The Questions Concerning Technology. A Critical Theory Seminar

‘Tangled Network’ photo CC BY SA Bruno Girin


I am excited to announce that this spring I will be leading an extracurricular research seminar for City University London postgraduate students (or alumni) titled ‘The Questions Concerning Technology. A Critical Theory Seminar for Beginners.’

I designed the seminar with Computer Science, Library and Information Science and Publishing postgraduate  students in mind.

When and where

Thursdays 31 March, 7 April, 14 April, 21 April 2016, 5:30 -8:00pm
City University London


Critical theory is often (but not always!) neglected in the study of information and communication technologies.

This extracurricular, multidisciplinary seminar seeks to provide an alternative space to introduce the reading of key works of critical theory as a means to discuss conceptually questions regarding technology.

The seminar seeks to complement the learning of postgraduate students interested in technology and to offer an opportunity to foster networking between students interested in theoretical approaches. Also, refreshments will be provided!

Who this seminar is for

This introductory seminar is addressed to City University London postgraduate students (MA, MSc and/or PhD) interested in developing critical theory interpretive skills by gaining exposure to influential 20th century theoretical approaches to technology.

An interest in philosophy, or in conceptual approaches to technology, is desirable, but no previous knowledge or specific background is required. The seminar is designed to introduce the topics to students who may be totally unfamiliar with the disciplines, approaches and authors included in the programme.

The programme

31 March – Heidegger: The Question Concerning Technology

7 April – Benjamin: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

14 April – Foucault: Enlightenment: Techne, Practices and Power

21 April – Kittler and Hayles: Networks and the Materiality of Informatics


The texts to discuss are not ‘easy’. Complete courses could be given on any of these texts! The sessions are meant to be introductory and to provide insights into the relevance of the authors and texts.

The texts to be discussed in each session will be:

Benjamin, W. (2009). ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, in One-Way Street and Other Writings. London: Penguin

Heidegger, M. (1977). ‘The Question Concerning Technology’, in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. New York: Harper Row.

Foucault, M. (1984). ‘Space, Knowledge and Power’, in P. Rabinow (Ed.), The Foucault Reader. London: Penguin.

Kittler, F. A. (1999). ‘Introduction’, in Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (pp 1-19). Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Hayles, N.K. (1993). ‘The Materiality of Informatics.’ Configurations. Volume 1, Number 1, Winter. 147-170. DOI: 10.1353/con.1993.0003.

These texts will be provided to those registering to the seminar. Reading the texts before each session is not compulsory, but it’s important to bring them to each session.


[Registration has now closed]. City University London students and alumni can use this link to register. Attendance is free but registration is required. Deadline to register is Friday 18th March 2016. Capacity is limited and places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.