Seb Franklin: "Value and slavery, or the longue durée of the analog-digital distinction” [res. Paul Nadal]

Oct 24, 2023, 12:00 pm1:30 pm
S118 (School of Architecture)


Event Description

Graduate Program in Media + Modernity | Princeton University


Seb Franklin

"Value and slavery, or the longue durée of the analog-digital distinction”

[Response: Paul Nadal]

Tuesday, October 24, 2023 @12pm ET

S118 (School of Architecture)


:: Please note that this event will start at 12:00 pm instead of 5:00 pm, and that it will take place in Room S118, instead of Room N107 ::


In this talk I theorise the analog and the digital as bundles of concepts, feelings, and attachments whose origins long precede the technical media most commonly associated with them. Beginning from Hari Kunzru’s 2017 novel White Tears, which overtly connects analog media fetishism to an extractive fascination with racial blackness, I argue through readings of media history, Lacanian and Marxist theory, and Black studies that the prevailing notions of analog and digital emerged from and remain animated by the network of relations that shaped specifically capitalist notions of ‘free’ labor, slavery, and indenture. In so doing, I propose Richard Ligon’s 1657 True and Exact History of Barbados as an exemplary text for a media theory of social form.


Seb Franklin is Reader in Literature, Media, and Theory in the Department of English at King’s College London. He is the author of The Digitally Disposed: Racial Capitalism and the Informatics of Value (2021) and Control: Digitality as Cultural Logic (2015).


Paul Nadal is Assistant Professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University. An interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of literature and economy, he is completing a book on novels and remittances in the Philippine diaspora, a chapter of which appeared in American Quarterly and won the Best Essay Prize from the American Literature Society. 


M+M strives to make everyone feel welcome. If you are concerned that room S118 will not provide adequate physical accommodation for you, please contact us in advance to discuss it.