This review essay compares two early and two recent texts by N. Katherine Hayles and Mark B. N. Hansen. Considering their recent work in the context of Ruth Leys’s critique of the turn to affect, I argue that Hayles and Hansen use neuroscientific conclusions on a “missing half second” to propose theories of technology’s impact. These critics neglect to provide explanations of a social or political kind, a trend that appears to be related to the lesser importance accorded to intention. I show the value of giving social explanations and of differentiating between humans and things in analyses.
More on the Missing Half Second: A Review of Hayles and Hansen
Jap-Nanak Makkar is assistant professor in the Department of English at Wilkes University. In an essay published by Contemporary Literature (Summer 2018), she examined the form of J. M. Coetzee’s fiction in the context of several legal and economic determinants. Her book manuscript explores the relationship between postcolonial literature, poststructuralism, and the history of technology, focusing especially on the cultural legacies of cybernetics and information theory.
Jap-Nanak Makkar; More on the Missing Half Second: A Review of Hayles and Hansen. boundary 2 1 February 2020; 47 (1): 215–238. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-7999581
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