The Future of Truth

Truth and Politics: A Workshop

Truth and Politics: A Workshop, with Manuel Almagro, Hady Ba, Michael Hannon, Elizabeth Edenberg, Douglas Edwards, Michael Lynch, Alessandra Tanesini, and Lynne Tirrell. May 25–26, 2022, Humanities Institute Conference Room.

Truth and Politics

A Workshop

May 25, 2022, 4:00–6:00pm
May 26, 2022, 8:00am–6:00pm

Humanities Institute Conference Room

Register to attend in person

This event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning
Register to attend virtually, Day 1. Register to attend virtually, Day 2.

What has truth to do with politics? The Future of Truth project at UConn is hosting a two-day workshop on this question. Papers will consider the nature of political truth, whether democracies have a particular interest in promoting true beliefs in their citizens, and the various alleged threats, technological, political and epistemological, to the value of truth often associated with the idea that we are living in a "post-truth" culture.

Speakers will include Manuel Almagro, Hady Ba, Michael Hannon, Elizabeth Edenberg, Douglas Edwards, Michael Lynch, Alessandra Tanesini, and Lynne Tirrell.

Schedule:

May 25

4:00pm: Michael Lynch, “The Political Meaning of Truth”
5:00pm: Reception

May 26

8:00am: Breakfast
9:00am: Alessandra Tanesini, “Hopes and Political Understanding”
10:00am: Manuel Almagro, “Is Polarization an Epistemic Phenomenon?”
11:00am: Break
11:30: Michael Hannon, “Public Discourse and its Problems”
12:30pm: Lunch
1:30pm: Elizabeth Edenberg, “Algorithmic Personalization and Seeking the Truth”
2:30: Douglas Edwards, “Institutional Truth and Political Reform”
3:30: Break
4:00: Hady Ba, “The Paradoxical Indispensability of Truth in Politics”
5:00: Lynne Tirrell, “Truth, Trust, & Fear of Expertise”
6:00pm: Reception

Speaker Bios and Abstracts

Michael Lynch, “The Political Meaning of Truth”

In this paper, I have two aims: the first is to outline some of the main challenges we face in understanding the role and nature of truth in politics. The second is to emphasize one of those challenges, e.g. understanding what I'll call the political meaning of truth: that is, the ways in which our use of truth ascriptions and our pursuit of true beliefs can contribute to political activity, both negatively and positively. I'll argue that we must be careful not to read political meanings into the nature of truth itself, but we should also not be naive about the ways in which metaphysical theories of truth's nature can and do carry political meanings.

Alessandra Tanesini, “Hopes and Political Understanding”

Alessandra Tanesini is Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University. Her current work lies at the intersection of ethics, the philosophy of language, and epistemology with a focus on epistemic vice, silencing, prejudice and ignorance. Her latest book is The Mismeasure of the Self: A Study in Vice Epistemology (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Manuel Almagro, “Is Polarization an Epistemic Phenomenon?”

Manuel Almagro is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Granada, Spain. A good amount of his research is focused on the relationship between philosophical issues and social practical concerns. Currently, he’s working on political polarization. He’s also interested in epistemic injustice, disagreement, evaluative language, Wittgenstein’s philosophy, mental health and the political philosophy of language generally.

Michael Hannon, “Public Discourse and its Problems”

Michael Hannon is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham and Faculty Fellow (2021–22) at The Murphy Institute. He is author of What’s the Point of Knowledge? (Oxford University Press, 2019) and co-editor of Political Epistemology (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Elizabeth Edenberg, “Algorithmic Personalization and Seeking the Truth”

Elizabeth Edenberg is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Baruch College, CUNY. She specializes in political philosophy, political epistemology, and the ethics of emerging technologies. Her research investigates ways to develop mutual respect across the moral and political disagreements that characterize contemporary society, while securing just structures of political cooperation that protect the equality of marginalized populations. She also works in collaboration with computer scientists on broader ethical and political challenges posed by emerging technologies, especially questions of privacy, consent, and social justice as they arise within big data and artificial intelligence.

