New perspectives on US Studies: Technologies of Crisis


Is technology pushing us too fast? Do we need time to catch up and get to know how the technologies we use actually work?    How do we understand technology in the the overall depictions of America in crisis?  Does the narrative of ‘progress’ get in the way?

Chairing the panel, Dr Zara Dinnen reflects on Richard Linklater‘s film, Boyhood, to demonstrate the change in technologies we use. Filmed over 12 years, Boyhood presents technologies from gameboy to ipad – but it not only shows us media, it is media.

For Lev Manovich, ‘the speed with which new technologies are assimilated in the United States makes them “invisible” almost overnight’. The panel discussion considers technological conditions of crisis in US culture, and crises of technology in the twenty-first century. The 2008 economic crash made visible the technology of speculative finance, just as wikileaks, Manning and Snowden brought to light the cyclical machinations of contemporary technocratic geopolitics.


Dr Zara Dinnen (University of Birmingham) opens the panel with some reflection on technological slow time, before introducing Dr Clare Birchall (KCL) speaking on ‘Data Crisis’, Dr Kristin Veel (University of Copenhagen) speaking on ‘Information Crisis’ and Dr Seb Franklin (KCL) presenting ‘Networks, Black Boxes, Switches: on the Metaphors of Empire’. After these short talks there is a discussion and Q&A.

IMG_0261[1]This Podcast is part of our Rupture, Crisis, Transformation series offering new perspectives on American Studies.
The podcast was produced by Jo Barratt with Lucy Bradley