Beginning with the 2022 event, the ISRF Conference will provided a platform for conversations and discussions around a theme. Each Conference will be themed around a topic, methodology or debate of interest within (and across) the social sciences and humanities.

2022: The Digital Condition and Humanities Knowledge

The Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece

22-24 September 2022

The digital condition appears in many forms: second-wave artificial intelligence, virtual assistants, online course instruction, algorithmic trading, bibliometric citation analysis, and economic modeling based on very large data sets, to name a few. It is the dominant framework for momentous transformations in knowledge production and in modes of reading and interpretation, which include a metamorphosis of the printed word into other media. 

There are many reasons for a familiar sense that everything has changed irreversibly. One has been remarkable advances in computer programming, which long ago raised the prospect of artificial intelligence that could match or exceed human intelligence. Another has been the influential “two cultures” paradigm that cast literature and literary intelligence as something like the backward-looking opposite of technology. We are organizing this conference both to assess the history of responses to the digital condition in the humanities and social sciences, and also to identify new directions that might extend and deepen the contributions of these fields to the full range of knowledges required by the current state of the world.

Marking the intersection of many distinct trends, the digital condition has radically restructured methodologies in a host of disciplines. It is often experienced as a radical break with higher education traditions where the humanities play a central role in knowledge creation. Within the digital condition, the social sciences and the humanities are faced with two baseline challenges: to understand more clearly their own processes of knowledge production and, at the same time, to understand the underlying dynamics of the digital framework.

While the social sciences and the humanities have long histories of methodological self-reflection, they must now propose new concepts, devise new methodologies, and test new approaches that acknowledge the digital condition while affirming and extending their distinct ways of knowing the world. In other words, we cannot respond to the digital condition by adapting the humanities and social sciences to it. These fields create essential forms of knowledge not found in scientific and technological fields.

Perhaps most importantly, major global issues are best addressed through partnerships among scientific, technical, humanistic, social, and professional modes of knowledge. Equitable relations among diverse disciplines are hard to find, in part for intellectual reasons and in part because of divergent material infrastructures and research practices. And yet, cross-disciplinary collaborations are increasingly common and often successful: the digital humanities is one such arena of collaboration, and there are others. Our conference aims at strengthening both the independence of the humanities and the social sciences, and their material powers of collaboration across the disciplines.

Speakers to include:
  • Nishat Awan
    Senior Research Fellow, TU Delft
  • Thanasis Betas
    Research Fellow, National Hellenic Research Foundation 
  • Natalia Cecire
    Senior Lecturer in English & American Literature, University of Sussex
  • Io Chaviara
  • Hanne Cottyn
    Independent Scholar, University of York
  • Ada Dialla
    RCH President; Associate Professor of European History, Athens School of Fine Arts
  • Foteini Dimirouli
    Postdoctoral Researcher in Comparative Literature, University of Oxford 
  • Kate Dossett
    Professor of American History, University of Leeds
  • Patrick ffrench
    Professor of French, King’s College London
  • Vasilis Galis
  • Kostas Gavroglou
    RCH Founding Member; Emeritus Professor of History of Science, University of Athens
  • Lauren Goodlad
    Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Costas Gousis
    Project Coordinator, Eteron – Institute for Research and Social Change 
  • Athena Hadji
    Independent Scholar
  • Larisa Jasarevic
    Independent Scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
  • Craig Jones
    Lecturer in Political Geography, Newcastle University
  • Eleanor Jupp
    Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Kent
  • Ernestina Karistineou Efthimiatou
    Ph.D. Candidate, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens 
  • Danae Karydaki
    Post-doctoral researcher in History, University of Thessaly 
  • Michalis Kastanidis
  • Katerina Konstantinou
    Ph.D. candidate in Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences 
  • Leandros Kyriakopoulos
  • Stelios Lekakis
    Research Fellow in Landscape Heritage, McCord Centre, Newcastle University 
  • Sieglinde Lemke
    Professor of North American Studies, University of Freiburg
  • Styliani Lepida
    Post-doctoral researcher in Ottoman History, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki 
  • Liz Losh
    Professor of English & American Studies, College of William & Mary
  • Colleen Lye
    Associate Professor of English, UC Berkeley
  • Reggina Mantanika
    Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Balkan, Slavic & Oriental Studies, UOM 
  • Sabelo Mhlambi
    Technology and Human Rights Fellow, The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
  • Chris Newfield
    ISRF Director of Research; Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Literature and American Studies, UC Santa Barbara
  • Izabela Orłowską
    Independent Scholar, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
  • Ilay Romain Ors
    Independent Scholar, University of Oxford
  • Costis Repapis
    Lecturer in Economics, Goldsmiths University of London
  • Kyriakos Sgouropoulos
    Laboratory Teaching Staff, Democritus University of Thrace 
  • Sergios Strigklogiannis
    Ph.D. Candidate, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens 
  • Lisa Taylor
    Reader in Cultural Studies and Head of Media, Leeds Beckett University
  • Alexandros Teneketzis
  • Marion Thain
    Professor of Literature and Culture, King’s College London
  • Penelopi Tsatsouli
  • Despoina Valatsou 
    RCH Administrator; Adjunct Lecturer of Digital Humanities, Athens School of Fine Arts
  • Atti Viragh
    Lecturer in English, University of California, Berkeley
  • Antonis Vradis 
    Lecturer in Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews
  • Gavin Weedon
    Lecturer in Sociology of Sport, Nottingham Trent University