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Chadwick Truscott Smith

Chadwick T. Smith is currently a visiting assistant professor at New York University in the department of German after teaching at Rutgers University and Barnard College. His research focuses on 19th and 20th century German literature and contemporary media studies, in particular with regard to their engagement with the points of contact between literature, science, and society. He has published widely on the media and cultural studies of Vilém Flusser and Friedrich Kittler and is currently working on a manuscript demonstrating the necessity of media studies to a concept of social justice in the digital world. In addition, he is also the translator of Sigrid Weigel’s Walter Benjamin: Images, the Creaturely, and the Holy (Stanford University Press) and the forthcoming The Science of Literature by Helmut Müller-Sievers (deGruyter).

Articles of Chadwick Truscott Smith

“The Lens is to Blame”: Three Remarks on Black Boxes, Digital Humanities, and The Necessities of Vilém Flusser’s “New Humanism”

This paper offers a brief exploration of Vilém Flusser’s proposed yet undeveloped concept of “new humanism” and argues for the centrality of the concept for a distinct ethical-political track that winds its way through all of his writings on communication, media, and technology, in addition to his explicit references to exile and nationalism. Because changing technologies circumscribe the field of possibility for human activity, the analysis of technology then becomes a matter of anthropology. By placing these questions at the center of his inquiries into communications and media, Flusser re-conceives the human subject itself, ensuring that his “new humanism” is not a return to any established version, but will reckon with the fact that technological development prompts changes in the definitions of the human itself. I also consider his demand for a new humanism an exemplary case for a relation to the master terms of the Enlightenment and humanistic investigation in the digital age, which persists after digitality even as they are recoded.

The Lens (PDF 288.12 KB)

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