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Heidi Brush December 15, 1999



The history of computers has largely followed a teleological model in which each phase of computer technology seemingly inevitably built upon the mastery of its predecessors, slowly and surely evolving towards a more flawless, and thus more perfect, technological execution. Histories such as Martin Campbell-Kelley and William Asprays Computer. A History of the Information Machine and Herman H. Goldstines The Computer from Pascal to Von Neumann provide chronological accounts of the development of computer technology, emphasizing and essentializing the contributions of individual inventors and mathematicians. Both Campbell-Kelley and Asprays accounts emphasize the individual genius behind each new invention or innovation in the history of computers. For example, both books emphasize the contributions of Charles Babbages difference engine and analytical engine of the early 19th century. Divorcing Babbage from societal and cultural factors, the authors privilege Babbages intellectual predecessors , De Prony and Jacquard, as if his inventions occurred in a purely theoretical space predetermined by his forefathers. Although Campbell-Kelley and Aspray do mention the influence of Adam

Smith on Babbages works in economics and system design, other broader contexts, such as the early 19th century debates over technologization and mechanization of labor, are virtually ignored. These works also presume an unchanging and uncomplicated notion of calculation, one that persists to the present day. Mechanical calculation and computation are presented as a technological improvement over the fallibility of human operators. Inventors like Babbage are presented as improving the process of calculation through application of mechanical design in order to increase the speed and efficiency of calculation. These traditional, teleological accounts of computer history ignore the discourses of scientific rationalism circulating throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, and the central role of numbers, mathematics and calculation. Ian Hacking offers a reading of both the social implications of quantification and Babbages role in its emergence: After 1800 or so there is an avalanche of numbers, most notably in the social sciences . . . Perhaps a turning point was signaled in 1832, the year that Charles Babbage, inventor of the digital computer, published his brief pamphlet urging publication of all the constant numbers known in the sciences and the arts (Hacking in Crary 17). Although Hacking acknowledges a more complex emergence, he nonetheless attributes this to a single action by a single subject. Hackings account falls into the trap of the great man vision of history. A more nuanced reading is offered by Jonathan Crary in his

Techniques of the Observer in which he stresses the role of quantification as a disciplinary technique of modernity in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Borrowing from the work of Michel Foucault, Crary discusses the role of quantification and statistics in the normalization of the subject: The assessment of normality in medicine, psychology, and other fields became an essential part of the shaping of the individual to

the requirements of institutional power in the nineteenth century (Crary 16). Crary follows Foucault in rejecting a subject-based version of history as the result of individual actors. Instead, Crary approaches his history of vision and modernity of the 19th century as a genealogy by way of Foucault. Crary quotes Foucaults notion of genealogy as inspiration for his own work : I dont believe the problem can be solved by historicizing the subject as posited by the phenomenologists, fabricating a subject that evolves through the course of history. One has to dispense with the constituent subject, to get rid of the subject itself, thats to say, to arrive at an analysis which can account for the constitution of the subject within a historical framework. An this is what I would call genealogy, that is, a form of history which can account for the constitution of knowledges, discourses, domains of objects, etc., without having to make reference to a subject which is either transcendental in relation to a field of events or runs its empty sameness throughout the course of history (Foucault in Crary 6). Crarys genealogy of the camera obscura emphasizes historical contingency and variability by discussing technology as embedded in a complex network of mechanical techniques, institutional requirements, and socioeconomic forces (8). Crarys genealogy resists the downfalls of technological determinism by insisting that technology is always a concomitant or subordinate part of other forces (8). In A Thousand Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze offers further instruction away from a technological determinism: A society is defined by its amalgamations, not by its tools . . . tools exist only in relation to the interminglings they make possible or that make them impossible (90). This complex interplay of technology amongst dynamic social and cultural forces has obviously been ignored by the authors of traditional computer histories. The histories of Campbell-Kelly and Aspray and Goldstine fall into the traps of technological determinism and teleological history.

