Monthly Archives: March 2020

Lecture: “Infelicity and Unfalsifiablity: Literary Studies, Data Science, and the Future of Argumentation”

This event has been canceled and will be rescheduled during the academic year 2020–2021 if possible.

Thursday, April 2, 2020
3:30 PM
Grucci Room, 102 Burrowes Building

Lecture sponsored by the Digital Culture and Media Initiative

On Thursday, April 2, 2020, Nan Z. Da (University of Notre Dame) will deliver a lecture titled “Infelicity and Unfalsifiablity: Literary Studies, Data Science, and the Future of Argumentation.”

Event flyer

Description of presentation

This talk borrows from the rules of argumentation in the quantitative sciences to address the adjudication of quantitative methods in literary studies. The problems of a cross-disciplinarity heavily invested in application and rhetoric have finally come to a head in the last two years, with scholars alerted to a structural blindspot in which the language from respective donor disciplines is used to excuse the absence of import and rigor in the work. These disciplines might be reconvened, I suggest, to tackle what are traditionally called infelicitous arguments — arguments that are not wrong or inopportune, per se, but for which judgment has been made infelicitous, there being no forum, no possible way given current disciplinary and social formations, to articulate skepticism. These are arguments — in theory abjured by both disciplines — that have been made unfalsifiable. We know how infelicity works, phenomenologically, even if we do not always recognize it in practice. I address the felicity and falsifiability conditions in computational/quantitative literary studies with recourse to logics from social scientific domains, and discuss similar logics from within exemplary literary studies.

Speaker bio

Nan Da is assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches comparative literature and literary theory. She is the author of the book Intransitive Encounter (Columbia University Press, 2018) and two essays on the state of computational literary studies published in the journals Critical Inquiry and The Chronicle Review. Her other work can be found in American Literary History, Avidly, The Georgia Review, The Henry James Review, J19, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, Signs, Times Literary Supplement, The Threepenny Review, and The Yale Review. She also edits, with Professor Anahid Nersessian, Thinking Literature — a series dedicated to literary criticism sponsored by the University of Chicago Press.

Lecture: “Ordinary Media: The Aesthetics of Always-On Computing”

This event has been canceled and will be rescheduled during the academic year 2020–2021 if possible.

Thursday, March 19, 2020
3:30 PM
Grucci Room, 102 Burrowes Building

Lecture sponsored by the Digital Culture and Media Initiative

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, James J. Hodge (Northwestern University) will deliver a lecture titled “Ordinary Media: The Aesthetics of Always-On Computing.”

Event flyer

Description of presentation

In the 1990s the emergence of the World Wide Web changed the media landscape decisively if uncertainly. In the first decade or so of the 2000s the tectonics of that media landscape again shifted remarkably with the rise of always-on computing: the milieu of smartphones, social media, and ubiquitous wireless networks. This second shift may be seen as one from “new” media to “ordinary” media. The historical present of ordinary media is characterized by the popular embrace of a remarkable number of new networked genres, including selfies, ASMR videos, supercuts, animated GIFs, memes, podcasts, tweets, and much else. This talk focuses on artistic expressions of this new terrain, arguing that these genres embody strategies of provisional attunement to the vicissitudes of the historical present.

Speaker bio

James J. Hodge is Associate Professor in the department of English and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. His book Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art was published in fall 2019 by the University of Minnesota Press. His essays on digital aesthetics have appeared in the journals Critical Inquiry, Postmodern Culture, and Triquarterly, among others. His current book project, “Ordinary Media: The Aesthetics of Always-On Computing,” examines a range of experimental and popular digital artworks in their capacity to express the felt dynamics of always-on computing, from anxiety and sociability to productivity and vulnerability.