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The Berkeley Center for New Media Presents – The Human Computer in the Stone Age: Technology, Prehistory, and the Redefinition of the Human after World War II

After World War II, new concepts and metaphors of technology helped transform the understanding of human history all the way back to the australopithecines. Using concepts from cybernetics and information theory as much as from ethnology and osteology, scientists and philosophers reorganized the fossil record using a truly global array of fossils, and in the process fundamentally re-conceptualized deep time, nature, and the assemblage that is humanity itself. This paper examines three ways in which technological prehistory, that most distant, speculative, and often just weird field, came to reorganize the ways European and American thinkers and a lay public thought about themselves, their origins, and their future.

About Stefanos Geroulanos
Stefanos Geroulanos is Professor of History at New York University. He is the author of Transparency in Postwar France (2017), co-author of The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe: Brittleness, Integration, Science, and the Great War (2018), and co-editor of The Scaffolding of Sovereignty (2017). He is also a Co-Executive Editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas.

About the History and Theory of New Media Lecture Series
The History and Theory of New Media Lecture Series brings to campus leading humanities scholars working on issues of media transition and technological emergence. The series promotes new, interdisciplinary approaches to questions about the uses, meanings, causes, and effects of rapid or dramatic shifts in techno-infrastructure, information management, and forms of mediated expression. Presented by the Berkeley Center for New Media, these events are free and open to the public.