January 27, 2020

Uncommon DH Critic talk to examine 'Data Trouble'

Miriam Posner

Miriam Posner

The College of Arts and Sciences’ Digital Humanities Program is continuing its Uncommon Digital Humanities Critic series with a talk by Miriam Posner, assistant professor in the School of Information at UCLA.

Posner’s talk, titled “Data Trouble,” is Jan. 30 at 3:30 p.m. in the Bailey Library, Andrews Hall room 228.

Posner, a digital humanist with interests in labor, race, feminism, and the history and philosophy of data, will discuss how humanists think of data and how they use it.

“Digital humanists have no particular problem talking about data,” Posner said in an abstract describing her talk. “We use it, trade it, and think about it constantly. Many ‘traditional’ humanists, though, bristle at the notion that their sources constitute ‘data.’ And yet humanists work with evidence, and they speak of proving their claims. So is this just a problem of terminology? I’ll argue in this talk that our data trouble is more substantial than we’ve acknowledged. The term ‘data’ seems alien to the humanities not just because humanists aren’t used to computers, but because it exposes some very real differences in the way humanists and scholars from some other fields conceive of the work they do.”

The Uncommon Digital Humanities Critic is an annual invited address is to give students and faculty the opportunity to learn from a new scholar each year while hearing about some of the most cutting-edge digital humanities projects. Adrian S. Wisnicki, associate professor of English and the Digital Humanities Program coordinator, launched the series last year.

“Professor Posner is doing fantastic work and is a highly influential figure in the field of digital humanities,” Wisnicki said. “It is our privilege to bring her to campus so that students, faculty, and staff have a chance to interact with her and learn more about her work firsthand.”