Duke University | Classical Studies:

    Mark Hansen
  • Mark Hansen

  • Professor of Literature
      • Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0670
      • 101 Friedl Building, Durham, NC 27708
      • Phone: (919) 668-4896
      • Email:
  • Overview

    Over the past decade I have sought in my research, writing and teaching to theorize the role played by technology in human agency and social life. In work that ranges across a host of disciplines, including literary studies, film and media, philosophy (particularly phenomenology), science studies, and cognitive neuroscience, I have explored the meaning of the relentless technological exteriorization that characterizes the human as a form of life and have paid particular attention to the key role played by visual art and literature in brokering cultural adaptation to technology from the industrial revolution to the digital revolution.

 My recent work has focused on the experiential significance of the revolution in computation that has transformed the architecture of knowledge in academe and in culture more broadly. As I understand it, the computational revolution is altering the infrastructure of our lifeworld profoundly and thereby changing what it means to be human and also what is involved in practicing the humanities today. I believe that the humanities must embrace technology and that humanists must enter full-scale into the informatics revolution by, for example, contesting the meaning and value of information and rethinking what it means to be human in a realtime, digitally-networked, global world in which we often cognize in concert with intelligent machines.

 My first book, Embodying Technesis: Technology Beyond Writing, set the agenda for my research by asking what is left out when literary and cultural theorists turn their attention to technology. My answer, to put it schematically, is experience: by variously taking technology as a formalizable object - as, say, a figure for the operation of language, for the structure of the text, or for the vicissitudes of the psyche - theorists simply overlook the non-representational, experiential, and massively diffuse impact of technologies on social and cultural life. My effort to grapple with this diffuse impact has led me to focus on media technologies and, in particular, on the contemporary digital media revolution. I have done this in two books, New Philosophy for New Media and Bodies in Code, both devoted methodologically to a practice of experiencing the theoretical and technical significance of the digital revolution through the work of practicing new media artists, architects, and literary authors. In both of these studies, and in my work generally, I proceed from actual engagements with cultural artifacts and processes to theorization that draws together 20th century phenomenology, recent cognitive (neuro)science, and (neo-) cybernetic discourses.

 My current work expands the scope of my research by focusing directly on the coupling of the human and the technical that has characterized the human since its inception. In a study of time and media, I seek to update German philosopher Edmund Husserl's model of time-consciousness in order to address the massive technical inscription of time in our world today. If our experience of selfhood is a function of self-affection by time (as Husserl argues), how is this experience impacted when time becomes mediated by computational processes that occur at scales far beneath what our senses can experience? I explore this critical nexus of self-affection and technical time across various registers, ranging from the intensive times of textual processing in 20th-21st century experimental writing and digital poetics to the evolutionary dynamics of human technogenesis. Having recently spent a year in Beijing, China, I have also become interested in expanding my work to address the very different experience and tradition of time in the East, especially as it impacts practices involving media, art, and the internet, in the context of contemporary globalization.

  • Education

    • Ph.D., University of California at Irvine 1994
    • M.A., University of California at Irvine 1989
    • B.A., New York University 1987
  • Awards and Honors

    • IKKM. Unknown., 2013
    • Senior Scholar, Visiting Lecturer. Fulbright Commission, Senior Specialist Program., 2012
    • Arts Council Funding. Duke University-Arts Council., 2009
    • FHI Faculty Fellowship. Duke University, FHI., 2009
    • Traditional Fulbright Scholarship. Council for International Exchange of Scholars., 2006
  • Professional Activities

