German Studies Lecture Series: Shane Denson

Shane Denson (Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, and, by Courtesy, of German Studies, Stanford)
Tue October 5th 2021, 12:00 - 1:00pm

Please join the first German Studies Lecture Series event for the 2021-22 academic year titled, "Media Philosophy in the Flesh" with guest speaker Shane Denson (Stanford University).

While only rarely used in Anglophone contexts, the term “media philosophy” (or Medienphilosophie) is increasingly common in the German-speaking world. Emerging from the field of so-called “German media theory,” media philosophy aspires to go beyond a mere application of philosophy, instead conducting basic philosophical research into the foundational or constitutive roles that media play in human knowledge, experience, or being. As such, media are approached less as empirical objects than as quasi-transcendental horizons, and the philosophy of media claims a spot alongside epistemology and ontology as an important branch of philosophical thinking—effecting a reorientation that implies a significant critique of the “technicist” orientation of much (German) media theory, including the media archaeological strand running from Friedrich Kittler to Wolfgang Ernst. What the latter ignores or suppresses is the role of human embodiment and sensation—the phenomenology of mediated experience. Restoring this dimension situates media philosophy as a (somewhat provisional) bridge between philosophical aesthetics and the philosophy of technology, while the historical and cultural contingency of media-technological configurations cautions against universalism and promotes attention, often lacking in German media theory, to the particularities of gendered and racialized embodiment.

Shane Denson is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Department of Art & Art History and, by Courtesy, of German Studies in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at Stanford University. His research and teaching interests span a variety of media and historical periods, including phenomenological and media-philosophical approaches to film, digital media, comics, games, and serialized popular forms. He is the author of Postnaturalism: Frankenstein, Film, and the Anthropotechnical Interface (Transcript-Verlag/Columbia University Press, 2014) and co-editor of several collections: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives (Bloomsbury, 2013), Digital Seriality (special issue of Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 2014), and the open-access book Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film (REFRAME Books, 2016).