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Humanities and Infrastructures: A Contradiction in Terms?

EPFL’s College of Humanities and the Laboratory for the History of Science and Technology are organizing the fifth session of Pierre Mounier’s monthly seminar on Governing Digital Knowledge Infrastructures.

Humanities and Infrastructures: A Contradiction in Terms?

At first sight, “humanities infrastructures” sound like a contradiction in terms. While humanities understood in their specificity as hermeneutic practices, thrive on tension and imply reflexive debate and dialogue, infrastructures, on the contrary, would rather designate rigidly built frameworks made to be forgotten by their very users. Rather than resolving this contradiction, what can we learn from it?

Indeed, hermeneutic and dialogical practices are well suited to lead a humanistic critique of infrastructures. Calling on concepts and methods from (critical) humanities, how can we make existing infrastructures visible and highlight their effects on knowledge production? Reciprocally, such critique could feed reflections on how to design infrastructures for the humanities that would ensure critical thinking. How can we conceive infrastructures that will foster humanistic tensions by driving its users to develop a critical praxis?

To that end, drawing on our own experiences of digital knowledge infrastructures, we will discuss and debate how the works of Johanna Drucker on the digital humanities and Patrik Svensson on “humane infrastructures” intersect at a point where contradiction becomes heuristic.

This seminar will have a hybrid setup: at EPFL in room INN 128 (please register here) and online (please email simon.dumasprimbault@epfl.ch to get the Zoom link).

From: 25 Feb, 2022
10:00-12:00
To: 25 Feb, 2022
Organizer: EPFL CDH LHST
Speaker: Pierre Mounier
Languages: English

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