• Faculty

  • Dominic Pettman

    University Professor of Media and New Humanities


    Office Location
    B - 65 West 11th Street

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    Dominic Pettman


    Dominic Pettman is University Professor of Media and New Humanities. He has held previous positions at the University of Melbourne, the University of Geneva, the University of Amsterdam, and the American University of Paris. His courses pose questions relatng to posthumanism, critical theory, Continental Philosophy, cultural studies, digital culture, animal studies, sound studies, new media, environmental humanities, and affect theory.

    His first book, After the Orgy: Toward a Politics of Exhaustion, was based on his dissertation, and explored the intersections between decadence, technology, transgression and apocalyptic rhetoric.

    His 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.

    His 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).

    His fourth book, Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines, 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.

    His fifth book, Look at the Bunny: Totem, Taboo, Technology, explores five case studies concerning the totemic power of the technical image.

    His sixth book, 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.

    His seventh book, Infinite Distraction, pays attention to social media, arguing that we are being "hyper-modulated" by dominant platforms, like Facebook and Twitter.

    His eighth book, Humid, All too Humid, is a collection of aphoristic "overheated observations" about contemporary culture and media.

    His ninth book, Sonic Intimacy: Voice, Species, Technics, encourages readers to listen to the many non-human voices that we are unaccustomed to hearing.

    His tenth book, Creaturely Love, explores the ways in which desire makes us more - and less - than human.

    His eleventh book, Metagestures, co-written with Carla Nappi, explores the use of fiction as a tool to write and think with works of theory.

    His twelfth book, The Humid Condition, is a second series of "overheated observations." 

    And his most recent book, Peak Libido: Sex, Ecology, and the Collapse of Desire, examines the provocative notion that we are running out libidinal energy, along with other planetary resources. 

    Visit dominicpettman.com for more information. 

    Degrees Held

    PhD, University of Melbourne

    Recent Publications


    Peak Libido: Sex, Ecology, and the Collapse of Desire (Polity, 2021)

    The Humid Condition (Punctum, 2020)

    Metagestures (Punctum, 2019)

    Creaturely Love: How Desire Makes Us More and Less Than Human (Minnesota, 2017)

    Sonic Intimacy: Voice, Species, Technics (Stanford, 2017)

    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 

    “Gesture and Posthistory,” in Understanding Flusser/Understanding Modernism, edited by Aaron Jaffe and Michael Miller (forthcoming, Bloomsbury, 2021).

    Netflix and Chills: On Digital Distraction During the Global Quarantine,” boundary 2 online, April 29, 2020. 

    The Mole and the Serpent: Totemic Approaches to Societies of Control,” Coils of the Serpent: Journal for the Study of Contemporary Power. Special Issue on Gilles Deleuze. July 29, 2020. 

    The Species Withouth Qualities: Critical Media Theory and the Posthumanities,” boundary 2 online, April 23, 2019. 

    Get Thee to a Phalanstery (or How Charles Fourier Can Still Teach Us To Make Lemonade,” Public Domain Review, May 1, 2019. 

    “20 Theses on Memetic Desire,” in Post-Memes: Seizing The Memes of Production, edited by Alfie Bown and Dan Bristow (Punctum Press, 2019).

    Remember Baudrillard: On the Ecstasies of Posthumous Communication,” Public Seminar, November 2, 2018. 

    “Animal Affection,” in The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies, edited by Lynn Turner and Ron Broglio (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2018).

    “Just Another Manic Monad: Of Glass, Bees, and Glass Bees,” Discourse (2017).

    “Invasion of the Mind Snatchers: Ideas, Otherness, and the New Digital Vectors of Infection,” Social Research International Quarterly (special issue on “Invasive Others,” 2017).

    The Gesture of Photographing,” Thresholds (2017) [with Carla Nappi]

    “Love Reconsidered: An Interview with Dominic Pettman,” in The Materiality of Love, eds. Ania Malinowska and Karolina Lebek (Routledge, 2017).

    “Animal Affection,” in The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies, edited by Lynn Turner and Ron Broglio (forthcoming, Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

    Some Remarks on the Legacy of Madame Francine Descartes – First Lady and Historian of the Robocene – on the Occasion of 500 Years Since her Unlawful Watery Execution,” Public Domain Review, Conjectures series, edited by D. Graham Burnett, January 2017.

    “A Horse is Being Beaten: On Nietzsche’s Equinimity,” Digital Dionysus: Nietzsche and the Network-centric Condition, edited by Dan Mellamphy and Nandita Biswas Mellamphy (Punctum Press, 2016).

    Lulu and the Centaur: Photographic Traces of Creaturely Love,” Necsus (Spring, 2015). 

    “Electric Caresses: Rilke, Balthus, and Mitsou,” Cabinet, no. 50, Fall 2015.

    “The Nude in the Library: Playboy and the Card Catalog,” Public Seminar, Nov 27, 2015.

    Pizza Rat: Totem of Our Time,” Public Seminar, October 23, 2015.

    The Screech Within Speech,” Sounding Out, July 16, 2015.

    Wings of Desire,” Cabinet, no. 55, Winter 2015.

    Legislating the Libido: On the New Censorship Laws in the UK,” Public Seminar, December 29, 2014. 

    Working Around God: Technology, the Pace of Life, and the Shabbos Elevator,” The Atlantic, Object Lessons Series, June 14, 2014.

    MOOCs: Herding Education to the Slaughterhouse?” Mute magazine, May 23, 2014.

    The Tumblrst Tumbl Ever Tumbld: or, How I found the Angel of History Trapped on the Flypaper of Social Media,” Los Angeles Review of Books, February 20, 2014.

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

    “The Orc and the Penguin,” Cabinet, no. 50, Summer 2013.

    So You Think You Can Think: How I Taught a Course on Reality TV by Turning My It Into a Reality TV Competition,” Inside Higher Ed, 26 August 2013.

    The Noble Cabbage: A Review of Michael Marder’s Plant-Thinking,” Los Angeles Review of Books, July 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

    Posthumanism, critical media theory, Continental Philosophy, cultural studies, digital culture, animal studies, sound studies, environmental humanities, and affect theory.

    Awards And Honors

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

    Australian Academy of the Humanities Publishing Award (2004)


    Personal Website

    Current Courses

    First Year Seminar
    LNGC 1400, Fall 2023

    Independent Senior Project
    LCST 4990, Fall 2023

    Independent Study
    LCST 3950, Fall 2023

    Independent Study
    GLIB 6990, Fall 2023

    Thesis Supervision
    NMDS 5960, Fall 2023

    Who Comes After the Human?
    UTNS 5119, Fall 2023

    Future Courses

    Independent Study
    GLIB 6990, Spring 2024

    Independent Study
    NMDS 5920, Spring 2024

    Sad Planets
    UTNS 5114, Spring 2024

    Sad Planets
    GLIB 5152, Spring 2024

    What Was the Human
    GLIB 5149, Spring 2024

    Past Courses

    Independent Study
    GLIB 6990, Spring 2023

    Posthuman Eros
    GLIB 5023, Spring 2023

    Thesis Supervision
    NMDS 5960, Spring 2023

    Unexpected Media
    LCST 2302, Spring 2023

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