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Digital Humanities Lecture: Tung-Hui Hu, "The Grid vs. the Set: Early Attempts at Classifying Data"

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm

AD White House, Guerlac Room 121 Presidents Drive, Ithaca, NY 14853

The Society for the Humanities & CNY Humanities Corridor (in partnership with Cornell's Media Studies Colloquium) present: The Annual Digital Humanities Lecture

The world is teeming with objects, and today's AI models rely on datasets such as ImageNet to learn, for example, that a "seat belt" and a "waffle iron" are both types of "commodities". But might an earlier moment of scientific classification hold lessons for how we understand the dataset today? By examining collections of botanical specimens in the 17th century, this talk will track two competing modes of computational logic that tried to contain the disorder of the natural world.

Poet and scholar of digital media Tung-Hui Hu will present new work in the annual Digital Humanities Lecture at the Society for the Humanities, entitled "The Grid vs. the Set: Early Attempts at Classifying Data." The lecture is sponsored by the CNY Humanities Corridor, Cornell's Media Studies Colloquium and the Society for the Humanities. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception in the A.D. White House. 

Hu, Associate Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, is the author of "A Prehistory of the Cloud" and "Digital Lethargy". The winner of a Rome Prize and a NEA fellowship for literature, Hu has also received an American Academy in Berlin Prize for his research.

Hu will also lead a space-limited workshop for graduate students on Thursday, October 19, entitled "New Aesthetic Forms, from Lethargy to AI." 

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Event Type



English, Society for the Humanities, Media Studies

University Themes



mediastudiescal, cosochum, engl, sochum, casfeatured

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Anna Shechtman

Contact Phone



Tung-Hui Hu

Speaker Affiliation

University of Michigan

Speaker Web Site

Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information

For accommodations:

Registration Status

No registration necessary.


Reception to follow

Open To


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