February 2016

“The Future of the Humanities / The Future and the Humanities.” University of San Francisco. 29 February November 2016.

  • Abstract: Drawing on research and advocacy conducted by the 4humanities.org initiative that he co-founded, Alan Liu discusses the contemporary public perception of the humanities, methods of using digital research and communications to develop effective humanities advocacy, and the broader question of the “future” of humanities disciplines, many of which consider history and the past to be their core. What is the relationship of the humanities to the future? And how can designing a stance on humanities and the future position the humanities disciplines to draw on, but also to help reform, today’s power discourses of “invention,” “innovation,” “disruption,” and “creativity”? The talk details in particular the 4Humanities “WhatEvery1Says” project, which uses digital methods to study a large corpus of media and other public speech about the humanities in order to assist the humanities in reframing the debate.

“How to Be a Humanist in the Year 2030: Digital Humanities and the New Norms of Scholarship (A Prophecy).” Critical Speaker Series. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 10 February 2016.

“Key Trends in Digital Humanities — How the Digital Humanities Challenge the Idea of the Humanities.” Critical Speakers Series. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 9 February 2016.

  • Abstract: How do such key methods in the digital humanities as data mining, mapping, visualization, social network analysis, and topic modeling make an essential difference in the idea of the humanities, and vice versa? Using examples of digital humanities research, Alan Liu speculates on the large questions that confront the humanities in the face of computational media–most importantly, questions about the nature and function of interpretive “meaning.”