March 3rd – Against the Cultural Singularity

AGAINST THE CULTURAL SINGULARITY: Toward a Critical Digital Humanities

Tuesday, March 3rd | 4:00 – 6:00 PM | 1246 Social Sciences & Humanities

Following up on the question 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 that imagines modes 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). Can digital-humanities research and development 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 making of a revisionary “enterprise technology”? 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, and an affiliated faculty member of UCSB’s Media Arts & Technology graduate program. Previously, he was on the faculty of Yale University’s English Department and British Studies Program. Liu founded the NEH-funded Teaching with Technology project at UC Santa Barbara called Transcriptions: Literature and the Culture of Information and his English Department’s undergraduate specialization on Literature and the Culture of Information. During 2002-2007 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) and chair of the Technology/Software Committee of the ELO’s PAD Initiative (Preservation / Archiving / Dissemination of Electronic Literature). After serving as Chair of his department during 2008-12, he was on leave in 2012-13 with an ACLS fellowship and short-term fellowships at the National Humanities Center and the Australian National University Humanities Research Centre.