The New School for Social Research


  • Dominic Pettman

    Professor of Culture and Media and Chair of Committee on Liberal Studies

    Office Location:

    Eugene Lang Building


    I am Professor of Culture & Media & Chair of Committee on Liberal Studies. My teaching and research focus on the manifold ways in which media theory influences cultural practice (and vice versa). While my current work centers around technologies of the present, I am equally interested in the ways in which previous forms and formats were once considered disorienting examples of "new media." While studying literature, critical theory, and philosophy at the University of Melbourne, I became fascinated by unorthodox representations and readings of technology, particularly the strategies used by writers, intellectuals, and multimedia-makers to either integrate or reject new forms of technology.

    My first book, After the Orgy: Toward a Politics of Exhaustion, was based on my dissertation, and explored the intersections between decadence, technology, transgression and apocalyptic rhetoric. My second book, co-written with Justin Clemens, and entitled Avoiding the Subject: Media, Culture and the Object, tagged and pursued various "symbolic objects" which circulate within popular culture and the mediascape, questioning the human hubris of subjectivity. My third book, Love and Other Technologies: Retrofitting Eros for the Information Age, presented the possibility that even something as ineffable and seemingly natural as "love" can be considered a social technology (designed to engineer and maximize a specific type of belonging). My fourth book is entitled, Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines, which examines the cultural co-evolution of humans, animals, and machines, arguing that "humanity" may be one of the world's most significant cases of mistaken identity. My fifth book is entitled, Look at the Bunny: Totem, Taboo, Technology, and explores five case studies concerning the totemic power of the technical image. The subseqqent In Divisible Cities is a creative exercise in cartographic origami: the reflective result of the narrator’s desire to map hidden cities beneath the familiar Atlas of everyday perception.

    Infinite Distraction and Humid, All too Humid were published most recently in 2016.

    Visit my website for more.

    Degrees Held:

    PhD, University of Melbourne

    Recent Publications:


    Infinite Distraction (Polity, 2016) 

    Humid, All too Humid (Punctum, 2016)

    Look at the Bunny: Totem, Taboo, Technology (Zero Books, 2013)

     Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines (2011, Posthumanities Series, University of Minnesota Press)

    Love and Other Technologies (Fordham, 2006)

    Avoiding the Subject: Media, Culture and the Object [with Justin Clemens] (AUP, 2004)

    After the Orgy: Toward a Politics of Exhaustion (SUNY, 2002)


    Articles and Book Chapters

    "Tolstoy's Bestiary: Animality and Animosity in The Kreutzer Sonata," Angelaki (2013)

    "Exile from Funland: Flusser and Agamben After the Fall," Journal of Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (2011)

    "Pavlov's Podcast: The Acousmatic Voice in the Age of MP3s," differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (The Sense of Sound special double issue), 22.2-3, Summer-Fall, 2011, edited by Rey Chow and James Steintrager).

    "After the Beep: Answering Machines and Creaturely Life," Boundary 2, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Summer 2010), 133-153.

    "Introduction," in Jean Baudrillard's Fatal Strategies. New York: Semiotext(e), 2008)

    "Bear Life: Tracing an Opening in Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man," Theory and Event Vol 12, No. 2 (2009)

    "Love in the Time of Tamagotchi," Theory, Culture, & Society [Special Issue, "Ubiquitous Media"] Vol. 26, No. 2-3 (2009), 189-208.


    Research Interests:

    History of Media; Philosophy of Technology; Visual and Aural Culture; Globalization; Popular, Unpopular and Counter-Cultures.

    Awards and Honors:

    Honorary Fellow, Department of English & Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne

    Australian Academy of the Humanities Publishing Award (2004)