In this prospectus, I locate the need to perform a genealogical analysis of computer technologies, especially the emergence of computers in the early 19th century. Rejecting traditional, teleological histories, I turn to Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault in order to understand the theoretical and methodological imperatives for performing a genealogy. Nietzsches On the Genealogy of Morals and Foucaults Nietzsche, Genealogy, History represent the most lucid and influential theories and practices of genealogical analysis. After my readings of Nietzsche and Foucault, I will then address historical accounts of early computer technologies and illuminate their strengths and weaknesses. Next, I will read these traditional histories against Foucaults chapter Docile Bodies in Discipline and Punish, both in order to enhance Foucaults own genealogy of mechanization, control and efficiency, but also to apply a genealogical approach to the emergence of the computer. Finally, I will discuss Lorraine Dastons article that attempts a more nuanced and genealogical approach to the meachaization of calculation and computation. I will close with a discussion of the need for a genealogy of the both early and contemporary computer technologies , and indications for future areas of exploration.

II. GENEALOGY IN THEORY: NIETZSCHE AND FOUCAULT XXX full range of meaning. In the Preface to The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche advises, To be sure, one thing is necessary above all if one is to practice reading as an art in this way, something that has been unlearned most thoroughly nowadays and therefore it will be some time before my writings are readable something for which one has almost to

be a cow and in any case not a modern man: rumination (GM 23). To be sure, rumination becomes necessary, as Nietzsche relies upon paradox, metaphor, irony, aestheticism and perspectivism in both his style and content. Nietzsches perspectivism resists the notion of a fixed interpretation, instead insisting that every view is only one among many possible interpretations. However, and perhaps paradoxically, Nietzsche does want to insist that his interpretations are better than others, and so he relies upon his ideal reader, the free spirit to recognize that everything is an interpretation and instead of immobilizing, this recognition spurs the free spirit on towards generation of new ideas (Nehamas 2-5). The free play of ideas is employed by Nietzsche through his use of style- - from aphorism to metaphor to poetry, Nietzsches writing avoids systematization, and instead relies on a principle of aesthetics which understands the world through artistic models. Nietzsches style, then, if read as a work of art, In Nietzsche. Life As Literature,

encourages active and creative interpretations.

Alexander Nehamas recognizes the link between Nietzsches style and his resistance to fixed meaning or interpretation: Nietzsche uses his changing genres and styles in order to make his presence as an author literally unforgettable and in order to prevent his readers from overlooking the fact that his views necessarily originate with him. He depends upon many styles in order to suggest there is no single, neutral language in which his views, or any others, can ever be presented. His constant stylistic presence shows that theories are as various and idiosyncratic as the writing in which they are embodied (37). Nietzsches style, then is inseparable from his content - - both foreground the individual perspective which spurs the reader toward yet another unique interpretation. In order to interpret a text, the reader must undertake a genealogical analysis. In kind, reading the world as a text, Nietzsche performs a genealogical analysis of morality in his

Genealogy of Morals. In Nietzsche and Philosophy, Gilles Deleuze defines genelaogy as such: Genealogy means both the value of origin and the origin of values. Genealogy is as opposed to absolute values as it is to relative or utilitarian ones. Genealogy signifies the differential element from which their value itself derives. Genealogy thus means origin or birth , but also difference or distance in the origin. Genealogy means nobility and baseness, nobility and vulgarity, nobility and decadence in the origin. The noble and the vulgar, the high and the low this is the truly genealogical and critical element. But, understood in this way, critique is also at its most positive. The differential element is both a critique of the value of values and the positive element of a creation. This is why critique is never conceived by Nietzsche as a reaction but as an action (2). Nietzsches genealogical analysis of morality operates at two levels: 1) a historical deconstruction of the terms involved in order to understand how these conditions developed and 2) an etymological and grammatical analysis of the terms involved (Allison xx-xxi). Nietzsches historical deconstruction revolves around the two questions that he asks in the Preface to his Genealogy of Morals: under what conditions did man devise these value judgments good and evil? and what value do they themselves