Prior to joining Baruch College, she served as Senior Ethicist and Assistant Research Professor at Georgetown University’s Ethics Lab where she led translational ethics projects designed to empower both students and experts to address the urgent issues of our time. She led collaborations with a wide variety of partners beyond the academy, from public impact projects to policy teams seeking practical progress on complex ethical issues. She also led Ethics Lab’s work integrating ethics into courses across the university, from computer science to international policy and foreign service.

Douglas Edwards, “Institutional Truth and Political Reform”

Douglas Edwards is a philosopher who works primarily on truth and associated issues in metaphysics, philosophy of language, and epistemology (and occasionally dabbles in professional wrestling). He is the author of Properties (Polity Press, 2014), Philosophy Smackdown (Polity Press, 2020), and The Metaphysics of Truth (Oxford University Press, 2018), which won the American Philosophical Association’s 2019 Sanders Book Prize. He has written numerous articles in leading philosophy journals along with public philosophy pieces, is the editor of Truth: A Contemporary Reader (Bloomsbury Press, 2019), and is an Associate Editor of the journal Analysis. He is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Utica University.

Hady Ba, “The Paradoxical Indispensability of Truth in Politics”

According to Arendt, “it may be in the nature of the political realm to be at war with truth in all its forms.” First, I will show why it is almost impossible to reconcile politics with truth be it in an authoritarian system or democratic one. I will then argue that truth may be contradictory to politics but it is indispensable to policy and to the survival of society. Therefore, it is indispensable for society to ensure that truth preserving mechanisms are introduced into the political system and ultimately into politics.

An Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, Hady BA is at University of Connecticut as a Fulbright Scholar. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from The Jean Nicod Institute in Paris and is currently writing a book on the epistemology of the Global South.

Lynne Tirrell, “Truth, Trust, & Fear of Expertise”

Lynee Tirrell is professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut.  Her research concerns issues at the intersections of philosophy of language with social and political philosophy. She focuses on  the ways that linguistic practices influence or shape social justice or facilitate injustice, how these practices enhance or violate human rights.

Access note

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please let us know via the registration form, or contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpretation, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities

DHMS: Discriminating Data with Wendy Chun

Discriminating Data. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (New Media, Simon Fraser University) in conversation with Yohei Igarashi. Live. Online. Registration required. November 18, 2021, 1:00pm.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative presents:

Discriminating Data

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (Simon Fraser University)
in conversation with Yohei Igarashi

November 18, 2021, 1:00–2:30pm
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Live. Online (with automated captioning). Registration required.

This is an honors event (Multiculturalism & Global Citizenship, Academic & Interdisciplinary Engagement)

In this conversation, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (SFU’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media) will discuss themes from her new book Discriminating Data (published November 2, 2021, MIT Press) about how big data and predictive machine learning currently encode discrimination and create agitated clusters of comforting rage. Chun will explore how polarization is a goal—not an error—within current practices of predictive data analysis and machine learning for these methods encode segregation, eugenics, and identity politics through their default assumptions and conditions. Correlation, which grounds big data’s predictive potential, stems from twentieth-century eugenic attempts to “breed” a better future. Recommender systems foster angry clusters of sameness through homophily. Users are “trained” to become authentically predictable via a politics and technology of recognition. The predictive programs thus seek to disrupt the future by making disruption impossible.

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Simon Fraser University’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media and leads the Digital Democracies Institute. She is the author of several works including Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT, 2006), Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT, 2011), Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media (MIT, 2016), Discriminating Data (MIT 2021), and the co-author of Pattern Discrimination (University of Minnesota & Meson Press, 2019). She has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, where she worked for almost two decades and where she’s currently a Visiting Professor. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania, Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), and she has held fellowships from: the Guggenheim, ACLS, American Academy of Berlin, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.

In conjunction with talk we will be hosting a book discussion group about Discriminating Data on November 15, 2021.

Fellow’s Talk: Sarah Willen on Journaling the Pandemic

“Journaling the Pandemic: What 20,000 Journal Entries Can Tell Us About COVID-19—and Ourselves.” Future of Truth Fellow Sarah Willen, with a response by Erik Freeman. November 10, 2021, 4:00pm. Homer Babbidge Library, 4-209.

Journaling the Pandemic: What 20,000 Journal Entries Can Tell Us About COVID-19—and Ourselves

Sarah Willen (Associate Professor, Anthropology, UConn)

with a response by Erik Freeman (History, UConn)

Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 4:00pm. Homer Babbidge Library, 4-209.

