This article traces the North American reception of “German media theory,” especially the work of Friedrich Kittler (1943–2011). The construction of Kittler's work abroad is marked by truncations and targeted appropriations related as much to the breaks and discontinuities in his own writings as to particular dynamics in North American academe and beyond. It passes through several stages, extends into the domain of social media, and influences the subsequent—and ongoing—engagement with the German variants of media archaeology and the cultural techniques approach, both of which are indebted to Kittler.

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