Redefining Digital Keywords: From Digital Archaisms to (Post)Pandemic Neologisms

2020 Semester 2 Seminar Series

In 2016 Benjamin Peters published his edited collection Digital Keywords (Princeton University Press). With provocative short essays from international digital media scholars in anthropology, history, political science, philosophy, religious studies, rhetoric, science and technology studies, and sociology, the book explored and critiqued the rich vocabulary of the growing field of digital humanities on 25 keywords, ranging from meme to surrogate, from forum to mirror, from cloud to digital.

The pandemic outbreak has challenged and reconfigured human experience across physical, social and digital realities, and hence urges us to revisit our digital keywords vocabulary. This global webinar series will bring together leading digital humanities scholars to reflect upon their original contributions to the Digital Keywords. Each webinar will focus on two digital phenomena and their corresponding keywords to explore how their meanings are changing in the face of disruptions caused by lockdowns or social distancing, and what new cultural practices, social challenges and political implications emerge around the new digital vocabulary.

Series curated by Dr Natalia Grincheva (Digital Studio Senior Research Fellow).

Seminar Schedule

August 28: The Death of the “Analogue” and Re-birth of the “Surrogate”

A/Professor Jeffrey Drouin and Professor Jonathan Sterne

Will Covid-19 lockdown finally abandon the analogue age? Will digital surrogate become mainstream in the near future? With the comprehensive digitization of communications across various spheres of human life from entertainment to education, from work to healthcare, the webinar will discuss what these words mean in pandemic time. More information.

September 11: “Internet” and “Hackers”: New Threats and Opportunities

Professor Gabriella Coleman and Professor Thomas Streeter

Has Covid-19 transformed how we will live in the Internet in our digital future? What are the democratic promises of hacktivism and the security dangers of hacker cybercrimes? This webinar will explore the social, ethical and political implications of the new technology-society relationships in the (post)pandemic times of this free-wheeling horizon of and expanded cyberspace. More information.

September 25: “Events” in the Post-“Information” Age

A/Professor Julia Sonnevend and Dr. Bernard Geoghegan

Will the word information acquire new meanings under the pressure of technological transformations caused by the Covid-19 digital lockdown? How will people understand, define and experience major or minor events when they are limited to virtual encounters, online meetings and social media catch-ups? The webinar will interrogate old meanings and explore emerging connotations of what becomes information and whither the nature of an event in the seamless enfolding of the two in the online world. More information.

October 9: “Geeking” and “Prototyping” the “New Normal”

A/Professor Christina Dunbar-Hester and Professor Fred Turner

Could we imagine and prototype human life in the post-pandemic world? Will geeks rule in the emerging social conditions of the new normal, or will they simply become extinct in the digital mainstreaming of daily life? The webinar will tackle the question of human typologies in new social formations and online networks. More information.

October 23: “Sharing” and “Gaming” in the Post-pandemic World

Dr. Nicholas A. John and Professor Saugata Bhaduri

How do we share online versus offline and what games can we play when limited within digital reality? What are the consequences on our health and well-being of non-stop digital sharing of our lives and emotions? And is it possible to transfer sport matches, games, and even such world sport mega-events as the Olympics into the digital world? The webinar will aim to answer these questions in conversation with Dr Nicholas A. John and Professor Saugata Bhaduri. More information.

November 6: “Zooming” In and Out to Examine the “Virus”

Professor Jodie McVernon and Professor Sean Cubitt

What new meanings of words such as zoom and virus did the Convid-19 outbreak instigate? How did we move from ‘Google it’ to ‘Let’s Zoom’, and what are the economic and political implications of platform-imperialism in the time of the 24/7 digital communication? What are the real and potential powers of online and biological viruses to disrupt, challenge, improve or destroy human life? The final webinar will facilitate a cross-disciplinary conversation between researchers at the University of Melbourne to share insights on the role of digital technologies in the current pandemic with its consequences for moral, social and physical being. More information.

Dr.  Natalia Grincheva

A headshot of Natalia Grincheva

Dr Natalia Grincheva is a 2020 Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in the Digital Diplomacy Research Center and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Digital Studio of the University of Melbourne.  She pursues her career in the field of digital humanities focusing on development of new computational methods to study museums as important players in creative economy and actors of soft power.  She is an internationally recognized expert in innovative forms and global trends in contemporary museum diplomacy. Her most recent publications are two monographs: Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age (Routledge: 2020) and Global Trends in Museum Diplomacy (Routledge: 2019). She also has successfully completed award-winning research project, Deep Mapping: Creating a Dynamic Web Application Museum "Soft Power" Map. It employed GIS to create a digital mapping tool, Museum Soft Power Map, that can visualize time-space development of museum soft power.

More Information

Digital Studio

digital-studio@unimelb.edu.au