|About the Book|
Friedrich Kittler was a literary scholar and a media theorist.Kittler is influential in the new approach to media theory that grew popular starting in the 1980sKittlers central project is to prove to the human sciences [...] their technological-media a priori (Hartmut Winkler), or in his own words: Driving the human out of the humanities, a title that he gave a work that he published in 1980.Kittler sees an autonomy in technology and therefore disagrees with Marshall McLuhans reading of the media as extensions of man: Media are not pseudopods for extending the human body. They follow the logic of escalation that leaves a written history behind it.Among Kittlers theses was his tendency to argue, with a mixture of polemicism, apocalypticism, erudition, and humor, that technological conditions were closely bound up with epistemology and ontology itself. This claim and his style of argumention is aptly summed up in his dictum Nur was schaltbar ist, ist überhaupt—a phrase that could be translated as Only that which is switchable, exists or more freely, Only that which can be switched, can be.He studied German studies, Romance philology and philosophy at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg in Freiburg im Breisgau. During his studies, he was influenced by Jacques Lacans, Michel Foucaults and Martin Heideggers writings.In 1976, Kittler received his doctorate in philosophy after a thesis on the poet Conrad Ferdinand Meyer. Between 1976 and 1986 he worked as academic assistant at the universitys Deutsches Seminar. In 1984, he earned his Habilitation in the field of Modern German Literary History.He had several stints as a Visiting Assistant Professor or Visiting Professor at universities in the United States, such as the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Santa Barbara and Stanford University.He was recognized in 1996 as a Distinguished Scholar at Yale University and in 1997 as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Columbia University in New York.