Data Then and Now

The Data Then and Now seminar series explores the social and organizational history of data and data practices in order to better understand the current data-intensive moment through its antecedents and continuities. It features invited speakers from across the country and around the world.

It is co-sponsored by the eScience Institute, the Information School, the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering, and the Science Technology & Society Studies Certificate Program at the University of Washington. Everyone interested is welcome to attend.

2019-2020 Speakers

Data You Can Smell: Gas Chromatography and the Promise of Olfactory Policing (video)

By Christy Spackman

January 15, 2020


HIV, Meet Data Science: On the Arrival of Big Data Methods, the Open Source Ethos, and Predictive Analytics in U.S. HIV Prevention (video)

By Stephen Molldrem

January 29, 2020


Molecular Bureaucracy: A Chemical History of Data (video)

By Evan Hepler-Smith

February 12, 2020


Technofutures in Stasis: Smart Machines, Ubiquitous Computing, and the Future That Keeps Coming Back (video)

February 26, 2020

By Sun-ha Hong


"Never use the word data!": Situating 'Data' in the 1980s-1990s History of the Interpretive Turn in Sociology


By Annette Markham

Computational Parasites, Hydropower Histories and Bitcoin: Some Thoughts Toward Political Ecologies of the Digital (video)

March 11, 2020

By Jim Thatcher


Oceanic Datascapes: Data Diversity and Data Reduction During the International Geophysical Year and Beyond

April 8, 2020 [Cancelled]

By Elena Aranova


Change Over Time? Fracture and Reconciliation in Natural Science Infrastructure (video)

April 22, 2020

By Andrea Thomer


Outsider Interpretations of Open Scientific Data and Their Impact on Policy (video)

May 6, 2020

By Luis Reyes-Galindo


Open Source Religion: A Spiritual Genealogy of Text Mining and the Production and Ownership of Religious Data (1955-2010) (video)

May 20, 2020

By Andrew Ventimiglia


A History of the Demo and a Future for the Essay (video)

June 3, 2020

By Warren Sack


2018-2019 Speakers

Give Me a Laboratory: Remaking Epistemic Hierarchies in the Era of Data Science

By Nicole C. Nelson

November 1, 2018


Data Rhetoric: From Deductive to Inductive to Abductive Demonstrations of Big Data

By Warren Sack

February 13, 2019 (cancelled due to inclement weather)


Darwin’s Animoji: Histories of Emotion, Animation, and Racism in Everyday Facial Recognition (video)

By Luke Stark

February 27, 2019


Cooking Data: Culture and Politics in an African Research World (video)

By Cal Biruk

March 13, 2019


Critiquing (T)reason in Knowledge Representation: Historical Perspectives on Semantic Data Infrastructure (video)

April 10, 2019

By Lindsay Poirier


In Data We Trust: Modern Political History and the Triumph of Tech (video)

April 24, 2019

By Margaret O'Mara


Reinventing Expertise in the Age of Platforms: The Case of Data Science

May 8, 2019

By Shreeharsh Kelkar


The life of data in the city (video)

[Convened in conjunction with the Data Science Seminar]

May 22, 2019

By Paul Dourish


Data Imaginaries: Frictions and Flattenings in the Data Lives of Seeds

June 5, 2019

By Xan Chacko


Co-sponsors: eScience Institute, Dept. of Human-Centered Design and Engineering, and the Science, Technology and Society Studies Certificate Program
Co-organizers: Anissa Tanweer, David Ribes, and Megan Finn