Cultural Policy: Algorithmic ramifications: cultural practices of the machine

Course content

Daily encounters with technology cause ambivalent affects. As the second part of the cultural policy module, this course will be dealing with questions concerning the politics of technology. In regard to a classical understanding of cultural policy, this course aims to examine the influence of algorithms, platforms and their infrastructure on the production of culture. Scholars in the humanities are increasingly grappling with the issues of algorithmic ramifications and the role of their decision-making processes in society. Thereby, new ways to research and represent systems of artificial intelligence are introduced. Furthermore, artistic practices question the deterministic and predictability providing behavior of algorithmic processing as well.


In this course we will engage with the different branches that question and challenge machine practices. Starting with a brief history of cybernetics and early ideas about the potentialities of the Internet, the course will dive into the current debates about algorithmic cultures and their impact for a societal context. This entails the history of social media, the concept of a culture of connectivity, as well as the black box society and platform capitalism. These are just a few of the notions that aim to describe the contemporary condition under the influence of data collection and processing. The course will thereby take a look at the challenges of algorithmic obfuscation and artificial intelligence through theoretical perspectives, as well as artistic practices.


Students should be enabled to gain an overview of some of the most prominent research discourses in that area. Therefore, theories deriving from the cultural studies such as critical posthumanism and anthropocene studies, as well as research deriving from the internet and algorithmic studies will be included in the course. However, artistic practices will be taken into account as well, to broaden the spectrum of approaches that deal with forms algorithmic ramifications. The course programme entails (among others) writings and works by Katherine Hayles, Hito Steyerl, Donna Haraway, José van Dijck, Taina Bucher, Benjamin Bratton and Jackie Wang.


The aim of the course is to give students the analytical tools to think about algorithmic power structures in theory and concrete cases. Students should consequently find their own case studies and research questions for the mandatory assignments.

The course is based on sessions that each last four hours. During these sessions, the lecturer will start by explaining central texts followed by discussions and targeted practices, like writing sessions and group discussions. At the end of the course there will be a one-day workshop where students en-gage with their own research questions and start to apply theory and methods in order to shape their topics for the mandatory assignments. The course will be taught in English. However, students can choose whether to hand in their exam projects in Danish or English.

A compendium with the course’s title Algorithmic ramifications: cultural practices of the machine is made available and can be bought at the start of the semester from Publikom. In relations to their projects, students are required to do a literature review of relevant sources.

Kurset er ét ud af tre kulturpolitiske kurser tilbudt i dette semester, der konstituerer anden halvdel af et kulturpolitisk emne på 2019 studieordningen (der første del er det obligatoriske kursus Cultural Policy – Theory, Method & Analysis, som bliver undervist i første del af semestret).

Kurset undervises på engelsk, men de studerende kan skrive deres eksamensopgave på enten dansk eller engelsk.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
All aids allowed
Censorship form
No external censorship
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Exam
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 140
  • English
  • 210