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The event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning.

To attend virtually, register here

What does it mean to keep a journal, and why might someone choose to journal about COVID-19? What belongs in a pandemic journal, and what might journalers hope to accomplish by keeping one? In this talk, anthropologist Sarah Willen engages these questions by introducing the Pandemic Journaling Project (PJP), a combined journaling platform and research study she co-created in May 2020 that lets anyone around the world produce a weekly record of their pandemic experiences by uploading text, audio, and photographs using a smartphone or other device. By October 2021, over 1,600 people in more than 50 countries had contributed over 20,000 journal entries. How are members of PJP’s diverse journaling community using this online space to chronicle the impact of the pandemic on their everyday lives? What can we learn—about COVID-19, our times, ourselves, and scholarship itself—by studying the COVID-19 journals people keep? Join us and find out.

Sarah S. Willen is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UConn and Director of the Research Program on Global Health and Human Rights at the university’s Human Rights Institute. A critical medical anthropologist with a strong phenomenological bent, she has published widely on topics ranging from the sociopolitical dynamics and lived experiences of illegalized migration and human rights activism, to everyday understandings of deservingness, dignity, and flourishing in Israel/Palestine and the U.S. She is author or editor of four books, five special issues, and many articles and book chapters, including the multiple award-winning monograph, Fighting for Dignity: Migrant Lives at Israel’s Margins (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). Sarah is Principal Investigator of ARCHES (the AmeRicans’ Conceptions of Health Equity Study), a three-year, interdisciplinary study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Co-Founder of the Pandemic Journaling Project—the focus of her UCHI talk and project.

Erik Freeman is the Draper Dissertation Fellow at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute and a doctoral candidate in UConn’s Department of History. He earned a B.A. in French at Brigham Young University in 2008 and an M.A. in History at Brandeis University in 2013. Since 2013, he has served as an instructor of history at Choate Rosemary Hall, in Wallingford, Connecticut, where he has taught courses on environmental history, environmental policy, American history, European history, and the American West. Erik’s article “‘True Christianity’: The Flowering and Fading of Mormonism and Romantic Socialism in Nineteenth-Century France,” won the Best Article Award at the Communal Studies Association’s annual conference in 2018, and the Best International Article Award from the Mormon Historical Association in 2019.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

DHMS and FoT: Discriminating Data Book Discussion Group

UCHI's digital humanities and media studies initiative and future of truth project present a book discussion group about Wendy Hui Kyong Chun's Discriminating Data, led by Alexis L. Boylan and Yohei Igarashi. November 15, 2021, 3:00pm. Homer Babbidge Library, 4-209. Related event: virtual book talk by Wendy Chun, November 18, 2021, 1:00pm

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies Initiative and the Future of Truth project invite you to a book discussion group about:

Discriminating Data

by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
led by Alexis L. Boylan and Yohei Igarashi

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November 15, 2021, 3:00–4:00pm
Homer Babbidge Library, 4-209

To participate, please email uchi@uconn.edu. The first twenty participants to sign up will receive a free copy of Discriminating Data: Correlation, Neighborhoods, and the New Politics of Recognition (MIT Press, 2021).

In Discriminating Data, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun reveals how polarization is a goal—not an error—within big data and machine learning. These methods, she argues, encode segregation, eugenics, and identity politics through their default assumptions and conditions. Correlation, which grounds big data’s predictive potential, stems from twentieth-century eugenic attempts to “breed” a better future. Recommender systems foster angry clusters of sameness through homophily. Users are “trained” to become authentically predictable via a politics and technology of recognition. Machine learning and data analytics thus seek to disrupt the future by making disruption impossible.

Chun, who has a background in systems design engineering as well as media studies and cultural theory, explains that although machine learning algorithms may not officially include race as a category, they embed whiteness as a default. Facial recognition technology, for example, relies on the faces of Hollywood celebrities and university undergraduates—groups not famous for their diversity. Homophily emerged as a concept to describe white U.S. resident attitudes to living in biracial yet segregated public housing. Predictive policing technology deploys models trained on studies of predominantly underserved neighborhoods. Trained on selected and often discriminatory or dirty data, these algorithms are only validated if they mirror this data.

