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The Machine has No Tradition (Summer 2023)

A seminar on technology and politics.

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The Machine has No Tradition (Summer 2023)
The Machine has No Tradition (Summer 2023)

Time & Location

Jul 09, 2023, 7:00 PM EDT – Jul 15, 2023, 7:00 PM EDT

Harvard University’s CGIS Knafel Bldg

About the Event

The distinctive feature of life today is that our lives appear to be technologically liberated from nature. We live in human-made physical, social and virtual environments. The human condition is unbundled, disrupted, and made optional, even as supposed human distinctives like speech, creation, and rationality are automated, simulated, and replicated.

The spectre of technology raises afresh the question: what is a human being, and what does it take to stay one?

In this immersive weeklong seminar, we will grapple with the essence of technology and life in a technological society. We will explore how technology is reshaping our souls and our society and what a humanistic approach to technology might look like. We will engage with the best that has been said and thought about technology, while also hearing from both technology creators and practitioners of endangered human traditions.

The seminar will balance a focus on the increasing technological mediation of human consciousness on the one hand, and the shifting material foundations of social life on the other. We shall dive into the transformation of economy, psychology, politics, gender, religion and culture: in short, the transformation of humanity.

Readings will include Martin Heidegger, René Girard, Ivan Illich, Karl Marx, Marshall McLuhan, Carl Schmitt, and more.


Location: The Seminar will take place from July 9th - 15th, 2023  with in person sessions at Harvard University’s CGIS Knafel building. Housing will be provided off campus a short distance from the classrooms.

Meals: Breakfast and lunch will be provided daily at the Seminar and dinner will be provided on four separate nights.

Cost: A registration fee of $750 is requested for overhead purposes and represents a small fraction of the true cost of the program. Reading material will be made available free of charge to the accepted applicants at least a month before the seminar. Scholarships are available, please submit your request here. 


The seminar is open to advanced undergraduate, graduate students, & young professionals who are working in an area related to the seminar's topic. Sessions begin at 9:00am. The seminar will be capped at twenty participants.  


  • Complete this online application. After completion of the application you will be directed to upload the following: -Writing sample of up to 2,000 words. -CV or Resume.

The application deadline for the seminar is April 28, 2023. 

This seminar is co-hosted by the Abigail Adams Institute.

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