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“Humanities on the Edge” presents Siva Vaidhyanathan

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Sheldon Museum of Art
451 N 12th St
Lincoln NE 68588
Additional Info: SHEL
Marco Abel / Denise, (402) 472-1850,
“The Operating System of Your Life: How Tech Components and Big Data Govern Your Identity, Knowledge, and Refrigerator”

An internationally recognized scholar, Vaidhyanathan is Robertson professor of Media and Cultural Studies at University of Virginia. His book The Globalization of Everything—and Why We Should Worry (University of California Press, 2011) is noted for opposing the Google Books scanning project on a variety of ethical and legal grounds. He writes that the project poses a danger for the doctrine of fair use, because the fair use claims are arguably so excessive that it may cause judicial limitation of that right. This project is a continuation of his earlier books, especially of his highly influential Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity (NYU Press, 2003), in which he “details the specious ideological evolution of copyright from a set of loose policies intended to encourage cultural expression into a form of property law (now codified in the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 2000) that functions as a seal on creative works.” He has also written widely on data surveillance and privacy, technology in higher education, and culture in the age of the Internet. An important public intellectual, he is a frequent contributor on media and cultural issues to various national media including the The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Chronicle of Higher Education,, National Public Radio, and He has even appeared in a segment of “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. Vaidhyanathan is also a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Institute for the Future of the Book. In November 2004, the Chronicle of Higher Education called Vaidhyanathan “one of academe’s best-known scholars of intellectual property and its role in contemporary culture.” Based on his expertise, he was called upon to testify as an expert before the U.S. Copyright Office on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Using techniques of cultural and legal studies, Vaidhyanathan’s work forms a strong critique of seemingly innocuous corporate use of technology and “big data” as undermining the essential political structures and habits of democratic societies. His lecture, “The Operating System of Your Life: How Tech Companies and Big Data Govern Your Identity, Knowledge, and Refrigerator,” will be timely and have broad appeal, especially to the UNL community, with its national recognition as a leader in digital humanities.

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