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

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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

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Molecular Bureaucracy: A Chemical History of Data (video)

By Evan Hepler-Smith

February 12, 2020

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

February 26, 2020

By Sun-ha Hong

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

[Cancelled]

By Annette Markham


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

March 11, 2020

By Jim Thatcher

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

April 8, 2020 [Cancelled]

By Elena Aranova

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

April 22, 2020

By Andrea Thomer

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

May 6, 2020

By Luis Reyes-Galindo

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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

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

June 3, 2020

By Warren Sack

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2018-2019 Speakers

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

By Nicole C. Nelson

November 1, 2018

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

By Warren Sack

February 13, 2019 (cancelled due to inclement weather)

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

By Luke Stark

February 27, 2019

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

By Cal Biruk

March 13, 2019

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

April 10, 2019

By Lindsay Poirier

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

April 24, 2019

By Margaret O'Mara

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

May 8, 2019

By Shreeharsh Kelkar

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The life of data in the city (video)

[Convened in conjunction with the Data Science Seminar]

May 22, 2019

By Paul Dourish

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

June 5, 2019

By Xan Chacko

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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