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Automating the Humanities: Big Data, Neoliberalisation, and the Future of Critique

  • Ingrid Hoofd
Wednesday 29 November 2017
Lipsius Building
Cleveringsplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Proponents of big data in the humanities embrace its potential for new insights, while opponents lament its encroachment, arguing that it marks the demise of rich humanistic traditions. In this talk, Ingrid Hoofd (Utrecht University) proposes that the turn to big data in the humanities signals a profounder issue haunting the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ neoliberal university. This issue finds its expression in the paradoxical claims that big data renders its object of analysis more superficial (unknowable) as well as more penetrable (knowable). The crisis of the university today, Hoofd argues, consists therefore not simply of a neoliberalisation, but of the acceleration of the university’s unfinishable mission – a conclusion that has huge consequences for critical theory.

Ingrid Hoofd is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Culture at Utrecht University. She is the author of, among others, Higher Education and Technological Acceleration: the Disintegration of University Teaching and Research (Palgrave, 2016). 

This talk is part of the Leiden Lectures on Media | Art | Politics, organized by Pepita Hesselberth and Yasco Horsman, and made possible with the support of

For more information about upcoming events, check out the event series webpage.

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