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Mark B. Hansen, Professor of Literature and Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Mark B. HansenSpecialization:

    Critical Theory
    Comparative Philosophy
    American Mass & Popular Culture
    Film Theory & History

Research Interests:
    Cultural Theory and Media Studies, Philosophy of New Media, Phenomenology and Cognitive Science

Current projects:

    Feed-Forward: Recording (for) the Emergent Future

Area of Interest: media studies
cultural theory
science studies
contemporary literature
critical theory

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.


  • Ph.D. University of California at Irvine 1994
  • Fulbright Scholarship University of Konstanz, Germany 1990
  • M.A. University of California at Irvine 1989
  • BA in Comparative Literature and French 1987
  • B.A. New York University 1987
  • Coursework toward B.A. in French and Comparative Literature University of Paris (VIII and X) 1985

Contact Info:

Office Location:  101 Friedl Building, Durham, NC 27708
Email Address:   mark.hansen@duke.edu
Web Page:  

Teaching (Fall 2015):

  • Lit 317.01, Media theory Synopsis
    Crowell 107, MW 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
  • Lit 690s.06, Special topics in literature Synopsis
    West duke 212, W 03:05 PM-05:35 PM

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Mark B. N. Hansen, Technical Repetition and Digital Art, or Why the ‘Digital’ in Digital Cinema is not the ‘Digital’ in Digital Technics, in Technology and Desire: the Transgressive Art of Moving Images, edited by Rania Gaafar and Martin Schulz (Accepted, 2013), Intellekt (Corrected proof submitted summer 2012, book to appear in April 2014..) .
  2. M. Hansen, Symbolizing Time: Kittler and 21st Century Media, in Kittler Mediated: New Essays on Culture and Technology, edited by S. Sale and L. Salisbury (Accepted, 2013), Stanford University Press (Corrected proof submitted fall 2012..)  [author's comments].
  3. Mark B. N. Hansen, The Primacy of Sensation, in Theory Aside, edited by Daniel Stout and Jason Potts (Accepted, 2013), Duke .
  4. Mark B. N. Hansen, The Operational Present of Sensibility, Nordic Journal of Aesthetics (Accepted, 2013) .
  5. Mark B. N. Hansen, Our Predictive Condition, or, Prediction in the Wild, in The Non-Human Turn (Accepted, 2013), University of Minnesota .