This paper seeks to introduce cultural techniques to an Anglophone readership. It relates the re-emergence of cultural techniques (a concept first employed in the 19th century in an agricultural context) to the changing intellectual constellation of postwar Germany. More specifically, it traces how the concept evolved from – and reacted against – so-called German media theory, a decidedly anti-hermeneutic and anti-humanist current of thought frequently associated with the work of Friedrich Kittler. Post-hermeneutic rather than anti-hermeneutic in its outlook, the reconceptualization of cultural techniques aims at presenting them as chains of operations that link humans, things, media and even animals. To investigate cultural techniques is to shift the analytic gaze from ontological distinctions to the ontic operations that gave rise to the former in the first place. As Siegert points out, this shift recalls certain concurrent developments within the North American posthumanities; the paper therefore also includes a discussion of the similarities and differences between German and North American posthumanism.