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Erik Born

The Digital University: Switches, Binaries, Polarizations (25.05.2021)

To counter the narrative that the global pandemic merely accelerated an inevitable digital transition, we need a foundational critique of the mutual entanglements among higher education and media technology over the longue durée. This talk distills switches, binaries, and polarizations in ongoing debates about the “idea of a university,” putting a materialist theory of the university as a media system in dialogue with recent work in critical university studies. Even if the key social aspects of the digital order consist in automation, interactivity, and interconnectivity, it remains unclear whether a truly “free” and “open” university is possible in the digital age.


In this talk, Erik Born will examine the shifting historical alliances among the university, the book market, and the nation-state. Drawing on media history and theory as well as the emergent field of critical university studies, the talk aims to provide a space for discussing digitization and academic labor.

// Prof. Erik Born (Assistant Professor in the Department of German Studies, Cornell University)

Click here for further information on research interests and publications.


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