Critical Inquiry Critical Inquiry

Critical Inquiry Visiting Professor: Wendy Chun

Since 2003, the Critical Inquiry Distinguished Visiting Professorship has been held by some of the world’s most renowned scholars. The CI Professor is in residence at the University of Chicago for an academic quarter, where he or she teaches a graduate seminar and offers two public lectures.

In Spring 2021 we are proud to welcome Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Simon Fraser University's Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media in the School of Communication. 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 (2006), Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (2011), Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media (2016), and coauthor of Pattern Discrimination (2019). She has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, where she worked for almost two decades and where she’s currently a Visiting Professor. 

 

Spring Seminar: Critical Data Studies

4/28 to 5/31: Mon. and Wed., 10:30am–1:20pm

The massive collection of data, we are told, changes everything. It’s allegedly the new oil, the new resource to be exploited, as well as the new hidden, “real” layer behind all media. It transforms the creative practice, public sphere, scholarship, and intimate relationships by making them “data-driven.” It raises the specter of absolute surveillance and vacuum-sealed echo chambers, all in the name of giving users the commodities, friendships, and security they really want. To explore the possibilities and limitations of the “data turn”––this course asks: what difference does the mass capture, storage, correlation, and analysis of data make to society, culture, media, ethics and politics? How does it affect fundamental concepts, such as reality, agency, identity, verification, and temporality?  It will answer these questions by exploring four key terms, such as correlation, authenticity, recognition, and neighborhoods, from historical, critical theory, and technical perspectives. It will also encourage students to contribute to the burgeoning field of Critical Data Studies by exploring and experimenting with unusual interdisciplinary methodologies and collaborations.

Interested students must send a paragraph stating their interest to Critical Inquiry at cisubmissions@gmail.com

 

 

Public Lectures

 

Public Lecture 1: Beyond Verification: Authenticity and Mis/Disinformation

That fake news has affected recent political events in the US and abroad has become a truism; the sense that combating fake news entails more than fact checking and verification similarly has become accepted wisdom. So how do we understand and respond to fake news? This talk will map out different approaches to fake news in diverse disciplines/sectors, and outline a response that focuses on understanding why and how users find information to be true regardless of its facticity. Framing fake news as an intermedial narrative, it will outline an approach based in dramatic/literary conceptions of authenticity. 

Friday, 7 May, 6pm CST: Sign up for the virtual event here.

Public Lecture 2: Critical Data Studies

Data, we’re told over and over again, defines the twenty-first century. It’s allegedly the new oil, the new resource to be exploited, as well as the new hidden, “real” layer behind all media. It raises the specter of absolute surveillance and vacuum-sealed echo chambers, all in the name of giving users the commodities, friendships, and security they really want. To displace these visions, this talk addresses the possibilities for cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration and investigations. It will take as its case study “neighborhoods.”

Friday, 21 May, 6pm CST: Sign up for the virtual event here.

 


 

Past holders of the CI Professorship are:

Fredric Jameson 2003-2004

Julia Kristeva 2004-2005

Stanley Cavell 2005-2006

Slavoj Žižek 2006-2007

Ian Hacking 2007-2008

Jacques Rancière 2008-2009

Joan Copjec 2009-2010

Leo Bersani 2011-2012

Peter Galison 2012-2013

Samuel R. Delany 2013-2014

Raymond Bellour 2015-2016

N. Katherine Hayles 2016-2017

Saidiya Hartman 2017-2018