posses? (GM 17). Nietzsches genealogical approach embraces his perspectivism as he relates, I discovered and ventured divers answers; I distinguished between ages, peoples, degrees of rank among individuals; I departmentalized my problem; out of my answers there grew new questions, inquiries, conjectures, probabilities until at length I had a country of my own, a soil of my own, an entire discrete, thriving flourishing world, like a secret garden the existence of which no one suspected. Oh how fortunate we are, we men of knowledge, provided only that we know how to keep silent long enough! (GM 17). So Nietzsche establishes the historical and social conditions under which moral systems developed in order to reveal that these morals can then be read as a product of the age and social climate. David Allison succinctly interprets this passage as allowing

moral values to be variously understood as (or in terms of) its consequences, as the symptom of an age, as a mask, as self-righteousness, as the cause of a subsequent state of affairs, as the remedy to a prior state of affairs, as a stimulant, or, even, as a poison (xx). So, Nietzsche proceeds from necessity to interrogate the foundations of morality: we need a critique of moral values, the value of these values themselves must first be called into question and for that there is needed a knowledge of the conditions and circumstances in which they grew, under which they evolved and changed (GM 20). Nietzsche positions his Genealogy of Morals against attempts at arising at the origins of morality by English psychologists of his time. These psychologists, called by Nietzsche old, cold, and tedious frogs employed an ahistorical analysis, deciding that that which is called good was that which originally was useful. Nietzsche decries, the historical spirit is lacking in them, that precisely all the good spirits of history itself have left them in the lurch! (GM 25). Instead, Nietzsche urges a genealogical approach in order to locate the historical moment of the moralization of various values, practices and ways of life. Michel Foucault echoes this search for the historical contingencies of meaning, writing the genealogust finds that there is something altogether different behind things: not a timeless and essential secret, but the secret that they have no essence or that their essence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms (Foucault in Nehamas 142). So, Nietzsches genealogy underscores the idea that morals arose through complex negotiations between master and slave moralities, tracing the dominance of the slave morality as the institutionalization and dominance of Christianity and its spirit of ressentiment. Premoral values (good/noble; bad/base) were reversed by Christianity so that that which was previously good and noble became evil and baseness became coded

as goodness (Nehamas 113). Through genealogical analysis, Nietzsche locates a better way to understand the moralization of values as a result of historical contingencies. Nietzsches second approach to genealogy relies upon etymological and grammatical analyses of such terms as good, bad and evil. Proceeding from the question, what was the real etymological significance of the designation good coined in various languages?, Nietzsche begins his etymological enterprise by examining the words which indicated commonness for the Greek nobility, noting that these words inevitably suggest connotations of pity, whereas bad, low, unhappy have never ceased to sound to the Greek ear as one note with a tome-color in which unhappy preponderate: this is an inheritance from the ancient nobler aristocratic mode of evaluation, which does not belie itself even in its contempt (- philologists should recall the sense in which oizyros, anolbos, tlemon, dysrychein, xymphora are employed) (GM 38). Nietzsches

philological training comes into further evidence as he uses etymology to establish the premoral correlation between nobility and goodness (as the noble find goodness to be synonymous with personal identity). This etymological correlation in several languages between goodness-nobility and commonness-badness suggests a grammar common to all of the presuppositions underlying Western thought. Through etymological analysis,

Nietzsche claims that he has uncovered the common grammar of Western culture, writing in Beyond Good and Evil : That individual philosophical concepts are not anything capricious or autonomously evolving, but grow up in connection and with each other; that, however suddenly and arbitrarily they seem to appear in the history of thought, they nevertheless belong just as much to a system as the members of the fauna of a continent is betrayed. . . by the fact that the most diverse philosophers keep filling in a definite fundamental theme of possible philosophies (Nietzsche in Allison xvi).

