Distinguished Colloquium (Stallman Lecture): Paul Dourish (UC Irvine)


Tuesday, 9/25/18, 1:15-2:30pm, UTA 5.522

Title: Engaging The Digital Material: A new approach to the materiality of information

Speaker: Paul Dourish (University of California, Irvine)


Many scholars have been at pains to point out that, despite the rhetoric of virtuality that underlies much of how we talk about digital technologies, those technologies are resolutely material — crafted from minerals and poisonous chemicals, consuming power, generating heat, and occupying space. Materialist conceptions of digital media offer alternative accounts that resituate contemporary technologies in social, economic, and organizational settings. However, this approach, while useful, leaves the content of the digital largely untouched. In this talk, I will explore an alternative conception of digital materiality. By focusing on digital representations and their technical manifestations, I will explore an alternative domain of materiality that shapes and constrains the encounter between the digital and social worlds. This provides a new stance from which to understand how digital systems produce their effects and are incorporated into larger systems of meaning and action.


Paul Dourish is Chancellor's Professor of Informatics and Associate Dean for Research in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at UC Irvine, with courtesy appointments in Computer Science and Anthropology. He also holds the position of Honorary Senior Fellow in Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. His research focuses primarily on understanding information technology as a site of social and cultural production; his work combines topics in human-computer interaction, social informatics, and science and technology studies. He is the author of several books, most recently "The Stuff of Bits: An Essay on the Materialities of Information" (MIT Press, 2017). He is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the BCS, a member of the SIGCHI Academy, and a recipient of the AMIA Diana Forsythe Award and the CSCW Lasting Impact Award.

Before coming to UCI, he was a Senior Member of Research Staff in the Computer Science Laboratory of Xerox PARC; he has also held research positions at Apple Computer and at Rank Xerox EuroPARC. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University College, London, and a B.Sc. (Hons) in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh.



1:15pm to 2:30pm


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