Anthony Stagliano

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First name: 
Anthony
Last name: 
Stagliano
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I am an assistant professor of English at New Mexico State University, studying digital rhetoric and media. My current research project will include a monograph and related multimedia components. This project is called Tactical Theory. Changes in media technologies and practices have begun rearranging the relationship between cultural production and knowledge production in the arts and humanities and social sciences. Digital Humanities research and related phenomena bend research toward styles of “making” that include production of artifacts that used to be objects of analysis and criticism. From the arts there has been a broad “research turn,” in which conceptual, critical, and social questions are raised in the production of “artistic” works. Meanwhile, there has been a broad call across the humanities and social sciences to think what comes after “critique” and “critical theory.” These are not unrelated; the “making” turn in theoretical and critical disciplines; the “research turn” in art-making; and the appeal for another theoretical methodology to follow critique are all related to significant shifts in the techniques and technologies of production and expression of knowledge. I will argue in Tactical Theory that we can diagnose at the four-way intersection described above—practice and theory intersecting; cultural production and knowledge production intersecting—an emerging “tactical” theory that comes after critique. Tactical theory is tactical in that it is situated in a kind of conceptual enactment that blurs the theory-practice distinction, and intervenes through making and remaking, rather than critically demystifying. The concepts emerging in tactical theory practices are made in part of objects, like the objects of object-oriented programming (and the ontological philosophy that takes its name from that), in that they are locally bounded, oriented out to an audience, and materially-situated and enacted. The concepts of tactical theory are not (always) written in the languages of the academy, but as often in coding languages; hacks; printed with 3-D printers, and so on. Diagnosing tactical theory rearranges the strategies (and tactics) available to theoretical (post)humanities and invites the inventional efforts needed toward building the techniques that come after critique, if we are not to sink unthinkingly into neoliberal forms of life.

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