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Please follow this link to our series blog.  



The goal of the Conversations in Digital Humanities speaker series is to engage Cornell's scholars and practitioners whose projects explore the intersections of advanced digital technology and cultural understanding.  It targets a broad community of interest at Cornell that reaches across disciplinary and institutional lines. The series includes speakers whose research and practice break new ground in understanding how new media and digital methodologies are changing the landscape of research, teaching, learning, creative expression, and cultural experience. 

The series is co-sponsored by the Cornell University Library, The Society for the Humanities, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

We always welcome suggestions for inviting speakers to engage our community in discussions such as:

  • Analyzing the history, criticism, and philosophy of digital culture and its impact on society
  • Practicing integrative approaches that acknowledge the increasingly hybrid nature of our environments, blending new with old. 
  • Developing innovative uses of technology for public programming, publication, and education
  • Creating new multimodal and interactive artworks, interfaces, or other digital “texts”
  • Designing and developing new digital tools for creating, preserving, analyzing, and providing access to digital resources
  • Creatively engaging with “big data”
  • Incorporating digital tools and collaborative learning methods into teaching and pedagogy
  • Expanding the possibilities of new digital modes of publication that facilitate the dissemination of humanities scholarship
  • Exploring issues related to information sustainability, permanence, copyright, and authenticity

Please see the series blog for more detailed information about upcoming events.

Talks will be free, open to the public, and followed by general discussion                           

For more information, contact the series coordinator Mickey Casad (Digital Scholarship & Preservation Services):

2014 Fall Schedule

September 15: Merritt Kopas

Independent Game Designer, Archivist, and Activist

Ludus Interruptus:  How Digital Games Struggle with Sexuality

4:30 pm

Olin Library 107

Merritt Kopas is the author of the games LIM, HUGPUNX, and Consensual Torture Simulator, and a number of other works. Her games have shifted conversations about play, bodies, and sex and have been showcased in festivals across North America and Europe. Kopas aims to build forms of play useful to radical movements and marginalized communities. She curates free and accessible games at her project Forest Ambassador, an attempt to bring interesting work in games to wider publics. She is currently editing an anthology of interactive fiction to be released in 2015

October 2: Edward Baptist

Professor of History, Cornell University

Close, Distant, and Dialogical Readings: Three Ways of Looking at the WPA Ex-Slave Narratives

4:30 pm

Olin Library 703

November 5:  Hoyt Long

Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature, Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago

Literary Pattern Recognition: A Machine Reading of Modernist Form

4:30 pm

Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

This event is co-sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor

2015 Spring Schedule - to be posted soon!

2013 Fall Schedule

Sept. 19: Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Director of Scholarly Communication, Modern Language Association, and Visiting Research Professor of English, NYU

The Future is Open: Scholarly Societies and Scholarly Publics

4:00 pm, 2B48 Kroch Library

Since the seventeenth-century founding of the Royal Society of London, scholarly societies have been dedicated to facilitating communication among their members. For the most part, that communication has taken place through annual meetings and periodical publications. The affordances of the internet, however, have begun to change the ways that members of those societies are connecting with one another, as well as with the broader public. Moreover, calls for public access to the products of scholarly research are increasing, and often seem to be at odds with the membership-based ethos of scholarly societies. The conflict, however, is unnecessary, though its resolution will require significant changes in how we think about scholarly communication and the societies that facilitate it. This talk will explore some of those changes, describing one potential path forward into an increasingly open future.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick is Director of Scholarly Communication of the Modern Language Association and Visiting Research Professor of English at NYU.  She is author of Planned Obsolescence:  Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (NYU Press, 2011) and of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006). She is co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons, where she has led a number of experiments in open peer review and other innovations in scholarly publishing.

Additional sponsors for this event include the Institute for Internet Culture, Policy, and Law and the Center for Teaching Excellence


October 3: Michael Wesch

Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University

The End of Wonder in the Age of Whatever

4:00 pm, Alice Statler Auditorium

In a world where we are constantly connected through new media and technology, how can we cultivate a sense of wonder in students? Join Prof. Wesch as he addresses how we can harness 21st century tools to inspire students to connect, collaborate, and create in ways that challenge what we think we know about human interaction. Wesch's videos on education, culture, and technology have reached millions of viewers across the globe. His presentation will offer new models to inspire and help students to engage with a rapidly changing world.

Michael Wesch is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University.  Dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine, Wesch explores the effects of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society.  His videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over 15 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and he was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic.  He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.

This event is organized by the Center for Teaching Excellence

October 22: Trebor Scholtz

Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory

4:30 pm Doherty Lounge, Ives Hall

Scholz’s talk will examine frameworks for thinking about labor in the virtual age., arguing for a need to balance optimism about engaged digital culture with critique that acknowledges the “dramatic shifts” that have restructured “leisure, consumption, and production since the mid-century,” leading to the “complex, hybrid realities of the digital economy.”

Scholz is the editor of several collections of essays, including Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory (Routledge, 2012). In 2011, he authored, with Laura Y. Liu, From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City.  With Omar Khan and Mark Shepard, he edited the Situated Technologies series of 9 books and, with Geert Lovink, The Art of Free Cooperation (Autonomedia, 2007). His forthcoming monograph with Polity offers a history of the Social Web and its Orwellian economies.  Scholz frequently lectures at conferences and festivals with recent venues including Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, The Obama White House, and Transmediale. Trebor Scholz chaired seven major conferences, including the Internet as Playground and Factory ( and MobilityShifts (  He was the recipient of a MacArthur grant and is the founder of the Institute for Distributed Creativity, international platform for critical network culture.

