14 Oct 14

We live in a time of data. Around us, tools for creating, storing, communicating, and manipulating data grow ever more sophisticated and ubiquitous. Data flows constantly among our computers, handheld devices, cell phones, and an entire “internet of things” from refrigerators to burglar alarms. Yet, the cultural and intellectual frameworks that underlie our present data-saturated condition are old, and their histories illuminate important aspects of the present. In his lecture, Axel Springer Fellow Daniel Rosenberg explores the long history of data, stretching back to the seventeenth century, emphasizing its foundations in early modernity. By tracing the historical concept of “data,” Rosenberg examines implications of new data-driven approaches in the humanities, and argues that even our contemporary self-understanding is mediated by data-analytic techniques.