How can we release ourselves from the vice-like grip of discriminatory data? Chun calls for alternative algorithms, defaults, and interdisciplinary coalitions in order to desegregate networks and foster a more democratic big data.

[Book description from MIT Press site]

In conjunction with this event, Wendy Chun will give a virtual book talk on November 18, 2021 at 1:00pm. To attend the talk, register here.

2021–2022 Events

UCHI has an exciting roster of events coming up this year, detailed below. In celebration of our 20th anniversary, we’ll be hosting several events around the theme “The Future of Knowledge.” Some events will be virtual, and most in-person events will be livestreamed. Be sure to peruse our offerings and register for the events you’d like to attend virtually. Stay tuned as we announce more upcoming events!

Publishing NOW: How to Start a Series and How to Write for One

September 27, 2021

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Publishing NOW: How to Apply for a UConn Internal Grant

October 6, 2021

2:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Drew Johnson

October 13, 2021

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Carol Gray

October 20, 2021

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

DHMS: Algorithmic Arts and Humanities at UConn

October 21, 2021

12:30pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

DHMS: Jessica Johnson and Kim Gallon on Black Beyond Data

October 25, 2021

4:00pm

Virtual

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Erik Freeman

October 27, 2021

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Publishing NOW: Publishing about Politics after (?) Trump

November 1, 2021

4:00pm

Virtual

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Anna Ziering

November 3, 2021

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Dissertation Grant Writing Workshop

November 8, 2021

4:00pm

Virtual

REGISTER

DHMS: Daniel Rosenberg on the History of Data and Information

November 10, 2021

11:00am

Virtual

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Sarah Willen

November 10, 2021

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

DHMS: Discriminating Data Book Discussion Group

November 15, 2021

3:00pm

HBL, 4-209

DETAILS

DHMS: Wendy Chun on Discriminating Data

November 18, 2021

1:00pm

Virtual

REGISTER

Publishing NOW: How to Publish for the Public

December 1, 2021

1:00pm

Virtual

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Shiloh Whitney

December 8, 2021

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Meina Cai

January 26, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Publishing NOW: How to Write about Race Now

January 31, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Laura Mauldin

February 2, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

DHMS: Anke Finger on The Digital Dissertation

February 3, 2022

12:30pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

DHMS: Audrey Watters on Teaching Machines

February 17, 2022

4:00pm

Virtual

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Kathryn Moore

February 23, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Prakash Kashwan

March 2, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Micki McElya

March 9, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Publishing NOW: How to Work with an Academic Press

March 21, 2022

1:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Shardé Davis

March 23, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Nikole Hannah-Jones

March 30, 2022

2:00pm

Student Union Theater

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Sherie Randolph

April 20, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Fellow’s Talk: Fiona Vernal

April 27, 2022

4:00pm

HBL, 4-209

REGISTER

Statement Condemning the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol

Truth matters. As yesterday’s horrifying events illustrate, this is not an abstract principle, but a core practical commitment of democratic governance. When we ignore reality, dismiss the evidence, or simply encourage those who do so, we eat away at the foundations of our republic.

The value of truth in a democracy consists, most fundamentally, in the value of its pursuit through inquiry—the pursuit of the political facts, historical and literary context, and the basic principles of ethics—and through the different forms of knowledge and artistic expression cultivated in the humanities. In better times we often leave these things unsaid; but in times of crisis, they must be said, with fortitude and clarity.

We at the UConn Humanities Institute proudly reaffirm our commitment to these values—to justice, to democracy, to truth.

Michael P. Lynch
Director, UConn Humanities Institute
UConn Humanities Institute Logo, Future of Truth Logo

UCHI Hosts Microsoft’s Nancy Baym Talk on Social Media and Human Interactions

The Relational Affordances of Platforms

By Nancy K. Baym

 

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.

Join us on Wednesday, February 5 2020, at 4PM at the UCHI Conference Room, Babbidge Library, Fourth Floor.

Co-Sponsored by UConn Department of Communication, and UCHI’s Digital Humanities and Media Studies (DHMS) and The Future of Truth (TFOT) initiatives.

Through the generous gift of her honorarium, Nancy K. Baym is supporting the Humanities Institute’s Digital Toolbox Working Group for the 2019–20 academic year.

