Founded in 1986, the Humanities Institute presents a thematic program each semester on a topic related to the humanities. As part of Scripps’ tradition of interdisciplinary education, this program includes lectures, conferences, exhibitions, performances, and film series bringing prominent and younger cutting-edge scholars to campus.
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Ignorance in the Age of Information
Information is more accessible to more people than ever. Yet, one of the central concerns in the public consciousness today is that we seem especially susceptible to deceit and manipulation via our sources of information, including both the internet in its various forms and more traditional news media. This year, the Humanities Institute will focus on this concern, regarding both content (like “fake news” and other misinformation), and form (like the “echo chamber” or “filter bubble” of social media news feeds). What is the problem, exactly, and how is it new or especially worrying for our society? What facilitates it, technological factors or social and political ones? How has our current epistemic environment affected our ability to think together and trust each other? Will this situation feed (and will it change) our tendency to see conspiracies, or hope where there is none, or will it lead to greater and more evolved critical reasoning?
Public Event – Cal Biruk
March 27, 2019
Oberlin anthropologist Cal Biruk comes to Scripps to explore the social worlds, transactions, and politics that emerge in and around research projects collecting health data in Malawi, and their implications for how we understand numbers and enumeration in global health and beyond.
Cal Biruk is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Oberlin College. Cal is the author of Cooking Data: Culture and Politics in an African Research World (Duke U Press, 2018) and numerous articles in venues such as Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Medicine Anthropology Theory, Journal of Modern African Studies, Critical Public Health and Critical African Studies. Cal's research and teaching interests are at the intersection of medical anthropology, critical data studies and queer studies. Her second book project, Fake Gays: Metrics, Ethics and Authenticity in African Aid Economies, draws on long term ethnographic work with an LGBT-rights NGO in Malawi to capture the relations and transactions that constitute diverse political, identity, and economic projects that play out within aid geographies in the global South. Fake Gays melds insights from queer theory and critical data studies to show how numbers and quantification become unlikely resources in queer projects on the ground.
This program is made possible by the Department of Anthropology in partnership with the Scripps College Humanities Institute.