I'm pleased to announce the syllabus for my spring doctoral seminar at NYU on "The Digital and the Analog." Please note that the first hour of class will be an open-access webcast, followed by two hours of (closed) seminar only for enrolled students. The open-access portion will begin on February 10, 2021. If you are not enrolled, feel free to join the lecture for the first hour. Email me for access URL.
The Digital and the Analog
(Special Topics in Critical Theory -- MCC-GE 3010)
Time: Weds 9am - 11:50am EST
Digital and analog, what do these terms mean today? One common response to the question of the digital is to make reference to things like software, hardware, or computers in general. Indeed the definition of “digital” is too often eclipsed by a kind of fever-pitched industrial bonanza around the latest technologies and the latest commercial ventures. Like the digital, the analog also seems to go through various phases of popularity and disuse, its appeal pegged most frequently to nostalgic longings for non-technical or romantic modes of art and culture. The analog is difficult to define, with attempts at definition often consisting of mere denotations of things: sound waves, the phonograph needle, magnetic tape, a sundial.
In this doctoral seminar we will define the digital and the analog explicitly, not merely by reference to actually existing media technologies, but also, and perhaps more importantly, through encounters with theory and philosophy. If digital and analog describe media artifacts, they are also modes of thinking and being, with the digital closely aligned with rationalism, logic, and politics, while the analog with empiricism, aesthetics, and ethics. Sections of the course are devoted to analogicity, digitality, the logical, the illogical, interfaces, cybernetics, psychoanalysis, geometry, and arithmetic. Readings are drawn from the work of Alain Badiou, Wendy Chun, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Lacan, Katherine McKittrick, Kaja Silverman, and others.