Through examination of the etymology and grammar of values, Nietzsches genealogy functions to reveal that morality was constructed out of historical and cultural contingencies. In other words, the dominant values of the last 2000 years (as Nietzsche calls them, slave values) are not natural and not given, although they had been naturalized to the degree that they have been taken to be intrinsic to Western society. Nietzsche de-naturalizes these values through his genealogical approach and perspectivism, revealing that these values were just one site of values among many others. In short, Nietzsches style provides a rich and labyrinthine text which provokes active readings and exegeses. Each sentence dense with implications, Nietzsche complicates his narrative through activation of perspectivism, the position which contends that truth does not exist, only interpretations. Addressing the active and creative free spirits who embrace perspectivism, In order to answer the questions under what conditions did human beings devise these value judgments good and evil? and what value do they themselves possess?, Nietzsche uses a genealogical approach to reveal the history of the moralization of values and practices. The genealogical approach operates on two levels: first, historical deconstruction and second, etymological and grammatical analysis. Nietzsches genealogical approach reveals his idiosyncratic reading of the set of historical contingencies which determined Christian morality and dogma, relying upon the tools of the archaeologist, linguist and historian - - that is, what is documented, what can actually be confirmed and has actually existed, in short the entire long hieroglyphic record, so hard to decipher, of the moral past of humanity! (GM 21). So too must Nietzsches active reader evaluate, interpret and translate Nietzsches own evanescent

and ever-morphing style, while finally accepting Nietzsches Genealogy as one (compelling and seductive) interpretations among many others. Michel Foucault acknowledged his indebtedness to Nietzsche while enunciating his own uses of genealogy in his 1970 Nietzsche, Genealogy, History. Foucault begins his essay by asserting that [g]enealogy is gray, meticulous, and patiently documentary. (76). Like traditional history, genealogy requires voluminous amounts of source

materials coupled with a tireless erudition (76-77). However, genealogy is directly opposed to traditional history, especially through genealogys dictum to reject the search for origins, indeed laughing at the solemnities of origins. (77-79) According to Wendy Brown, Foucault defines genealogy negatively (through what it is not) by counterposing genealogy against traditional teleological history and metaphysics (Brown 36). Genealogy not only requires the tools of the historian in the form of archives and annals, it also requires the grand narratives of traditional history in order to write the neglected narratives. Foucault uses Nietzsches notions of descent and emergence against origin-seeking, traditional, teleological history. Asking why Nietzsche-as-genealogist rejects origins, Foucault writes, First, because it is an attempt to capture the exact essence of things; their purest possibilities, and their carefully protected identities; because this search assumes the existence of immobile forms that precede the external world of accident and succession. . . However, if the genealogist refuses to extend his faith in metaphysics, if he listens to history, he finds there is something altogether different behind things: not a timeless and essential secret, but the secret that they have no essence or that their essence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms (Foucault 78). As opposed to traditional historys metaphysical ideal of the origin, Foucault writes [w]hat is found at the historical beginning of things is not the inviolable identity of their origin; it


is the dissension of other things. It is disparity (79). This technique of locating the chance and contingencies of historical beginnings is Nietzsche and Foucaults notion of descent. Locating these discursive and ironic beginnings is the task of genealogy, showing that the past actively exists in the present, that it continues secretly to animate the present, having imposed a predetermined form on all its vicissitudes. . . to follow the complex course of descent is to maintain passing events in their proper dispersion; it is to identify the accidents, the minute deviations (81). So, no metaphysical ideal of an origin underwrites the past in genealogy. Rather, descent as the complexity and contingency of historical events is an unstable assemblage of faults, fissures, and heterogeneous layers that threaten the fragile inheritor from within or from underneath (82). Unlike the neat and unproblematized traditional histories, the search for descent disturbs what was previously considered immobile; it fragments what was thought unified; it shows the heterogeneity of what was imagined consistent with itself (87). This is a history that perpetually rewrites itself through ever-morphing chains of connection and

