The Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, organized the seventeenth lecture of the Distinguished Lecture Series,”Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Study of Culture” by Prof. Lev Manovich, Presidential Professor at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY) and founder and director of the Cultural Analytics Lab, on Friday, 11th February, 2022, 3:30-4:30 PM IST on Zoom. Supported by the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), Ministry of Education, Government of India, the talk was organized as part of the ongoing academic collaboration with the Department of English and American Studies, University of Würzburg, Germany, and promises to be one in a line of successively pertinent lectures.
The talk was conducted by, Ms. Zahra Rizvi, Ms. Shraddha A. Singh and Ms. Suman Bhagchandani, Ph.D. scholars, Department of English, JMI, and was enthusiastically attended by a large crowd of scholars, students, and faculty from all over the world and across various time-zones.Prof. Simi Malhotra, H.o.D., Department of English, JMI, Indian PI, delivered the welcome address, greeting the invited speaker, faculty, scholars, and students.
She spoke about the talk as a part of the ongoing collaborative project between the Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia and the Department of English and American Studies, University of Würzburg, on “New Terrains of Consciousness: Globalization, Sensory Environments and Local Cultures of Knowledge”, supported by the Ministry of Education’s initiative SPARC, “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration” which aims to facilitate academic and research collaboration between higher education institutes in India and abroad.
She, then, introduced the esteemed speaker, Prof. Lev Manovich, who was greeted by a round of applause. Through his lecture, Prof. Lev Manovich propounded on how cultural analytics can produce novel insights about contemporary global culture especially in this age of tremendous increase in the scale of media. He emphasized that the themes, styles, behaviours and their patterns in contemporary global culture can be investigated using data science. He also demonstrated how working with big data can help question existing knowledge.
Through the help of big data visualizations, Prof. Manovich demonstrated how spatial distributions emerge, how they diffuse and change over time. He exhibited how the method of cultural analytics produces multiple different structures that make unstable any fixed interpretation. Prof. Manovich reiterated that a big data visualization can be interpreted in many ways and what the structure represents is open for debate.
This was followed by an engaging, in-depth Q/A session coordinated by Ms. Sakshi Dogra, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of English, JMI. The event was brought to an end with a Vote of Thanks by Ms. Zahra Rizvi. To ensure a wide range of viewership and participation, the event was also live streamed on YouTube, and was attended by over a hundred participants.