UF Event: Uncertain Actions, Inexperienceable Evidence: Towards New Practices of the Future Wendy Chun (Brown University), 4 December 2014, 5:30 pm, Smathers Library (East) 100

04 December 2014, 5:30 pm, Smathers Library (East) 100, UF Campus
Work of the Humanities
Uncertain Actions, Inexperienceable Evidence: Towards New Practices of the Future
Wendy Chun (Brown University) 
According to philosopher Immanuel Kant, the motto of the Enlightenment is:  Sapere aude—have the courage to use your own understanding.  The assumption of this motto is that enlightenment is inevitable, once the public is free.  This belief that the search for truth will set you free—that true knowledge leads to virtuous, collective actions—has been called into question over and over again, most recently by phenomena such as global climate change (not simply in terms of the continuing debate over its existence, but also by the temporality of climate predictions: by the time these models can be verified, it will be too late to act).  Furthermore, our classic theories of causality are being challenged by a growing interest in Big Data, which emphasizes correlation rather than causality in order to make predictions about the future. Rather than bemoan this situation, this talk uses the example of global climate change models to argue for an alliance between scientists and humanities scholars in order to answer the hard questions about the relationship between theory and practice—between truth, reality, and action—that face us all.
Wendy Chun is Professor and Chair 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), and Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT 2011); 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 Obscuraentitled “Race and/as Technology”, and co-editor (with Thomas Keenan) of New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader (Routledge, 2005). She is currently a Visiting Professor at Leuphana University (Luneburg, Germany). 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, as well as a visiting associate professor in the History of Science Department at Harvard, of which she is currently an Associate. She is working on a monograph entitled Imagined Networks.
This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact  humanities-center@ufl.edu.
The Work of the Humanities: Critical Thinking in Life and Labor
For its annual speaker series in 2014-2015, UF’s Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (CHPS) at the University of Florida has organized a nine-month speaker series that will explore the changing workplace from the perspective of several humanities disciplines. As these presentations will demonstrate, an active engagement in the disciplines of the humanities not only allows us to understand and adapt to those changes; it offers a way to initiate them. In addition to the labor that we do for compensation, the humanities can inform the way that we “work” at life. Those disciplines enhance our understanding and appreciation for what it means to be human in a world that is becoming more and more digitalized every day. And we should work at that task hardest.
This series is made possible by the Rothman Endowment and Yavitz Fund at the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with co-sponsorship from the UF Informatics Institute, Smathers Libraries, Honors Program, College of Public Health and Health Professions, Department of Political Science, Department of English and Phillip Wegner (Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Chair), Department of Philosophy, Department of Classics, Elizabeth B. and William F. Poe Center for Business Ethics Education and Research, Albert Brick Professor, Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, and UF Research