Other news/events of interest

CFP: AAG meeting New Orleans, 2018

Session organisers: Juliane Collard (UBC) and Elliott Child (UBC)

Rebecca Lemov (2016) recently declared that ‘big data is people’. Although particularly intense in our petabyte era, data driven sciences have been ‘mining the intimate’ for over a century, reaching ever-deeper into our bodies, psyches, and subjectivities. Science studies scholars have paid critical attention to this phenomenon, tracing the spaces and times of ‘thick data’ (Murphy 2017) and its effects. This work has been rich and varied: from Lemov’s (2015) writing on the operationalization of subjectivity through the Cold War, to Michelle Murphy’s (2017) on the valuation of life in service of economic futures, and Catherine Waldby’s (2000) on bodies as medical databases. In geography, Amoore and Piotuk (2015) ask us to attend to the force ‘little analytics’ have on directing subjective attention within data infrastructure. These and other writers trace the situated and material origins of data, showing how it is less ‘extracted’ than made. In the process, they show how power operates and circulates with data along well worn lines of, inter alia, race, sex, gender, class, and ability.

In this session, we seek to develop the dialogue between geographers and those critical scholars who are exploring what ‘thick data’ is ‘made of and out of’ (Lemov 2016). Geographers have much to contribute to this stream of research, for example by examining how and why particular bodies and places become sites and sources of data, how and where data travels, and the multiple scales of datafication. In this vein, we are interested in papers that explore, among other themes, the techno- and social-scientific techniques through which bodies and lives are rendered as calculable, objective data; how and where this data circulates, and with what effects; and how attempts at datafication are resisted or upended.

We want to cast a wide net in this speculative session. We welcome papers that are broadly attentive to the subjective, psychological, biological, and lively materials from which data is made by examining (among other topics):

  • valuation, quantification, economization, and financialization of life
  • new forms of (clinical) labour
  • quantifications, measurements, and distributions of vulnerability
  • data, experimentality, and biopolitics
  • colonialism, post-colonialism, and the production of big data
  • databanks and modern empire
  • bodies as database

Please send a title and a brief abstract (no more than 250 words) to elliott.child@geog.ubc.ca and juliane.collard@geog.ubc.ca by October 15th, 2017.


Amoore, Louise. and Piotukh, Volha. 2015. ‘Life beyond big data: governing with little analytics’, Economy and Society, 44(3), 341-366.

Lemov, Rebecca. 2015. Database of dreams. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Lemov, Rebecca. 2016. ‘Big data is people’. Aeon. June 16. Available: https://aeon.co/essays/why-big- data-is-actually-small-personal-and-very-human.

Murphy, Michelle. 2017. Economization of life. Durham: Duke University Press

Waldby, Catherine. 2000. The visible human project: Informatic bodies and posthuman medicine. London: Routledge.


Digital Frontiers: Exploring the digital-analogue interface

A free symposium, 2nd November 2017, Kingston University. Some funding available for PhD students.

See here for details & booking via Eventbrite.


CFP: Slow computing: A workshop on resistance in the algorithmic age

One-day workshop, Maynooth University, Ireland, December 14th, 2017. Hosted by the Programmable City project at Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute and the Department of Geography


The Media Convergence Research Centre at Bath Spa University is hosting the first Signal Effects symposium titled: Digital Ecologies and the Anthropocene and it will take place on Friday April 28th 2017.

The symposium will include a dynamic range of theoretical and practice based responses from researchers, artists, filmmakers, writers and theorists.