    • Presentation
      • Sound's Futurity. November 28, 2013
      • Feed-Forward. November 8, 2013
      • Media Futures: Mediatheoretical Mathematics in Action. November 7, 2013
      • Value and Imitation, or Towards a Post-Tardean Theory of Media. July 5, 2013
      • Always Totalize! Whitehead's Imperative and the Speculative Phenomenology of Media". June 26, 2013
      • Issues in 21st Century Media. June 25, 2013
      • From Embodiment to Environment: The Challenge of 21st Century Media. June 24, 2013
      • The Artifactuality of Affect. May 31, 2013
      • The Ecological Pharmacology of Media. February 28, 2013
      • Ecologies of Imitation and Experience. January 13, 2013
      • The Politics of Sensibility. December 14, 2012
      • The Operational Present of Sensibility. December 13, 2012
      • The Imperceptible Image. November 2, 2012
      • Sensibility’s Present, or Can Consciousness Think 21st Century Media?. October 23, 2012
      • The Operational Present of Sensibility, Part I. September 28, 2012
      • Can Consciousness Think 21st Century Media?. July 28, 2012
      • Workshop on "Ubiquitous Sensibility". July 6, 2012
      • The End of Pharmacology?: Historicizing 21st Century Media. July 3, 2012
      • Feed-Forward, or, The Future of 21st Century Media. July 2, 2012
      • Against Clairvoyance: The Future of 21st Century Media. May 4, 2012
      • Worldly Sensibility and the Vibratory Continuum: Thinking 21st Century Media with A. N. Whitehead. April 9, 2012
      • The Biometric Selection Engine. February 7, 2012
      • Feed Forward: The Future of 21st Century Media. November 10, 2011
      • Real Potentiality, Predictive Analytics, and the Environmental Turn in 21st Century Media. November 9, 2011
      • Data and Experience in 21st Century Media. April 20, 2011
      • 21st Century Media. April 15, 2011
      • Speculative Phenomenology, or 21st Century Media from a Radically Environmental Perspective. March 5, 2011
      • Common Sense. February 11, 2011
      • Delimination of Life - Affective Bodies and Biomedia. February 5, 2011
      • Speculative Phenomenology (Whitehead and 21st Century Media). November 8, 2010
      • Data and Experience in 21st Century Media. October 29, 2010
      • Embodiment and the Real. October 1, 2010
      • On the Problem of Creativity in a Mediated World. September 25, 2010
      • Recording (for) the Emergent Future, or Data and Experience in 21st Century Media. September 24, 2010
      • Originary Environmental Sensibility, or Technical Invention and the Operational Blindness of Psychic Individualization. May 28, 2010
      • Media and Sensation. April 15, 2010
      • Ubiquitous Sensation. March 30, 2010
      • Workshop Discussion of my paper, “System-Environment Hybrids”. March 26, 2010
      • Ubiquitous Computing as Environmental Agency, or Towards a Post-Phenomenology of Microtemporal Sensation. March 25, 2010
      • Microtemporality of Embodiment. March 19, 2010
      • Roundtable on the Material and the Code. February 27, 2010
      • Individuation, Disindividuation, Resistance, Refusal. February 26, 2010
      • Digitizing the Human. February 10, 2010
      • Seminar Discussion of my work (focus on cybernetics and biopolitics). February 10, 2010
      • Frampton Between Media and Technics. February 6, 2010
      • Seminar Discussion of my work (focus on Neocybernetic Emergence). January 28, 2010
      • Ubiquitous Sensorium. January 27, 2010
      • A Space-Time of Ubiquitous Computation. December 12, 2009
      • When is the Subject?: Micro-temporal Networks and Asubjective Fluxes. November 7, 2009
      • Behavioral Evolution: How Language and Technologies Make Us Human. November 5, 2009
      • Ubiquitous Sensation. October 9, 2009
      • Guest Scholar Colloquium. September 18, 2009
      • The Autonomy of the Peripheral. September 17, 2009
      • Time and Materiality. September 9, 2009
      • Time and Image. May 22, 2009
      • Digital Media and Transcendental Sensibility. April 1, 2009
      • Guest Scholar Colloquium. April 1, 2009
      • Digital Media, Transcendental Sensibility and the Problem of Protention. March 24, 2009
      • New Media Across Images, Body and Time. March 6, 2009
      • Expanding Consciousness of Cognition?. March 4, 2009
      • Mind Time, Machine Time: Toward a Postphenomenological Media. November 14, 2008
      • Asubjective Retention. November 12, 2008
      • Fleshing (out) the Brain. November 7, 2008
      • New Media Between Body and Image. September 9, 2008
      • Retention Beyond the ‘Temporal Object,’ or What Happens to Time Embodiment in the Age of Digital Technics. September 6, 2008
      • Digital Technics Beyond the ‘Last Machine’: Thinking Digital Media with Hollis Frampton. September 4, 2008
      • For the time being, or the being and time of today. July 6, 2008
      • Is the ‘Digital’ in Digital Cinema the Same as the ‘Digital’ in Digital Media. April 26, 2008
      • Living Cosmic Time in the Present. April 4, 2008
      • Living (with) Technical Time: From Media Surrogacy to Distributed Cognition. February 28, 2008
    • Service to the Profession
      • Polity Press. 2012
      • University of Minnesota Press. 2012
      • Manuscript Reviews for Polity Press. January 3, 2011
      • Modern Language Association of America. 2010
      • Reviewed articles for Theory, Culture and Society. 2010
      • Society for Cinema and Media Studies. 2010
      • Society for Science, Literature and the Arts. 2010
      • University of Minnesota Press. December 18, 2009
      • Digital Arts and Culture Conference. December 12, 2009
  • Selected Publications

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