New challenges posed to the humanities by quantitative analysis offer scholars an opportunity to consider the role "evidence" plays in the disciplines, and to think about how and why certain materials and methods feel both epistemologically and ethically right while others don't. Taking "information" as a contested site for the elaboration of contemporary scholarship and its institutional politics, this talk argues for a way of thinking about information as an emerging and potentially transformative field of humanistic inquiry, while attempting to avoid the various and obvious pitfalls associated with an informational turn.
Eric Hayot is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at the Pennsylvania State University and Director of the Center for Humanities & Information. He is the author of four books, including The Elements of Academic Style (2014) and On Literary Worlds (2012). He is the co-editor, with Rebecca Walkowitz, of A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism (2017), and co-translator, with Lea Pao, of Peter Janich's What is Information? (2019).