disconnection, searching for the errors which gave rise to our current institutions and values (Prado 35-6). As descent reveals the complexity and contingency of historical events, emergence shows historical events to be the result of the blind conflict of the hazardous play of dominations. Emergence demonstrates genealogys diametrical opposition with

teleological history by refusing historical development, and instead asserting that institutions and values are merely the current episodes in a series of subjugations (83). As a struggle of forces, emergence refuses a history of intentional actors - - no one is responsible for an emergence; no one can glory in it, since it always occurs in the


interstice (85). Therefore, a genealogy does not discuss individual actors as makers of history. Instead, it traces the entry of forces. . .. their eruption, the leap from the wings to centre stage (84). Wendy Brown argues that Foucault explains genealogy itself as an embattled emergence - something that must fight for place, something that must displace other conventions of history, in order to prevail (Brown 35). Refusing the search for origins and teleology of traditional history, descent and emergence work together in what Nietzsche calls wirkliche Historie, or effective history. Foucault characterizes effective history as historical spirit or sense (86). Effective history, or historical sense, rejects traditional historys belief in objectivity and absolutism: It always questions the form of history that reintroduces (and always assumes) a suprahistorical perspective; a history whose function is to compose the finally reduced diversity of time into a totality fully closed upon itself; a history that always encourages subjective recognitions and attributes a form of reconciliation to all the displacements of the past; a history whose perspective on all that precedes it implies the end of time, a completed development. The historians history finds its support outside of time and pretends to base its judgments on an apocalyptic objectivity. This is only possible, however, because of the belief in eternal truth, the immortality of the soul, and the nature of consciousness as always identical to itself (86-87). Traditional history and metaphysics, then, are mutually implicated: stepping outside of time, the traditional historian assumes a distance from history and contingency that allows a neat uninterrupted linear progress to the inevitable present.



In Discipline and Punish, Foucault performs his own genealogical analysis of the disciplining of bodies and the incarceration of deviant bodies and practices. In his chapter entitled Docile Bodies, Foucault explores the emergence of disciplinary practices on the body, especially the bodies of soldiers, students and workers during the age of Enlightenment. Scientization and a rhetoric of economy ordered every notion of being. Foucault writes of the crisp and decisive transformation of a man into a soldier: a calculated constraint runs slowly through each part of the body, mastering it, making it pliable, ready at all times, turning silently into the automatism of habit; in short, one has got rid of the peasant and given him the air of a soldier (Discipline 145). Calculation and economy infuse the logic of scientific rationalism and merge in the pursuit of mechanizing calculation through the creation and construction of early computers. The history of the computer is inseparable from emergent discourses of efficiency and the division of labor, scientific management, industrialization, and the intense debates surrounding the utopian and dystopian visions of technology. A

genealogical analysis of these early computers must emphasize the contingencies of their creation and the uses toward which they were to be employed. Also, computers have rarely been discussed in traditional histories of industrialization, rationality, or intellectual histories of the early 19th century. Indeed, even Foucault neglects to mention the history of computers in Discipline and Punish, although its connection to discourses of efficiency, utility, analytical space, and the division of labor are clear. In his chapter entitled Docile Bodies, Foucault discusses the body as object and target of power during the classical age. During a time of calculated control, the body entered a machinery of power that explored it, breaks it down and rearranges it. A political anatomy, which was also a mechanics of power , was being born; it defined how one may have a


hold over others bodies, not only so they may do what one wishes, with the techniques, the speed and the efficiency that one determines. Thus discipline produces subjected and practiced bodies, docile bodies (Discipline 138). However, the application of techniques of speed and efficiency applied to the body would always have its downfall in the fallibility of the human body. This problem of human error is frequently cited as a reason for the invention of machines, including, and especially, computers. Locating the emergence of computers involves an unraveling of the

