Events
History and Theory

Against the Cultural Singularity

History and Theory
05 Mar, 2015

Against the Cultural Singularity

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Following up on the question he asked in the title of his 2012 essay "Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?", Alan Liu will present early drafts from a book he is writing that imagines a mode of cultural criticism appropriate and native to the digital humanities. His talk focuses on the role of technology in, and between, neoliberalism's major "knowledge work" institutions (including higher education) as the context in which digital-humanities research and development can be redirected from being primarily instruments of institution work to becoming also ways to act on institutions and their wider social impact. What methodological framework can assist the digital humanities in exploring that context? What kinds of scholarship, projects, and tool-building might constitute a critical digital humanities?

Alan Liu is Professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has published books titled Wordsworth: The Sense of History (1989); The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (2004); and Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (2008). Recent essays include "The Meaning of the Digital Humanities" (2013), "From Reading to Social Computing" (2013), "Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?" (2012), "The State of the Digital Humanities: A Report and a Critique" (2012), and "Friending the Past: The Sense of History and Social Computing" (2011). Liu started the Voice of the Shuttle web site for humanities research in 1994. Projects he has directed include the University of California Transliteracies Project on online reading and the RoSE (Research-oriented Social Environment) software project. Liu is founder and co-leader of the 4Humanities.org advocacy initiative.

The History and Theory of New Media Lecture Series brings to campus leading humanities scholars working on issues of media transition and technological emergence. The series promotes new, interdisciplinary approaches to questions about the uses, meanings, causes, and effects of rapid or dramatic shifts in techno-infrastructure, information management, and forms of mediated expression. Presented by the Berkeley Center for New Media, this event is free and open to the public.

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