Media @ McGill

Summer Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory, Ca, United States

Submitted by Susana on

UCHRI’S Summer Seminar in Experimental Theory (SECT III)




Ariana Moscote Over the course of two late summer weeks, the University of California’s Humanities Research Institute in Irvine, California hosted their third seminar in experimental theory on the subject of ‘technoSpheres: FutureS of thinking.’


This summer seminar was convened by Anne Balsamo of the University of Southern California. It brought together about 60 humanities scholars from all walks of academic life and from diverse fields (including comparative literature, art history, communication studies, critical theory, geography, and education) to think through the intersections of technology and the humanities and to imagine new forms of digital scholarship. While most participants were from the United States (primarily from the UC system), many representatives from Canadian universities were present, as well as adherents to institutes as far flung as Italy and Sweden. Their areas of interest included biometrics, GIS, gaming culture and much more. Neal Thomas and I were very privileged to attend this seminar, thanks to the support of the Beaverbrook Foundation.


Over the course of 10 days, we participated in a number of workshops and conversations, and were treated to presentations and demonstrations from the likes of Saskia Sassen, Craig Calhoun, Lisa Nakamura, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and many other distinguished scholars, artists, and technologists. Among the most memorable workshops were the game design workshop where teams of participants created games we later showcased to one another, and the Korsakow system workshop, in which Steve Anderson demonstrated freeware that allows one to produce non-linear narratives using film clips, photo files or other media. The organized activities and presentations were highly stimulating and instructive. On off-times, thanks to lengthy lunch-periods and weekend outings, intriguing exchanges were also taking place amongst participants. We brought to the conversation – whether in the large group, in breakout sessions or in informal discussions with other participants, insights and shared questions from our own research interests.


Overall, SECT III was a tremendous networking opportunity and very fruitful learning experience. I’m very grateful to the Beaverbrook Foundation for enabling me to participate in this very unique and stimulating gathering.


Ariana Moscote Freire SECT website here


Archived webcasts of the sessions will be available in the coming weeks.


Blogs of the sessions can be found here