Control Societies Speaker Series: Wendy Chun

Discriminating Data: Neighborhoods, Individuals, Proxies
Control Societies speaker series
Date: 
20 Nov 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Location: 
Room 109
Audience: 
University-Wide
Type: 
Lecture

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This talk draws from Chun's current book project, Discriminating Data: Neighborhoods, Individuals, Proxies, which investigates the centrality of race, gender, class and sexuality to machine learning and network analytics.  Unpacking key technical concepts—from correlation to proxies, factor analysis to deep learning—it reveals how these principles can foster acrimony and segregation and, through their default assumptions and conditions, amplify the societal and “human” prejudices that they were developed to negate. To desegregate networks and buttress social justice, Discriminating Data argues for the further development of alternative algorithms, defaults and interdisciplinary coalitions.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Center for Media at Risk. There will be a reception at 5:30pm, and the lecture will begin at 6:00pm.

About the Lecture

This talk draws from Chun's current book project, Discriminating Data: Neighborhoods, Individuals, Proxies, which investigates the centrality of race, gender, class and sexuality to machine learning and network analytics. Unpacking key technical concepts—from correlation to proxies, factor analysis to deep learning—it reveals how these principles can foster acrimony and segregation and, through their default assumptions and conditions, amplify the societal and “human” prejudices that they were developed to negate. To desegregate networks and buttress social justice, Discriminating Data argues for the further development of alternative algorithms, defaults, and interdisciplinary coalitions.

About Wendy Chun

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun will be the Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media at Simon Fraser University and was previously Professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. She has studied both Systems Design Engineering and English Literature, which she combines and mutates in her current work on digital media. She is author of Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT, 2006), Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT 2011), and Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media (MIT 2016). She is co-editor (with Tara McPherson and Patrick Jagoda) of a special issue of American Literature entitled New Media and American Literature, co-editor (with Lynne Joyrich) of a special issue of Camera Obscura entitled Race and/as Technology, and co-editor (with Anna Fisher and Thomas Keenan) of New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader, 2nd edition (forthcoming Routledge, 2015). She was a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, ACLS and American Academy of Berlin Fellow, and she has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and a Wriston Fellow at Brown. She has been the Velux Visiting Professor of Management, Politics, and Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School, the Wayne Morse Chair for Law and Politics at the University of Oregon, Visiting Professor at Leuphana University (Luneburg, Germany), and Visiting Associate Professor in the History of Science Department at Harvard.

About Control Societies Speaker Series

Control Societies was started as part of the School of Social Policy & Practice’s initiative on Culture, Society, and Critical Policy Studies in order to feature and engage cutting edge scholarship on the enumerating acts of governmentality in computational culture and the incalculable possibilities of justice. For the 2017/2018 academic year, the School of Social Policy & Practice will continue its speaker series in partnership with the Annenberg School for Communication, which produces scholarship on the social, cultural, economic, and political implications of digital information and communication technologies, networks, and systems. Through the speaker series, the organizers aim to explore the philosophical foundations of algorithms, data, and their intersections with governmentality, surveillance, social policy, and the reconfiguring of power relations.

Future lectures include:

  • January 28: Patricia Clough, CUNY Graduate Center
  • February 4: Zach Blas, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • April 1: Cindy Tekobbe, University of Alabama

For more information, visit criticalpolicystudies.com/speaker-series.

Additional funding is provided by the Provost Excellence Through Diversity Fund and Price Digital Humanities Lab.

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Disclaimer: 
This event may be photographed and/or video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. We also video stream many of these video recordings through the Annenberg web site. By attending or participating in this event, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded and you are waiving any and all claims regarding the use of your image by the Annenberg School for Communication. The Annenberg School for Communication, at its discretion, may provide a copy of the photos/footage upon written request.