Radical Futures: Imagining the Media of Tomorrow
March 20–21, 2021
This symposium will bring together researchers from Germany and the US to discuss a) the future of media and b) form(at)s of imagination/ imaginaries in the 21st century. Central to the discussion is the role of knowledge of the future for the imagination of digital media. How can our imagination contribute to knowing the future? Which kinds of imaginaries do we consult for this purpose? Whose imagination/imaginaries receive(s) a voice? What past imaginations/imaginaries have infused the present today? What diverse digital media can we conjure up for futures that may not reflect who we are today? What truths are available today that inform realities to come?
Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research
The Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research (“VICTR”) is an online community of scholars with an interest in the value and nature of truth, broadly construed. As a part of its activities, VICTR is hosting several virtual talks on Zoom this spring:
- January 18, Will Gamester, "Nothing Is True"
- February 1, Manuel Garcia-Carpintero, "Lewis on Truth in Fiction"
- February 15, María José Alcaraz León, "Truth and Imagination"
- March 1, Ragnar van der Merwe, "A Dilemma for Determination Pluralism (or Dualism)"
- April 12, Rachel Handley, "Moral Authority, Truth, and Quasi-Realism"
- April 26, Eduardo Barrio, "Anti-exceptionalism, Truth, and the BA-Plan"
- May 10, Jinho Kang, title pending
- May 24, Stefano Caputo, "The Dependence of Truth on Being: Is There a Problem for Minimalism?"
Past Conferences and Speakers
Truth 20/20: An Online Conference
July 27–August 6, 2020
Truth 20/20 brings together a community of scholars united by an interest in understanding truth. The year 2020 is unlike any in recent memory. We face the novel coronavirus pandemic as well as an ongoing pandemic of misinformation driven by political propaganda, fake news, personalized social media, and the politicization of basic facts. As the coronavirus pandemic has spread across the globe, we have been forced to reinvent and reimagine how we interact with one another. Nowhere is this more perspicuous than in scholarly pursuits.
The coronavirus may have denied us the opportunity to meet face-to-face, but the advent of online synchronous meetings and events has created an opportunity both to meet in a responsible, socially-distanced manner and to expand the scope of the project, making it more accessible, available, and inclusive. Therefore, we have invited scholars at all career stages to present at a virtual meeting that highlights recent work on the nature and value of truth. The conference is free, and, since sessions will be held online, it will be open to anyone interested in philosophical debates about truth. We sincerely hope that established scholars, a broad range of students, and the interested public will attend.
Nancy Baym, "The Relational Affordances of Platforms"
February 5, 2020
People have been socializing on the internet for nearly fifty years. In recent years, online social life has become increasingly concentrated in a relatively small number of commercial platforms. How can we make sense of the impacts they are having on our relational lives? How can we theorize platforms when they are constantly changing and used in so many different ways? In this talk, Nancy Baym draws on a range of her recent research on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to articulate a model for understanding platforms as the dynamic, unstable entities they are, and to explore their roles in shaping, constraining and opening up new possibilities for relationships in contexts ranging from close romantic bonds to online communities and the ties that connect musicians to their audiences. The talk further considers how these platforms commodify the relational interactions that take place through them, and how their design choices have fostered environments in which relationships become tools for profit.
Nancy Baym is a Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New England, where she conducts basic research into how people understand and act with new communication technologies in their relationships. A pioneer in the field of internet research, Baym wrote some of the first articles about online community in the early 1990s. With Jean Burgess, she is the author of Twitter: A Biography (forthcoming 2020, NYU). Other books include Playing to the Crowd: Musicians, Audiences, and the Intimate Work of Connection (2018, NYU), Personal Connections in the Digital Age (2010, Second Edition 2014, Polity), Internet Inquiry: Conversations About Method (co-edited with Annette Markham, 2010, Sage), and Tune In, Log On: Soaps, Fandom and Online Community (2000, Sage). She was a co-founder of the Association of Internet Researchers and served as its second president. She has been recognized with the Frederick Williams Prize for Contributions to the Study of Communication and Technology awarded by the International Communication Association, the naming of the Nancy Baym Book Award by the Association of Internet Researchers, and an Honorary Doctorate from the Faculty of Information Technology at the University of Gothenburg. Most of her papers and more information are available at http://nancybaym.com
This event is sponsored by UCHI Digital Humanities & Media Studies, the Department of Communication, and the UCHI Future of Truth Initiative.
Annette Vee, "Algorithmic Writers and Implications for Literacy"
October 2, 2019
Writing today is inextricable from computation: we write on and for computers. But computers are no longer just word processors or distributors of our writing. Algorithms, which enter our lives through computers and crowd our writing spaces, affect what we write, who reads it, and how. Algorithms read our emails in order to write our emails. They correct our grammar, they can summarize and simplify texts, and they choose what we read online. If you write on or with computers (and you do), your algorithmic coauthors influence what you write and how you write it. Algorithms are more active agents than pencils or coffeeshops—other materialities that affect our writing processes—and they have complex relationships to the humans who produce and use them. What is literacy when it’s learned, performed, and subjected to algorithmic writers? And how should literacy be taught in the context of ubiquitous algorithmic writing? In this talk, Annette Vee will describe contemporary scenes of algorithmic writing, place them in the history of literacy and computation, and present some implications and applications for literacy learning now.
Annette Vee is an Associate Professor of English at University of Pittsburgh, where she directs the Composition Program, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, and is involved in various initiatives that connect the humanities, digital media and computation. She is the author of Coding Literacy (MIT Press, 2017) and various articles on computation, literacy, and intellectual property.
This UCHI Digital Humanities & Media Studies event is co-sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and the Neag School of Education’s Reading and Language Arts Center.