Assistant Professor

T: 778-782-4793
E: smatviye@sfu.ca
Room: K9676

Svitlana Matviyenko

Svitlana Matviyenko is an Assistant Professor of Critical Media Analysis in the School of Communication. Her research and teaching are focused on information and cyberwar; political economy of information; media and environment; infrastructure studies; STS. She writes about practices of resistance and mobilization; digital militarism, dis- and misinformation; Internet history; cybernetics; psychoanalysis; posthumanism; the Soviet and the post-Soviet techno-politics; nuclear cultures, including the Chernobyl Zone of Exclusion. She is a co-editor of two collections, The Imaginary App (MIT Press, 2014) and Lacan and the Posthuman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). She is a co-author of Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism (Minnesota UP, 2019), a winner of the 2019 book award of the Science Technology and Art in International Relations (STAIR) section of the International Studies Association and of the Canadian Communication Association 2020 Gertrude J. Robinson book prize.

Education

  • PhD (2015) Critical Theory; Philosophy of Technology and Science - Centre for the Study of Theory of Criticism, University of Western Ontario
  • PhD (2011) Critical Theory, Film and Media Theory - Department of English, University of Missouri
  • MA (2001) and BA (2000) Theory, History of Literature and Comparative Literature Department of Humanities, University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine

publications

Books

Nick Dyer-Witheford and Svitlana Matviyenko, Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism (Minnesota UP, 2019).

Ukrainian translation: Кібервійна і революція (Krytyka, 2020).

Global surveillance, computational propaganda, online espionage, virtual recruiting, massive data breaches, hacked nuclear centrifuges and power grids—concerns about cyberwar have been mounting, rising to a fever pitch after the alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential election and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Although cyberwar is widely discussed, few accounts undertake a deep, critical view of its roots and consequences.

Analyzing the new militarization of the internet, Cyberwar and Revolution argues that digital warfare is not a bug in the logic of global capitalism but rather a feature of its chaotic, disorderly unconscious. Urgently confronting the concept of cyberwar through the lens of both Marxist critical theory and psychoanalysis, Nick Dyer-Witheford and Svitlana Matviyenko provide a wide-ranging examination of the class conflicts and geopolitical dynamics propelling war across digital networks.

Investigating the subjectivities that cyberwar mobilizes, exploits, and bewilders, and revealing how it permeates the fabric of everyday life and implicates us all in its design, this book also highlights the critical importance of the emergent resistance to this digital militarism—hacktivism, digital worker dissent, and off-the-grid activism—for effecting different, better futures.

Cyberwar and Revolution is a winner of the 2019 book award of the Science Technology and Art in International Relations (STAIR) section of the International Studies Association and of the Canadian Communication Association 2020 Gertrude J. Robinson book prize.

Reviews:

“Engaging, imaginative, and thorough, Cyberwar and Revolution tracks the emergence of cyberwar as expressions and fantasies that reveal the unconscious violent hostility of contemporary capitalism.” (Benjamin Noys, University of Chichester)

“Sweeping in scope, precise with details, and penetrating in its theoretical analysis, Cyberwar and Revolution is a superbly crafted account. Nick Dyer-Witheford and Svitlana Matviyenko attend to the specificities of tactics and technologies in light of geopolitical hierarchies and shifting configurations around imperialism and capitalism that animate the direction and impact of cyberwar across the globe. Erudite and yet riveting, Cyberwar and Revolution could not be more timely and urgent.” (Gabriella Coleman, McGill University)

“As information networks become more pervasive, the criss-crossing lines they draw make it harder to know what is inside and what is outside. Is this a state of perpetual war, ubiquitous revolution, and violence without ends (only means)? In such a theater, who is really a civilian? Cyberwar and Revolution provides a chilling account of what is at stake for the further militarization of data and an emphatic vision for a far less dangerous alternative.” (Benjamin H. Bratton, University of California, San Diego; Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow)

Other reviews in NeuralSurveillance & Society, Security Journal, Journal of Strategic Security, Information, Communication & Society

Edited Books

Lacan and The Posthuman, eds. Svitlana Matviyenko and Judith Roof. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

When Posthumanism displaces the traditional human subject, what does psychoanalysis add to contemporary conversations about subject/object relations, systems, perspectives, and values?  

Promoting psychoanalysis’ focus on the cybernetic relationships among subjects, language, social organizations, desire, drive, and other human motivations, this book demonstrates the continued relevance of Lacan’s work not only to continued understandings of the human subject, but to the broader cultural impasses we now face. Exploring Posthumanism from the insights of Lacan’s psychoanalysis, chapters expose and elucidate not only the conditions within which Posthumanist thought arises, but also reveal symptoms of its flaws: the blindness to anthropomorphization, projection, and unrecognized shifts in scale and perspective, as well as its mode of transcendental thought that enables many Posthumanist declarations. 

The Imaginary App, eds. Paul D. Miller and Svitlana Matviyenko. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2014.

The mobile app as technique and imaginary tool, offering a shortcut to instantaneous connection and entertainment.

Mobile apps promise to deliver (h)appiness to our devices at the touch of a finger or two. Apps offer gratifyingly immediate access to connection and entertainment. The array of apps downloadable from the app store may come from the cloud, but they attach themselves firmly to our individual movement from location to location on earth. In The Imaginary App, writers, theorists, and artists—including Stephen Wolfram (in conversation with Paul Miller) and Lev Manovich—explore the cultural and technological shifts that have accompanied the emergence of the mobile app. These contributors and interviewees see apps variously as “a machine of transcendence,” “a hulking wound in our nervous system,” or “a promise of new possibilities.” They ask whether the app is an object or a relation, and if it could be a “metamedium” that supersedes all other artistic media. They consider the control and power exercised by software architecture; the app's prosthetic ability to enhance certain human capacities, in reality or in imagination; the app economy, and the divergent possibilities it offers of making a living or making a fortune; and the app as medium and remediator of reality.

research

Political economy of information, information and cyberwar, media and environment, infrastructure studies, posthumanism, STS, cybernetics, psychoanalysis, Soviet techno-politics, nuclear cultures, Chernobyl.