Fellow Dr. Sebastian Gießmann

Dr. Sebastian Gießmann
Dr. Sebastian Gießmann

University of Siegen

Fellow at CAIS from April to September 2020


History and Theory of Digital Payments

How would you like to pay? And how do we exchange value differently if we do it with digital media? My book project is concerned both with the history and theory of digital payments. It connects the history of credit card usage with more recent developments, like mobile payment, apps and blockchain-based currencies.

My approach is interdisciplinary, and situated in between media studies, social/practice theory, Science and Technology Studies, and the History of Computing. Historiographically, I aim at a different, praxeological understanding of digital infrastructures and their everyday economic impact.

Digital societies rely on deep financialization, and constantly appropriate the Internet for it. This is why I investigate monetary social media via their modes of accounting and distributed bookkeeping. Think of this as an inquiry into digital monetary mediation and ‘multiplicities of money’. It is going to intertwine mediation and practice, thus telling a story that begins with plastic cards and ends with datafied money, apps, and digital wallets.

Main Research Topics
  • Media History of the Credit Card, “Financial Technologies”
  • Digitality
  • History of Computing/Networking
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Practice Theory and Praxeology
Curriculum Vitae
  • 2020: Geisteswissenschaften International Nonfiction Translators Prize (GINT) – The Connectivity of Things: Network Cultures Since 1832
  • 2018: Senior Lecturer (tenured), Media Studies, Siegen University
  • 2017: Future Research Award, Siegen University – Grenzobjekte und Medienforschung (Boundary Objects and Media Research)
  • 2012: PhD Die Verbundenheit der Dinge. Eine Kulturgeschichte der Netze und Netzwerke, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Fellowships in Toronto, Berlin, Darmstadt and Zurich
Publications and presentations
  • The Connectivity of Things. Network Cultures Since 1832, Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press, 2022 (Infrastructures, accepted by the MIT Press publishing committee). Revised translation of Die Verbundenheit der Dinge. Eine Kulturgeschichte der Netze und Netzwerke, Berlin: Kadmos, 2014 (2nd edition 2016; Kaleidogramme, Bd. 114).
    Geisteswissenschaften International Nonfiction Translators Prize 2020.
  • How to Coordinate Digital Accounting? Infrastructuring Payment and Credit with the EUROCARD, 1977–1985. In: Bergermann, Ulrike et al. (Ed.): Connect and Divide. The Practice Turn in Media Studies (= 3rd DFG Media Studies Symposium). Berlin/Zurich: diaphanes, 2020 (in print).
  • Co-edited with Tobias Röhl, Ronja Trischler and Martin Zillinger: Materiality of Cooperation. 2020 (in translation).
  • Money, Credit, and Digital Payment 1971/2014. From the Credit Card to Apple Pay. In: Administration & Society 50/9 (2018), Special Issue on ICT@Admin, S. 1259–1279. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095399718794169.
  • Co-edited with Nadine Taha: Susan Leigh Star. Grenzobjekte und Medienforschung. Bielefeld: transcript (Locating Media | Situated Media, Vol. 10), 2017.
    Future Research Award, Siegen University 2017.