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DHMS PRESENTATION, February 23, 4pm, 205 Laurel Hall

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Alan Liu: “Toward Critical Infrastructure Studies: Digital Humanities, New Media Studies, and the Culture of Infrastructure”(University of California, Santa Barbara)

In an era when complexly “smart” and hybrid material-virtual infrastructures ranging from the micro to the macro scale seem to obviate older distinctions between material base and cultural superstructure, how can the digital humanities and new media studies join in an emergent “critical infrastructure studies”? What are the traditions of such studies? What is the topic’s scope? What are some especially high-value areas for intervention by digital humanists and new media scholars/artists? And how can digital scholars in the humanities and arts collaborate with digital social scientists taking up similar matters? In this talk, Alan Liu considers the hypothesis that today’s “cultural studies” is a mode of critical infrastructure studies.

BioAlan 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 “Hacking the Voice of the Shuttle: The Growth and Death of a Boundary Object” (2016), “Is Digital Humanities a Field?—An Answer from the Point of View of Language” (2016), “N + 1: A Plea for Cross-Domain Data in the Digital Humanities” (2016), “The Big Bang of Online Reading” (2014), “The Meaning of the Digital Humanities” (2013), and “Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?” (2012).  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. Currently he is leading the 4Humanities.org big-data, topic-modeling project titled “WhatEvery1Says” on public discourse about the humanities.

DHMS News and Upcoming Events

THE PEOPLE’S INAUGURATION 1/20/2017

the peopleOn Friday, January 20th come join the members of the UConn community as we stand up for the values of human rights, justice, and solidarity. Together, we will mark the inauguration of the next chapter in American history by embodying the kind of community we aspire to be–inclusive, indivisible, equitable, and democratic–and share the words, poems, thoughts, performances, and insights that will sustain us as we work together.
Our Goal:

To provide a space and time on Inauguration Day for members of the UConn Community to come together, listen to each other, and reflect on the values that make our University ours.

Students, faculty, staff and anyone who considers themselves a part of the UConn community are invited to attend and share a short reading (maybe an excerpt from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), poem (maybe Langston Hughes’ Let America Be America Again), performance (maybe something like this piece), or story (maybe your story).

Our Goal:

To provide a space and time on Inauguration Day for members of the UConn Community to come together, listen to each other, and reflect on the values that make our University ours.

Students, faculty, staff and anyone who considers themselves a part of the UConn community are invited to attend and share a short reading (maybe an excerpt from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), poem (maybe Langston Hughes’ Let America Be America Again), performance (maybe something like this piece), or story (maybe your story).

Just keep it short (no more than 5 minutes) and affirming on this day of new beginnings.

How It Works:

 

Choose your reading/performance (5 minute max)

then

Sign up for a time now

or

Sign up at the event

and

Come to listen, share, and reflect

 

Fore more information visit the website

 

December 6, 2016. The Public Discourse Project Seminar: Lauren Barthold

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Lauren Barthold

Date: 12/6   Babbdige Library 4th floor room   4/209 meeting

Title: Giving Birth in the Public Square: Dialogue as a Maieutic Practice

If we are living in a “post-fact” age, and if deliberation relies on facts, how are we to conceive of public discourse? Must one either futilely shout the facts louder and louder or else turn away from facts, and thus rational discourse, altogether? This paper initiates a way to conceive of public discourse that avoids the facts versus violence dilemma. I begin with a close reading of the opening scene of Plato’s Republic that, I claim,  demonstrates dialogue as a third way beyond force or rational persuasion. I then consider Allan Bloom’s and Hannah Arendt’s interpretations of the political relevance of Socratic dialogue. In concluding, I argueagainst Arendt that it is the tension between wonder and opinion lying at the heart of dialogue that renders dialogue a relevant political activity, one that connects us with others and in so doing creates a viable, pluralistic polis.

November 29, 2016. Public Discourse Project seminar, Paul Bloom

Paul Bloom (Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale)

Location: UCHI, Babbidge Library, 4th Floor, Room 4/209
Title: Against Empathy

Many psychologists, philosophers, and laypeople believe that empathy is necessary for moral judgment and moral action-the only problem with empathyis that we sometimes don’t have enough of it. Drawing on research into psychopathy, criminal behavior, charitable giving, infant cognition, cognitive neuroscience, and Buddhist meditation practices, I’ll argue that this is mistaken. Empathy is a poor moral guide. It is biased, short-sighted, and innumerate-we should try to do without it. We are much better off, in both public policy and intimate relationships, drawing upon a combination of reason and distanced compassion.

