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GS/POLS 6083
2011 Fall

Download course outline in PDF format

Class Time: T 19:00-22:00

Class Location: TEL 0013

Professor: Shannon Bell

Office Location: S 634 Ross



Telephone (w) 416 2100 ext. 22552
(mobile) 416 822 6831

Office Hours:
T 15:00-17:00
W 15:00-17:00
Th 15:00-17:00

Course Website:

Course Description

TechnoPolitics examines the technopolitical convergence in select works of Heidegger, Kroker, Latour, Manovich, Marcuse, Massumi, McLuhan, Simondon, Steigler, Whitehead, and Virilio.
The thread that links these political philosophers and social theorists is a convergence in the belief that technology alters existence in terms of self and other, agency, consciousness, intimacy, intelligence, reason, life, embodiment, identity, and gender.
The teleology of humans defining their world through fabrication, the instrumental direction of tools and technology, is altered in what Steigler calls ‘originary technicity’: in human/ technological interface there is no obvious distinction between doer and means; technology and human endeavor are coupled in a manner in which technology constructs the human, as much as, perhaps more than, the human constructs technology.
This course has three objectives: 1) To determine how key thinkers in the 20th and 21st centuries have constructed the techno-human interface. 2) To determine how these same thinkers have derived not simply a politics of technology but a new political genre: technopolitics. And, 3) to examine the terrain of technopolitics as a contested terrain.

Grade Assignment

Seminar Presentation


Discussion Forum: (Moodle course website)


weekly postings

Weekly Seminar Participation:


Paper & Film abstract:


Due March 22

Essay (20 pages, 5000 words)


Due April 26

2 minute film


Seminar Presentation consists of conducting the seminar for one of the weeks however you see fit with the qualifiers that the material needs to be covered and questions posed for discussion.

Discussion Board – post :

  1. Material and questions relating to your seminar presentation
  2. observations/comments/musing (written, images, audio files)
    regarding issues relating to cyborgology, technology, digitality, nature, politics,

Discussion Board posting can be done daily, weekly.
The aim is to have an interactive discussion as well as posting your own observations

Paper and Film Abstract
A one page abstract outlining the subject of the paper and film and the course material to be used.

Essay Assignment
The aim of the essay is to critically engage course material on the topic of your choice relating to technopolitics. A minimum of six texts on the course must be integrated into your essay.

A 2-minute film must accompany the essay. The film can be shot on a phone camera, digital still camera, video camera, or computer web cam and it can use found footage as long as the footage is altered by you.

If you are using a pc the Windows Movie Maker can be downloaded free from
If you are using an Apple then use iMovie or Final Cut Express.

The film is to be processed as a QuickTime DVD quality.

The film is to be posted on or with a link on the course Moodle Discussion Forum.

Books and ebooks

  • Bruno Latour, 2004. Politics of Nature (Harvard University Press)
  • Brian Massumi, 2002. Parables for the Virtual (Duke university Press)
  • Marshall McLuhan, 1964. Understanding Media, The Extension of Man (Ginko Press)
  • Bernard Steigler, 2010. For A New Critique of Political Economy (Polity)
  • Bernard Stiegler, 1998. Technics and Time, 1. The Fault of Epimetheus (Stanford University Press)


Seminar & Reading Schedule

January 4


January 11

Manovich, Software Takes Command (ebook on Moodle 6083 site)
Introduction: Software Studies for Beginners

  • Part 1: Inventing Cultural Software, Ch.1
  • Ch. 2 Understanding Metamedia
  • Part 2: Software Takes Command, Ch.3
  • Ch.4 Universal Capture
  • Part 3: Webware, Ch.5
  • Ch.6 Social Media: Tactics as Strategies___________ ALL

January 18

McLuhan, Understanding Media, The Extension of Man (ebook on Moodle 6083 site)

1. Medium is the Message
2. Media Hot and Cold Reversal of the Overheated Medium
3. The Gadget Lover
12. Clothing: Our Extended Skin
14. Money: The Poor Man’s Credit Card
15. Clocks: the Scent of Time
20. The Photograph
21. Press: Government by News Leek
22. Motorcar: the Mechanical Bride
29. Movies: The Reel World
30. Radio: The Tribal Drum
31. Television: The Timid Giant
32. Weapons: War of the Icons
33. Automation _______________ ALL


January 25

Heidegger, Marcuse, Kroker (earticles on Moodle 6083 site)
Heidegger, ‘The Question Concerning Technology’
Heidegger, ‘The Thing’
Kroker, Hyper-Heidegger
Marcuse, ‘Some Social Implications of Modern Technology’ pp. 41-65 Technology, War and Fascism ____________ Micha

February 1

Whitehead, Modes of Thought (print copy)
1. Creative Impulse
2. Activity
3. Nature and Life
4. Epilogue _____________ Shannon

February 8

Stiegler, Technics and Time, 1 (ebook on Moodle 6083 site)
Part 1: The Invention of the Human
Introduction &
1. Theories of Technical Evolution
2. Technology and Anthropology
3. Who? What? The Invention of the Human ___________ Claire

February 15

Stiegler, Technics and Time, 1 (ebook on Moodle 6083 site)
Simondon ‘Genesis of the Individual’ (earticle on Moodle 6083 site)
Part II: The Fault of Epimetheus
Introduction &
1. Prometheus’s Liver
2. Already There
3. The Disengagement of the What ______________ Aaron

March 1

Latour, Politics of Nature (print copy)
Introduction: What is to be Done with Political Ecology
Why Political Ecology Has to Let Go of Nature
How to Bring the Collective Together
A New Separation of Powers _______________ Madison

March 8

Latour, Politics of Nature (print copy)
Skills for the Collective
Exploring Common Worlds
Conclusion: What is to be Done? Political Ecology! ____________

March 15

Virilio, Speed and Politics (ebook on Moodle 6083 site)
Part I. The Dromological Revolution
Part 2. Dromological Progress
Part 3. Dromological Society
Part 4. The State of Emergency ___________________

March 22

Steigler, For A New Critique of Political Economy (print copy)
A warning
Pharmacology of the Proletariat
Pharmacology of Capital & Economy of Contribution _________ Guio

March 29

Massumi, Parables for the Virtual (print copy)

The Autonomy of Affect

3. The Political Economy of Belonging and the Logic of Relation
4. The Evolutionary Alchemy of Reason: Stelarc
5. On the Superiority of Analog

Strange Horizon: Buildings, Biograms & the Body Topologic _________ Rodney

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