Keynote Speaker


  • Matthew L. Jones, James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization, Columbia University

Matthew L. Jones  specializes in the history of science and technology, focused on early modern Europe and on recent information technologies, and is the James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University. He is also a HA Guggenheim Fellow for 2012-13 and a Mellon New Directions fellow for 2012-15. His research on Data Mining: The Critique of Artificial Reason, 1963-2005, is a historical and ethnographic account of “big data,” its relation to statistics and machine learning, and its growth as a fundamental new form of technical expertise in business and scientific research.  He has just completed Reckoning with Matter: Calculating Machines, Innovation, and Thinking about Thinking from Pascal to Babbage (forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press,) and is completing a book length study on the NSA and recent analytic technologies from the 1990s to the present. His first book The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2006) focused on the mathematical innovations of Descartes, Pascal and Leibniz.




Danielle Allor is a first-year student in the English Department at Rutgers University. Her research interests focus on ideas of nature, the nonhuman, and the history of science in 14th to 16th century England. She is currently working on an exploration of the tree catalog trope in the context of eco-critical concerns about the figurative and literal instrumentalizations of plants.


Swagato Chakravorty is a doctoral student in the combined Film and Media Studies and History of Art Ph.D. program at Yale University. Previously, he completed an M.A. in Humanities (Cinema and Media Studies track) at the University of Chicago. He works at the interstices of screen practices, screen architectures, and embodied spectatorial experience. Related interests include aesthetics and the philosophy of art (esp. modern and contemporary), histories of film theory, visuality in the long 19th century, the history of science and technology, and contemporary media theory.


Miriam Diller is a Ph.D. student in literature at Rutgers University, specializing in Renaissance English poetics; the history of science; and Aristotelian philosophy. Her dissertation studies cognition, aesthetics, and the idea of reading in the Renaissance. She also works on digital humanities topics, including machine-assisted literary criticism and Aristotelian artificial intelligence.


Marilynn Johnson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the Graduate Center, CUNY working primarily in the philosophy of language and aesthetics. Her dissertation, “Meaning Through Things”, is on interpretation, construed broadly, and draws on work in philosophy of language, aesthetics, linguistics, developmental psychology, philosophy of mind, literary theory, and archaeology. She has presented her work at the University of Malta, University of Oxford, and has upcoming talks at the University of Sydney. Her “Tree Trimming: Four Non-Branching Rules for Priest’s Introduction to Non-Classical Logic” is forthcoming in the Australasian Journal of Logic. She’s also one of the organizers of the SWIP-Analytic lecture series for women in analytic philosophy.


Kathleen Pierce is second year PhD student in the Department of Art History here at Rutgers. She works on the art and visual/material culture of the long nineteenth century in France, with a focus on gender, the history of the family, and the history of medicine. Her current project explores the intersections of public health campaigns, prophylactic ephemera, medical illustration, and the construction of the family in the French Third Republic.

  • Kamili Posey, Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center

Kamili Posey is a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center working in social epistemology, philosophy of science, feminist philosophy, science and technology studies, and digital humanities.  She is currently in the final stages of a dissertation about tainted consensus-building in social epistemological practices.  When she’s not doing this, she works as an Educational Technologist at the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University and teaches philosophy within CUNY.


William J. Ryan is a doctoral candidate in English at Rutgers University. His dissertation A New Strange Disease: Atlantic Medicine, Affective History, and the Novel in Early America, 1690-1800, uncovers the surprising career of the medical case study as a literary form and epistemic genre in early America. By attending to the production, circulation, and publication of individual patient histories across medical as well as religious, historical and literary genres, A Strange New Disease charts an affective history of the colonial and early national periods. He has presented portions of this project at conferences sponsored by the Society of Early Americanists, the Charles Brockdon Brown Society, and the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies.


Courtney Thompson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University. She recently defended her dissertation, entitled “Criminal Minds: Medicine, Law, and the Phrenological Impulse in America, 1830-1890,” which explores the influence of phrenological theory in the development to scientific, legal, and social approaches to crime in nineteenth-century America. She has previously presented research from this project at the meetings of the History of Science Society, the Society for the History of Technology, and Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral & Social Sciences.


Marian Ahn Thorpe is a doctoral student in cultural anthropology at Rutgers University. Her research investigates the cultural, historical, political, and scientific contexts that shape how two groups—indigenous decision-makers and non-indigenous environmental planners—practice informed consent in sustainable development projects in Panama. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Marian obtained a masters degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she researched indigenous environmental activism in Panama and at the 2009 UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark.


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