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How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person

The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics hosts Colin Koopman, professor of philosophy at the University of Oregon.

Thursday, February 27th at 6:30 pm
110 Knight Law Center

In his book How We Became Our Data, UO philosophy professor Colin Koopman excavates early moments of our rapidly accelerating data-tracking technologies and their consequences for how we think of and express our selfhood today. Koopman explores the emergence of mass-scale record keeping systems like birth certificates and social security numbers, as well as new data techniques for categorizing personality traits, measuring intelligence, and even racializing subjects. This all culminates in what Koopman calls the “informational power” we are all now subject to.


Colin Koopman is associate professor of philosophy and director of the New Media & Culture Program at the University of Oregon. His previous books include Pragmatism as Transition: Historicity and Hope in James, Dewey, and Rorty (2009); Genealogy as Critique: Foucault and the Problems of Modernity (2013). His essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times and Aeon as well as in academic journals such as Critical Inquiry, Contemporary Political Theory, Diacritics, and New Media & Society.

This event is free and open to the public.

Presented by the Wayne Morse Center’s Program for Democratic Governance. Cosponsored by the UO Department of Philosophy and UO Data Science Initiative.



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