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Information Ecosystems: A Sawyer Seminar at the University of Pittsburgh

The Co-Evolution of Data and Method

The project seeks to advance critical understanding of where data comes from and how it is used, setting the present moment within a century-long history of information supply and its power-laden consequences. Across the humanities and social sciences, methods of knowledge production are being transformed by an extraordinary expansion of digitized information. The same is true outside the university: governments, corporations, and civil society are all grappling with new possibilities, and new risks, shaped by massive data flows and new tools brought to bear on them.

Our year-long seminar—uniting two dozen Pittsburgh-area faculty, graduate students, and practitioners with fourteen leading international scholars who will visit us as guest speakers—sets the present moment within a century-long history of information supply and its power-laden consequences.

At a moment when societies are in urgent need of guidance to navigate rapidly shifting digital terrain, we are coming together to build a deep understanding of the social and political life of data.

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