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Matthew Seybold, "Nate Silver, Alan Greenspan, & The Vanity of Models"

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 4:30pm

Klarman Hall, KG42
232 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853

In What Is Real? (2018), Giorgio Agamben identifies probability as “a special art” which does not aim to “know reality,” but only “intervene in it in order to govern it.” Agamben inverts the familiar diagnosis of “physics envy” on the part of social scientists to argue that via quantum theory hard science comes to emulate soft methods, including weak justifications for the “intervention of the investigator.” While increasing reliance upon quantitative models in economics and finance is a consistent refrain of neoliberal critique, few have captured as Agamben does the aesthetics of metricization, nor how it is made instrumental by prominent forecasters.


Matt Seybold is Assistant Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College. He is co-editor, with Michelle Chihara, of The Routledge Companion to Literature & Economics (2018), and is currently co-editing, with Gordon Hutner, an economics-themed special issue of American Literary History. He has been a Taylor Fellow in American Literature at University of Virginia’s Harrison Institute, a NEH Summer Scholar at Duke’s Center for the History of Political Economy, and a recipient of the T. S. Eliot Society’s Fathman Young Scholar Award. Recent publications on the intersection of mass media and political economy can be found in Aeon, American Studies, boundary 2, Henry James Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Reception, and T.S. Eliot Studies Annual.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Studies and the CNY Humanities Corridor.

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Romance Studies


cascal, Romance Studies, cashum

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