address problems in epistemology, ontology, and anthropology. With this workshop we are therefore also asking what humanistic inquiry can do for our understanding of technology.
In a cultural and institutional era that touts “educational technologies” without explicating them and demands of the humanities the instrumentality often imputed to the harder sciences, we hope to start a conversation that will not only illuminate historical discourses of technology, but also offer insight into different ways of thinking about the relationship between technology and the human.