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Re: <nettime> Interview with German media theorist Sebastian Giessmann
Florian Cramer on Tue, 26 Jul 2016 04:13:22 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Interview with German media theorist Sebastian Giessmann


   On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 10:50 AM, Geert Lovink <geert {AT} desk.nl> wrote:

   > It a very diverse piece of scholarly work in the tradition of
   > German humanities and media theory. As is often the case with
   > German theory, we start off in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt
   > before moving on to the Greeks.

   A footnote: This isn't per se a question of an individual scholarly
   approach, but can be a hard academic requirement, especially for PhD
   research in German-language and continental European humanities.�   In the German-language area, media studies are sharply divided between
   social sciences (where they include communication and journalism
   departments) and humanities (where they exist as critical media
   studies). In the social sciences, it is perfectly acceptable to write a
   PhD thesis only on a contemporary subject matter with no larger
   historical perspective, but the thesis will then be expected to be an
   empirical case study and using little or no philosophical and critical
   theory references.

   Humanities media studies rarely exist as departments of their own, but
   are either derived from or part of literature, aesthetics or,
   sometimes, film and theater studies departments. These are
   traditionally understood as historical disciplines; art history still
   bears this understanding in its very name. Since the 1990s, German
   humanities media studies are mostly practiced as cultural
   history/discourse history of information technologies.

   While I'm not familiar with the specific background of Sebastian's
   research, it is a fact in the German-language humanities that a thesis
   can be rejected on the grounds of being "ahistorical". This has nothing
   to do with "German media theory", but with the German-language and
   continental European humanities at large where a discipline like
   Anglo-American cultural studies (that cuts across social science and
   humanities, and is radically oriented towards contemporary culture)
   never became mainstream.

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