intricacies of the ways in which scientific rationalism began to infuse the economy, the home and the body. From 1778-1830, Great Britain was the site of heated conflicts surrounding technology. Workers feared the loss of independence brought about by the mechanization and industrialization leading to an eventual replacement of skilled artisans with machines. As Eric Hobsbawm writes, A new industrial system based on a new technology thus emerged with remarkable speed and ease among the rainy farms and villages of Lancashire. But it emerged . . . by a combination of the novel and the old-established. The new prevailed over the old. Capital accumulated within industry replaced the mortgages of farms and the savings of innkeepers, engineers the inventive weavers-cum-carpenters, power-looms the handweavers, and a factory proletariat the combination of a few mechanized establishments with a mass of dependent dominant workers (42). Most histories of the computer begin by discussing a single mathematician, Charles Babbage and his inventions, the difference engine and the analytical engine. For

example, in The Computer from Pascal to Von Neumann, Herman Goldstine asserts that the impetus for the invention of the computer came from Babbages desire to create a machine that could be automated to perform the monotonous task of calculating logarithmic tables (13). Goldstines history, as evidenced by the very title of his book, presents a clean teleological history of individual mathematicians building on the


developments of their intellectual predecessors. Goldstine assembles a progressive linear history, as when he unproblematically claims that Babbage got the idea for his difference engine from the Jacquard loom. Similarly Goldstine positions Babbage as one link in the great chain leading up to modern computers when he likens Babbages analytical engine to the Harvard-IBM machine Mark I (19). When Goldstine does acknowledge a sociohistorical context to Babbages work, it only manifests as a listing of other notable technological innovations of the time, such as James Watts steam-engine and the 1830 Manchester & Liverpool railway (12). Goldstines history is typical - - it erases the complexities of influences behind and surrounding the development of computers, and places the responsibility for its creation on single, exceptional inventors. Against these traditional histories of the computer, Lorraine Dastons article, Enlightenment Calculations discusses the emergence of a new notion of calculation in the early 19th century and its role in the discourse of scientific rationalism and in the development of the first computers. Daston begins her narrative at the zero point of computer development, back to the time when computer signified a person who performs calculations, rather than the name of the machine. On the 20 Brumaire, Year II (1793) of the first French republic, during the Festival of Reason, Gaspard Riche de Prony worked on his own celebration of scientific rationality - - 17 folios of logarithmic and trigonometric tables commissioned by the French government as part of a surveying census project. De Prony was urged to leave nothing to desire with respect to

exactitude, but [also to be] the most vast and imposing monument to calculation ever executed or even conceived (De Prony in Daston 183). Daston emphasizes the historical contingency of these calculating tables: due to financing problems, the tables were never


used, as they calculated only decimal divisions of quadrants - - a metrical practice of measurement which was abandoned by the French government. De Pronys tables

became, in Dastons words, pure monuments to reason, exceptional expressions of calculation divorced from praxis. De Pronys work emerged during a historical moment marked by the changing notion of calculation. Until the early nineteenth century, calculation was considered to be a higher mental function, restricted to the mastery of mathematicians and philosophers. Daston notes that by the early 19th century, calculation was shifting its field of associations, drifting from the neighborhood of intelligence to that of something very like its opposite and sliding from the company of savants and philosophes into that of unskilled laborers (186). Calculation became associated with repetitive unskilled labor. Daston locates the emergence of this new notion of calculation in Pronys calculation of ten thousand sine values to twenty five decimal places during the French Revolution and later in his conversions of logartmiic tables into the metric system (186). In order to accomplish this massive task, Prony looked to the organizational model of the division of labor suggested by Adam Smiths The Wealth of Nations. Prony

systematized his task of calculation into three tiers demarcated by skill level. This intellectual division of labor placed excellent mathematicians who would arrive at the analytic formulae at the top, seven or eight calculators who would deduce the numbers to be used in the middle, and 70 or 80 computers who would perform reams of addition and subtraction by hand (188). Daston claims that this organizational strategy pushed calculation away from intelligence and towards work (190). Associating calculation with unskilled labor represents the shift necessary for the impetus to mechanize


calculation, and replace human computers with machines. Unskilled human computers were positioned as having no particular intellectual qualities, therefore later mathematicians such as Charles Babbage could easily envision replacing these dull toilers with a machine. Daston writes, [o]nce calculation had become mechanical, it opposed not only intellect but also every genuine, spontaneous moral impulse, even life itself" (200). Calculation coded as inhuman marks a point of emergence for the In short, Dastons historical descent locates the

mechanization of calculation.