More information

November 15, 2016. UConn Political Theory Workshop: Sandy Grande

Indigenous Refusals of Settler-Capitalist Notions of Precarity and Aging: The Struggle for Indigenous Elsewheres

Sandy GrandeSandy Grande
Connecticut College

11/15

Location: Babbidge Library, 4th Floor, Room 4/209
Time:  4-5:30pm

The notion of precarity has emerged as a way of describing the effects of neoliberal policy on the human condition. Though the impact is broad, the precarity instigated by the settler project has been enacted and extracted upon the bodies of the marginalized, and within such communities, the most vulnerable: the sick, the young, the elderly. This paper examines the privatization and commodification of the body as one of the greatest affronts to sovereignty, compelling not only materialist analyses but also those that account for the immaterial – the soul, the sacred. The author begins with an examination of how issues related to end of life care and the question of whether to “live or let die” are constructed through (neo)liberal discourses of personal choice as conditioned by “culture.” Next, it is argued that such discourses serve to obfuscate the a priori role of the capitalist state where the frail and aged can only be viewed as a “crisis” of decreased labor power and increased expenditure; an amortization that has only worsened under neoliberalism. Thus, the aim of the paper is to present Indigenous discourses that situate the problematic of living/being beyond the scope of imperial interest and that are defined by mutuality.

Sandy Grande (Quechua) is a Professor of Education as well as the Director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) at Connecticut College. Her research interfaces critical Indigenous theories with the concerns of education. Her highly acclaimed book, Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought was recently published in a 10th anniversary edition (2015). She has published in The Journal of Settler Colonial Studies,The Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy,Harvard Educational Review; she also contributed a chapter to Robert Lake and Tricia Kress’ Paulo Freire’s Intellectual Roots (Bloomsbury 2013). In addition to her scholarly work she has provided eldercare for her parents and remains the primary caretaker for her 88 yr. old father.

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November 10, 2016: Alexander Heffner, PBS. “Picking Up the Pieces”

HeffnerA conversation with Alexander Heffner of PBS and UConn’s own Michael Lynch, Micki McElya, and Evenlyn Simean. The theme of the evening will be,

“Picking up the pieces”: Can we move on from this historically divisive election to rebuild some meaningful public discourse?

What will politics look like in the United States after the tumultuous 2016 election? On November 10, 2016, Humility and Conviction in Public Life will host Alexander Heffner, Host of PBS’s The Open Mind and a discussion on “Picking up the Pieces” of U.S. political discourse. “Humility and conviction are indeed the path forward if we are going to break through the cycle of incivility in American politics that has defined our 2016 presidential campaign, I am delighted to join the UCONN community just days after we vote…to reflect on this unprecedented election, and to consider a vision for more civil American democracy.”
Heffner will be joined by UConn professor of political science Evelyn Simien and UConn professor of history, Micki McElya. Professor Simien’s most recent book Historic Firsts: How Symbolic Empowerment Changes U.S. Politics, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015 and considers the historic firsts in American politics, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Published earlier this year by Harvard University Press, Professor McElya’s most recent book, The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, examines the larger political and cultural implications of the history of Arlington National Cemetery. The discussion will be hosted by Michael Lynch, a professor of philosophy, the director of the UConn Humanities Institute, and the Principal Investigator of Humility and Conviction in Public Life, the recent recipient of $6 million in grant funding from the John Templeton Foundation. He is the author of the recent book, The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data.

Alexander Heffner was a special correspondent for PBS’s Need to Know chronicling the Millennial vote in 2012. He founded and edited SCOOP08 and SCOOP44, the first-ever national student newspapers covering the 2008 campaign and the Obama administration, and taught a civic education/journalism seminar in New York City public school classrooms.

His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Newsday and RealClearPolitics, among other leading newspapers and magazines. He has been interviewed about politics, education and stories in the news by PBS, C-SPAN, CNN and the BBC, among other national and local broadcast venues. He was political director and correspondent for WHRB 95.3 FM and host and managing editor of The Political Arena, a Sunday afternoon public affairs broadcast.

Heffner has given talks and moderated panels at major universities and colleges, including the University of California-Irvine, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University, the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, Long Island University and Bryn Mawr College.

He is a graduate of Andover and Harvard.

 

 

 

October 25, 2016. Deva Woodly, The Public Discourse Project seminar series

devaDeva Woodly

Date: 10/25.

Time: 4:00 - 5:30 pm.

Location: Babbidge Library 4th floor room   4/209 meeting.

The Pragmatism of Social Movements

We often think of Social Movements as ideal enterprises; activities undertaken by passionate idealists who eschew the corruption of the status quo for the purity of an imagined better world. While the passion and idealism of social movement participants is certainly real, I argue that if we look at movements through the theoretical lens of American pragmatism, we find that they are an utterly practical, functionally necessary, and immanently effective apart of democratic politics. Taking the contemporary example of the Movement for Black Lives, we will explore the pragmatic imagination, organization, articulation, and political participation of this country's ascendant 21st century movement.

upcoming speakers