Technosocial Futurisms and the Death of Biopolitics

June 22 - 25, 2021
3.00 - 4.45 pm (GMT +2)


 The course considers the ways in which the political management of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen overall variable mixtures or combination of disciplinary techniques of controlling movement of bodies and populations across borders, that is techniques originating within the historical context of the “plagues” (for instance segmentation, zoning, partition, forced immobility) together with biopolitical strategies of racialisation which originally developed with relation to endemic kinds of illnesses that have literally exposed some lives to death, while preserved others.  At the same time, the course argues that the return of such techniques is to be analysed within a new technosocial milieu of pervasive connectivity. In particular, the interlacing of computation and communication becomes important for the proliferation of extremely varied political movements (from #blacklivesmatter to #qanon, from mutualism to conspiracy theories).  The course reflects on how the technopolitics of the Covid-19 pandemics have posed a novel challenge to political imagination by asking questions such as: if the ongoing pandemic represents only the first of a likely series of catastrophic planetary events, how does one bring about the 'death of biopolitics' as a specific mode by which power has taken on the problem of the human species? What different political imaginaries can be opened that do not reproduce the racial grammar of biopolitics, while still enabling ways of acting within such crisis? If the political imagination of the modern age was marked by the idea of “social revolution”, how does technology figure in contemporary aspiration towards “systemic abolition” as a constituent part of revolutionary practices? What do concepts such as ethnofuturisms, cosmotechnics, speculative computation, the red stack and the technosocial contribute to such task?

The course will be divided in two blocks: the first block will be dedicated to the contemporary study of biopolitics, necropolitics, and control in the context of intelligent platforms of communication and connectivity. The second block will be focusing on the possibilitiles of technopolitical imaginations that have become central to the question of systemic abolitions (such as racial capitalism at the core of SF Capital) today.

Luciana Parisi’s research is a philosophical investigation of technology in culture, aesthetics and politics. She is a Professor in Media Philosophy at the Program in Literature and the Computational Media Art and Culture at Duke University.  She is also a co-founding member of the Critical Computation Bureau together with Ezekiel Dixon-Roman, Tiziana Terranova, Oana Parvan and Brian D'Aquino.  She is the author of Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004, Continuum Press) and Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space (2013, MIT Press). She is completing a monograph on alien epistemologies and the transformation of logical thinking in computation.

Tiziana Terranova is currently Associate Professor in Cultural Studies and Digital Media at the Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’ where she co-founded the Technoculture Research Unit ( She is also a co-founding member of the Critical Computation Bureau together with Ezekiel Dixon-Roman, Luciana Parisi, Brian D'Acquino and Oana Parvan. Her research focuses on the relation between political economy, technology, and culture in digital networks. She is the author of Network Culture: politics for the information age (Pluto Press, 2004) and numerous other essays and reviews published in newspapers, magazines, websites and journals (il manifesto, mute, social text, theory, culture and society). She is a member of the editorial board of the journals Theory, Culture and Society; New Formations; Subjectivity, and Studi Culturali. She is currently working on a new book on the entanglement of the question of the social with technology in the 21st century (Technosocial: Network Culture after Social Media. Minnesota University Press, forthcoming) and a collection of her essays on automation, neurocapitalism, social cooperation and the common is also to be published soon by Semiotext(e).