contingencies that gave rise to the emergence of the achieved dominance of calculation as the domain of machine labor.



OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGIES Applying the techniques of Nietzsche and Foucault, I suggest that a history of computer technologies should involve genealogical analysis. Computer technologies are frequently described as following a neat. teleological development from Babbages engines to supercomputers to microcomputers towards a future vision of more efficient and seamless computer technologies. These traditional histories of the computer divorce technological development from larger social and cultural forces, while privileging individual agents like Babbage as individual actors effecting technological change. Instead, a genealogical analysis involving the techniques of descent and emergence exposes a more complex


effective history, a history of discontinuous beginnings and coming-to-be as a product of blind conflict. Nietzsche and Foucaults emphasis on contingency, a disbelief in master-narratives and a rejection of teleology all, of course, have come to the forefront in discussions concerning postmodernism and postmodernist history (see especially Fredric Jameson, Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard). A postmodern approach to computer technology has proliferated in discussions of contemporary computer media, especially concerning the internet, virtual reality, and the merging of human and machine. Contemporary computer technology (especially in the U. S.) typically is discusses in the hyper-language of postmodernism. Consider the following quotation by Scott Bukatman: There has arisen a new crisis of visibility and control over a new electronically defined reality. It has become increasingly difficult to separate the human from the technological, and this is true rhetorically and phenomenologically (Bukatman 2). A radical shift has apparently occurred, necessitating the language of postmodernism to accommodate new computer technologies. Fredric Jameson also associates the computer with a radical break, calling them machines of reproduction rather than of production. Jamesons use of history applied to technology can be seen in his Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism: What must then immediately be observed is that the technology of our own moment no longer possess this same capacity for representation: not the turbine, nor even Sheelers grain elevators or smokestacks, not the baroque


elaboration of pipes and conveyor belts nor even the streamlined profile of the railroad train all vehicles of speed still concentrated at rest but rather the computer, whose outer shell has no emblematic or visual power, or even the casings of the various media themselves, as with that home appliance called television which articulates nothing but rather implodes, carrying its flattened image surface within itself (79). Jameson asserts a discontinuity between industrial and post-industrial technologies. Jameson does imply the genealogical notion of descent in the sense that he stresses the discontinuous nature of beginnings, but his methodology directly contradicts the technique of emergence, as Jameson posits a radical historical break but yet a historical continuation of the teleological march of capitalism from early to late capitalism. So, new computer technologies are frequently discussed using methodologies that oppose traditional histories. However, these anti-teleological accounts which elide acting subjects nonetheless imply a stable and traditional early history of computer technologies. Rather than replicate this division of traditional histories of early computing and postmodern theorizing of new computer technologies, I suggest approaching the history (and history as the present) of computer technologies by way of a genealogical approach. Looking for the errors that gave rise to beginnings and viewing coming-to-be as the product of blind conflict endows genealogy with the ability to reject totalizing and teleological history and yet embrace what Nietzsche called the historical spirit. Those historians who rely on traditional histories of early computer technologies have ignored Foucaults reminder that the past actively exists in the present, that it continues secretly to animate the present.


Continuing in the spirit of Nietzsche and Foucault, my future areas of inquiry include conducting a genealogical analysis of both early and current computer technologies. As Foucault reminds us, the task of genealogy requires massive source materials and relentless erudition. Therefore, this prospectus provides only the groundwork form which to later apply the gray, meticulous, and patiently documentary task of genealogy.