Digital Humanities Speakers

The Simpson Center has long been committed to supporting visiting speakers in the broad fields of digital humanities, data science studies, and digital culture. Past speakers include Alan Liu (University of California, Santa Barbara), Tara McPherson (University of Southern California), Jentery Sayers (University of Victoria), Johanna Drucker (University of California, Los Angeles), Julia Flanders and Syd Bauman (Northeastern University), Matthew Kirschenbaum (University of Maryland), Anne Balsamo (University of Texas at Dallas), Jeffrey Schnapp (Harvard University), and Michelle Caswell (University of California Los Angeles).  Recent conferences sponsored by the Simpson Center range from a May 2015 working conference proposed by UW faculty member Marshall Brown, then editor of Modern Language Quarterly, on Scale and Value: New Approaches to Literary History which resulted in a special issue of the journal, to a two-day October 2018 conference organized by UW faculty members Adrienne Russell (Communication) and Matthew Powers (Communication) on The Shifting Landscape of Public Communication, resulting in their edited collection Rethinking Media Research for Changing Societies, published by Cambridge University Press in 2020.

Featured Digital Humanities Speakers:
Lauren Klein, Jihan Sherman, and Romi Morrison


Romi Morrison, Jihan Sherman, and Lauren Klein"The Power of Absence: Thinking with Archival Theory in Algorithmic Systems"

Date & Location:

Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 4:00-5:30pm
CMU 120

Panel Summary:

This panel explores the value of archival theory as a means of grappling with algorithmic bias. Rather than seek to mitigate biases perpetuated by datasets and algorithmic systems, archival theory offers a reframing of bias itself. Drawing on a range of archival theory from the fields of history, literary and cultural studies, Black studies, queer theory, and feminist STS, we propose absence—as power, presence, and productive—as a concept that might more securely anchor investigations into the causes of algorithmic bias, and that can prompt more capacious, more creative, and more joyful future work. This work, in turn, can intervene into the technical as well as the social, historical, and political structures that serve as bias’s source.

About the Panelists:

Lauren Klein is Winship Distinguished Research Professor and Associate Professor in the departments of Quantitative Theory & Methods and English at Emory University, where she also directs the Digital Humanities Lab. Lauren works at the intersection of data science, AI, and the humanities, with an emphasis on questions of gender and race. She is coauthor (with Catherine D’Ignazio) of the award-winning Data Feminism (MIT Press, 2020), and coeditor (with Matthew K. Gold) of Debates in the Digital Humanities (Univ. of Minnesota Press), among other publications. She is currently completing Data by Design: An Interactive History of Data Visualization, forthcoming from the MIT Press, and envisioning the Atlanta Interdisciplinary AI Network, which will launch in Fall 2023.

Jihan Sherman is an architect, designer, and artist. She is a storyteller, creative, and maker. She is curious, questioning, and learning. Jihan is the founder of the multidisciplinary creative practice, Estelle + Boots. Her research and practice explore design, culture, and materiality, with a particular focus on absent heritages and lived experiences of design. Her most recent research with African American craftswomen explores design counter-narratives and craft-based approaches to technology design that center on care, healing, and the lived experiences of Black women. Jihan holds a PhD in Digital Media, a Master of Architecture and BS in Architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Romi Ron Morrison is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and educator.  Their work investigates the personal, political, ideological, and spatial boundaries of race, ethics, and social infrastructure within digital technologies. Using maps, data, sound, performance, and video, their installations center Black diasporic technologies that challenge the demands of an increasingly quantified world—reducing land into property, people into digits, and knowledge into data. Romi has exhibited work and given talks at numerous exhibitions, conferences, and workshops around the world including Transmediale (Berlin), ALT_CPH Biennial (Copenhagen), the American Institute of Architects (New York), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Queens Museum (New York), and the Walker Museum of Art. They have been in residence at Eyebeam Center for Art + Technology, New York University (ITP), The Joan Mitchell Foundation, and FemTechNet. Their writing has appeared in publications by MIT Press, University of California Press, Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, and Logic Magazine. They have taught courses at Parsons School of Design and the University of Southern California (USC). They are currently an Assistant Professor in the Design Media Arts program at UCLA in Los Angeles.


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