This event will be co-sponsored by the School of Industrial and Labor Relations

October 31: Brooke Singer

Associate Professor of New Media, Purchase College,
 State University of New York

Making Doing

5:00 pm, Milstein Auditorium

Brooke Singer is a media artist who lives in New York City. Her work
blurs the borders between science, technology, politics and arts
practices. She engages technoscience as an artist, educator,
nonspecialist and collaborator. Her work lives "on" and "off" line in the form of websites, workshops, photographs, maps, installations and
performances that often involves public participation in pursuit of
social change.

Singer has exhibited at the MoMA/PS1, Warhol Museum of Art, The Banff
Centre, Matadero Madrid, Neuberger Museum of Art, Diverseworks, Bronx
River Art Center, Exit Art, FILE Electronic Festival, Sonar Music and
Multimedia Festival, The Whitney Artport, among others. Recent awards and commissions include a Madrid Council’s Department of the Arts
commission, commission, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Artist award, Helsinki Artist International
Program residency, Headlands Center for Arts residency, New York State
Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) award, a New York
Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) fellowship and an Eyebeam and Lower
Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) Social Sculpture commission. She was
a fellow at Eyebeam Art + Technology from 2010-2011.

Singer's writing has been included in books and journals such as
Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution (2012) Net Works: Case
Studies in Web Art and Design (2011) and Duke University's Radical
History Review (2006). She has been interviewed by NPR’s All Things
Considered and Where we Live, along with several other public radio

She is currently Associate Professor of New Media at Purchase College,
State University of New York, and co-founder of the art, technology
and activist group Preemptive Media.

For more please visit:

This event is sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor, The Society for the Humanities, the Department of Art, and The Tinker Factory Lab

2013 Spring Schedule

March 4 - Ben Fino-Radin

Digital Conservator, Rhizome ArtBase:

“Conservation in Collections of Born-Digital Contemporary Art”

4:30 pm, Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

Fino-Radin will be joined in discussion by internationally-recognized media art curators Richard Rinehart, Director, Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University, and Timothy Murray, Curator of Cornell's Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art and Director of the Society for the Humanities. This talk is supported in part by a digital preservation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

March 26 - Shannon Mattern

School of Media Studies, The New School, NY

 "Infrastructural Intelligence: Thinking About and Through Layered Infrastructures"

4:30 pm, 106 Olin Library

A technical infrastructure is simultaneously a conduit for, and an embodiment of, an intellectual infrastructure: an epistemology, a way of solving problems, and a means of concretizing and spatializing answers to those problems. In this talk I'll address how my students and I have been exploring these interlocking infrastructures by creating new infrastructures for scholarly inquiry -- and how I've "wired" these pedagogical experiments into my own scholarship on media infrastructures. Over the years we've constructed interactive "deep" maps; exhibitions, both online an on-site; and multimedia publications to visualize, sonify, spatialize, and inhabit various infrastructures, ranging from pneumatic tube mail-delivery systems, to archival processing protocols, to the geographies of resource acquisition, manufacture, and distribution that generate our consumer technologies. I'll discuss how a few of my courses "scaffold" our exploration of these topics, and how this teaching generates new infrastructural intelligence for my own work.

April 2 - Yanni Loukissas

Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard

"Drawing Data Work"

12:30 pm, Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

     On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, astronauts on-board the Apollo 11 lunar module, narrowly completed the first moon landing in the wake of a series of disruptive alarms from their digital guidance computer. We now know that these program alarms were inconsequential. However, the burden of monitoring and interpreting those data distracted the team at critical moments, nearly forcing them to abort the mission or risk a fatal crash. This early event in the development of human-computer relationships foreshadowed widespread public concerns about the integration of digital computing into everyday work.
     Since Apollo, issues of distraction, authority, and trust have troubled digital interactions with data. Surgeons struggle with increasing demands on their attention; indeed, they must monitor data in proliferating digital forms while simultaneously executing complex manual tasks and managing an ad hoc team. Architects quarrel over what constitutes an adequate digital model and who has the skills, creative sensibilities, and access to data necessary to construct it. Curators of material collections including libraries, archives, museums and arboreta fear a transformation
 or loss of knowledge through digitization. I seek to understand and aid such workers as they endeavor to merge, modify or replace older virtues and norms with the values of an emerging digital culture.
     This talk addresses the question of how to study work in the technological moment. Using the historical example of the Apollo 11 landing, I will demonstrate how I have used data visualization as a form of inquiry into the micro-physics of human-computer relationships. My presentation will address a number of issues, including how to integrate qualitative and quantitative sources, animate data through graphics, and allow for multiple interpretations to adhere. This research contributes to a timely and long-term ambition: to bring design methods to bear on the study of knowledge and creativity in digital culture.

April 8 - Neil Fraistat

Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities & Professor of English, University of Maryland

4:30 pm, Guerlac Room, A.D. White House

This event is sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor.

Talks will be free, open to the public, and followed by general discussion.                              

For more information, contact the series coordinator Mickey Casad (Digital Scholarship & Preservation Services):


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