April 6, 2016
by Administrator

Refracted Time

I recently delivered the keynote address at the 2015 Australian Anthropological Society conference. My address, “Refracted Time: From Historicity to Legal Technique in the ‘Comfort Women’ Controversy,” discusses how the controversy can be viewed as an artifact of a legal project of history-making. The video of the the address is below and also available here.


Refracted Time: From historicity to legal technique in the “Comfort Women” controversy – Professor Annelise Riles from Arts Unimelb on Vimeo.

December 16, 2015
by ar254@cornell.edu
1 Comment

Big Data in a Global World

I recently spoke on Australian, Canadian and Irish public radio about the politics of Big Data, how it is regulated transnationally, and also what it means for the politics of expertise, along with Sheila Jasanoff and Christian Sandvig.  The radio program is here.

November 13, 2015
by ar254@cornell.edu

The Politics of Big Data

A3 poster for the public forum[3]

I am very excited to be participating in an exciting conversation that public intellectual Fleur Johns is organizing at the University of New South Wales on the politics of big data.

If you are in Sydney, please join us! Information is here.

Here are some points I hope to bring to this discussion:

-The turn to big data reflects in part a crisis in expertise: government officials, business executives and even consumers and citizens have lost confidence in their own ability to choose, to plan, to predict the future or interpret the past. Big data steps in not simply to answer questions but to define the questions of our time. If a financial regulator fears that she does not know where the next crisis is coming from, real time data trolling might offer a reassuring hope that the key patterns, questions and proposals will emerge from the data itself.  If a student is not sure what college to attend, he may it reassuring to rely on the wisdom of the crowd as to which college is “hot” in any particular year. As such the big data phenomenon has larger consequences as a modality of governance given that individual sovereignty and the power to choose have been touchstone principles of liberal democracies and market economies.  These larger consequences are quite apart from the political questions surrounding privacy and surveillance that have dominated public discussions of big data.
-Intellectuals and citizens need a response to this new political phenomenon that goes beyond critique.  First, critique is always after the fact, behind the news cycle. By the time we learn of possible problems with data collection activities of private and public actors the activity has long moved on to other areas.  But more importantly, the devices and practices surrounding data collection are here to stay, and are transforming what it means to be a citizen, and indeed to be a person, in profound ways, with consequences that go beyond what any of us can fully understand or imagine at this moment.  What we need to do first is to take stock of these larger transformations (I understand this to be a goal of the conference).  Second, we need to learn from the big data movement in one respect—to recognize that the “genius” of our time is a collective genius, not an individual one—and hence that ours is a moment in which we need to create structures, platforms, experiences, collectivities that together can think the as yet unthinkable. In other words the ambition behind big data is not altogether to be rejected.  The question is how else we might achieve that ambition.



September 26, 2015
by ar254@cornell.edu

Pope Francis as a global public intellectual

Meridian 180, the global think tank I direct, has been holding a transnational and translingual debate about Pope Francis’ ideas about the economy, technology and the environment. My op-ed today at National Public Radio’s website explains why the pontiff is worthy of serious intellectual consideration, regardless of one’s ethical or religious background.

March 16, 2015
by ecp96@cornell.edu

Livestreaming The Visual and Performative Ethnography Symposium—University of Pennsylvania

On Friday, March 20th, I will participate in the panel “Institutionalization and Interdisciplinarity: Where do we Locate the Visual and the Performative within the Academy?” for the Visual and Performative Ethnography Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania. The panel event will take place from 1:00-2:30PM on 3/20 and will be streamed live via the HowlRound TV Network. Further information about this symposium is available here.

January 29, 2015
by ecp96@cornell.edu

Inaugural signature lecture for the Transnational Law Institute

On January 14th, 2015, I gave the inaugural signature lecture for the Transnational Law Institute, in collaboration with the Transnational Law Colloquium series, titled “From Comparison to Collaboration: Experiments with a New Scholarly and Political Form.” A video of my lecture can be seen here.

I also conducted a Methods Lab discussion about the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the rise of ‘data politics’, the Meridian 180 project and the state of dialogue in North-East Asia. The audio for this interview can be found here.

December 12, 2014
by ar254@cornell.edu

Is Keynes worth fighting for?

My wonderful Cornell colleague Jonathan Kirshner has recently posted a most interesting post defending John M. Keynes against some of the oft-heard attacks on him in the popular media that paint him as left-wing radical/covert Socialist.  Kirshner convincingly demolishes this caricature point by point. His review does remind us of how small the policy gap between the right and the left in standard monetary financial policy really is.  When the pendulum swings back from Hayek towards Keynes, as it has since 2008, it is really not swinging all that far. If as Kirshner argues Keynes shouldn’t be demonized as he so often is, one also wonders if he is really worth fighting for.

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