City: Johannesburg
Organiser: Keith Breckenridge, Hlonipha Mokoena
Venue: WiSER

This workshop takes its focus from the upheaval in popular and scholarly understandings of the intellectual (and political) prospects of the networked planet. A decade ago advocates and precocious users were celebrating the levelling, democratic and disruptive possibilities of the Internet, and of social media platforms in particular.  Today an elaborated loathing of these technologies and their political effects — succinctly captured by the Channel 4 series Black Mirror — has become common and politically compelling. Popular and scholarly disillusionment with the promises of the network society is now close to self-evident, and the subject of daily reports in the major international newspapers.  Much more difficult to assess is the critical and political power of the dystopian critique of cybernetics (of which Black Mirror is only the most recent compelling example) that emerges from the humanist tradition. In this workshop we propose an assessment of these two movements, and their mutual engagement, in the special circumstances of the African university.

Full description of the program