Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Open HistoryThe Archaeology of Retrocomputing
New Books network, Podcast
, Sep 16, 2022

Today I talked to Stefan Höltgen about his book Open History: The Archaeology of Retrocomputing (Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2021).

How can historical computers be described properly from the viewpoint of computer science? By considering media archaeology’s theory of operative and thus a-historical media computer archaeology combines an interdisciplinary set of theories and methods to answer this question. At first, the problems of computer historiography (technical inaccuracy, inconsistency, and idiosyncrasy) will be deconstructed with the help of history criticism (H. Whyte, R. G. Collingwood), discourse archaeology (M. Foucault), and media archaeology (W. Ernst). Following that, technology–oriented tools and methods are gathered for describing ‘old’ computers within an ‘archaeography’ and analyzing them within a mid-range theory. Methods of computer science (from theoretical, practical, and technical c.s.), electronics, logics, mathematics, and diagrammatics supersede hermeneutical methods of historiography. Additional tools (re-enactment, demonstration, computer philology) from media science and other disciplines complement this set of methods. The objects of the following analyzation are early microcomputers (1975-95).

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