|Carolyn A. McDonough started the topicThe Mangle in the forum DHUM 70000 – Introduction to Digital Humanities:
I’ve been immersed in p. 56-60 of Presner’s “Critical Theory and the Mangle of Digital Humanities” to the point where I couldn’t put it down. His connecting of Critical Theory to DH has me jazzed. I posted this in the Forum also, but I see the class is using this side more to reply, so here it is again.
The mention of Horkheimer and the references to Kant, Marcuse, Bloch, Pickering, et al, made this is an amazing read for me.
I’m especially relishing Presner on the “intellectual origins of critical theory” and as a method. He establishes the “purpose of this chapter is to concretely connect… CT with ‘the mangle of DH'” (p. 56) following Pickering’s articulation of ‘the mangle’ (which I’ll leave for all to read on their own).
I’ve studied and written extensively on Adorno & Horkheimer and Walter Benjamin for my first MA in Media Studies at The New School, and the latter also in ITP Core 1. My thesis seed at The New School was on A&H’s essay “The Culture Industry” as applied to the field of advertising (which my research in 2006/07 revealed to me had not been done) and I examine Benjamin’s essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in the context of the “selfie” in my interactive paper “The Digital Aura”.
I’m always re-reading, re-thinking and re-visiting the A&H and Benjamin essays and keep copies of them at my desk. When I first read them about 15 years ago, I couldn’t believe how prescient they were (and in my opinion, still are). Now I will add Presner to this group of readings.
I like the aspects of CT that Presner addresses/highlights such as its confronting of “bad facticity” (ESPECIALLY AlND MORESO IN OUR CURRENT ‘FAKE NEWS’ TIMES.) I also appreciate how Presner describes that the “task of CT”, he suggests, is to “take us out of the domain of facticity” altogether (alleluia) and “into the domain of social practices, the speculative, the future-oriented, and the ethical.” (p. 57)
Presner paraphrases that for Horkheimer (in 1937!) the “traditional theory” from philosophy and science was about “factual knowledge and technical mastery” and “isolated from social and material conditions”. (p. 57) Horkheimer just couldn’t abide this in a post-Marxian perspective, and therefore aspired to CT which includes social and material conditions.
I could go on and on as I’m obviously quite lit up here, but I’ll wait for class….