PhD Positions: Uncertain Archives

The Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark, invites applications for one to two PhDs affiliated with the project Uncertain Archives. The position is for a three-year period to be filled by 1 September 2017.

Data production, capture, and dissemination constitute key global themes and challenges today. We are surrounded by immense data archives that constantly accumulate from a wide array of activities organized on all levels of society: from global search engines to local smart cities; from public health monitoring to personal self-tracking. While borne out of a desire to innovate, securitize, and escape human error, it is becoming increasingly clear that big data archives also bring with them new uncertainties in the form of new bias dynamics, new forms of systemic errors, and new ethical dilemmas. Grounded in the humanities, but part of the emerging field of Critical Data Studies, it is the contention of this research group that there are significant insights to be gained from the application of cultural theories of the archive. Poststructuralist archive theory has long grappled with uncertainty in relation to archives, but remains surprisingly marginally represented in the general big data discourse. The significant contribution of this research group consists in developing a novel approach for understanding the pertinent ethical and epistemological questions that have arisen alongside data-intensive environments. The project draws on liaison with computer technologists, sociologists, contemporary art practitioners and policy makers to forge a theoretically-informed approach both to the technical and to the ethico-political implications of archival uncertainty for the organization of knowledge today.

We now seek to extend the group with two PhDs who wish to work on these issues on a scale that may go from intimate self-tracking devices to the infrastructural scale of the smart city. In particular we encourage applications that build bridges between computer science, health, urban studies, the arts and cultural theory.

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