 

Nancy Baym headshotNancy Baym

Senior Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research New England
Research Affiliate, Comparative Media Studies/Writing, MIT

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 nancybaym.com.

The Future of Truth Co-sponsor of Three Events on November 5

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, the Science of Learning & Art of Communication program (SLAC) and the UConn Humanities Institute’s The Future of Truth Initiative (UCHI-TFoT) invite you to three special events. Please register for any you are interested in so that we can provide appropriate refreshments.

 

(1) SCIENCE AND IMAGINATION WORKSHOP

  • 3-6pm, UConn Humanities Institute Conference Room, 4th Floor, Babbidge Library
  • Featuring Michael Lynch, Tim Miller, and Susan Schneider from UConn, and Julie Sedivy (U. Calgary) and Mike Tanenhaus (U. Rochester)
  • Flyer attached; see details and register here
  • Dinner with the speakers will follow for a limited number of guests; if you would like to join for dinner, please register here, and we will send you details

(2) CULTIVATING SCIENTISTS AS AUTHORS: REWARDS, CHALLENGES, AND TECHNIQUES

  • 10-11:30am, UConn Humanities Institute Conference Room, 4th Floor, Babbidge Library
  • Light breakfast from 9:30
  • Led by Julie Sedivy (U. Calgary)
  • This is an interactive session for scientists who are interested in writing for general audiences, whether in the form of blogs, articles, books, or other media. We will discuss some of the practical aspects of learning to write for a nonacademic audience and of accessing channels for disseminating your writing more broadly. We will also address some of the obstacles experienced by scientists who would like to invest time and energy into science communication. We’ll explore the supports that scientists need from inside and outside their institutions and the potential payoffs of such investments for individual scientists and their institutions.
  • Please register for this writing workshop here

(3) SCIENCE — THE ENDLESS FRONTIER:  DISCUSSION & WORKING LUNCH

  • 12-2PM, UConn Humanities Institute Conference Room, 4th Floor, Babbidge Library
  • Led by Mike Tanenhaus (U. Rochester, 2018 winner of the Rumelhart Prize)
  • Participants should read the report ‘Science — the Endless Frontier‘ (which led to the founding of the National Science Foundation), in advance of the meeting. Mike’s talk at the Science and Imagination afternoon event focuses on this report (see his abstract here). Our working lunch will give you an opportunity to do a “deep dive” into this report with Mike. If time permits, we will talk about ways we can impact public support for science locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Click here to register for this discussion and lunch with Mike Tanenhaus

 

UCHI Co-Sponsors Annette Vee Lecture on Algorithmic Writers

Annette Vee headshotThe Digital Humanities & Media Studies initiative of the The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) will co-sponsor a lecture by Annette Vee, associate professor of English at University of Pittsburg, entitled “Algorithmic Writers and Implications for Literacy.” Her talk will take place on Wednesday, October 2 at 2 PM in the UCHI Conference Room (Babbidge Library, 4th Floor). Annette Vee is also the director of the Composition Program at Pitt, and is involved in various initiatives that connect the humanities, digital media, and computation. She is also the author of Coding Literacy: How Computer Programming Is Changing Writing (MIT Press, 2017). Other co-sponsors of this event are the Aetna Chair of Writing and the Neag School of Eductation’s Reading and Language Arts Center. Below you will find the abstract for Vee’s talk.

 

“Algorithmic Writers and Implications for Literacy”

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.

UCHI Awarded Luce Foundation Grant for “Seeing Truth’ Exhibit

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) is proud to be the recipient of a $275,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the programming of an exhibition entitled “Seeing Truth: Art, Science, and Making Knowledge (1750-2023).” This exhibition will be presented at the William Benton Museum of Art during the 2023 academic year in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History. UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas made the announcement at the reception marking the 19th season of UCHI’s fellowships. The grant, whose principle investigator is UCHI Director of Academic Affairs, Alexis Boylan, will bring together various scientific, cultural, and educational artifacts to challenge our notions and ideas of what counts as a “scientific” object or a work of “art.” Seeing Truth is one part of UCHI’s larger upcoming initiative entitled The Future of Truth. To learn more about Seeing Truth, visit a UConn Today article on the grant.