02 Feb

Friedrich Kittler – Provocative and Influential

Posted By Politybooks

Sale and Salisbury Friedrich Kittler was one of the most provocative and influential theorists of recent times. His arguments that technical media determine cultural production took aim at the unthought assumptions underpinning much of the humanities and social sciences.

His prolific output includes the stunning Discourse Networks 1800/1900, one of the most important monographs to emerge from Germany in the second half of the twentieth century, the unfinished Musik und Mathematik project, and exemplary essays demonstrating his radical approach to diverse source material ranging from canonical literary texts to the manual of an Intel microprocessor. Since his death in 2011 interest in his work has only increased and many disciplines continue to wrestle with the implications of his ideas.

This collection brings together some of the most influential scholars writing today in media, cultural and literary studies to reflect on his legacy, to engage with his ideas and to explore the application of his theories to their own areas of specialism. Contributors include Caroline Bassett, Steven Connor, Alexander R. Galloway, Mark B. Hansen, John Durham Peters and Geoffrey Winthrop-Young. It also includes previously untranslated work by Kittler himself.

In the collection, you’ll find discussions of mythology and mathematics, madness and intoxication, computers and musical notation, cryptography and cinema, and much more. It is the first book-length collection of secondary literature on Kittler produced in English and as such marks an important moment in his reception. The editors’ introduction also serves to outline and situate Kittler’s main ideas.

Kittler’s vital work is critical for those wanting to better understand the relationship between technology and culture. Kittler Now helps to open up his work for an Anglo-American audience and to provoke new debate across the humanities.

Stephen Sale is a PhD candidate at the London Consortium and Laura Salisbury is Senior Lecturer in Medicine and English Literature at the University of Exeter.  Their book Kittler Now: Current Perspectives in Kittler Studies was published by Polity in January 2015.