Digital technology and biocultural diversity. How to survive the epistemicide
Featured talk by Domenico Fiormonte
Friday July 17, 11:00.
Over the next thirty years, 20 percent of the world’s species may cease to exist, and by the end of this century, only half of the 6,912 distinct human languages in the world may still be spoken. Although biodiversity and linguistic loss are relatively well-known phenomena, less widely known is the connection between global media, technological standards, knowledge control and cultural homogenization. Social inequalities, life patents, bio-politics and the suppression of agri-cultural diversity seem to be part of the same project, serving the interests of a small number of northern politic-economic élites. In the words of Boaventura de Sousa Santos, the northern hemisphere has been failing to recognize "the different ways of knowing by which people across the globe run their lives and provide meaning to their existence." In order to hold back these processes, and achieve the goals of biocultural diversity conservation and sustainability on Earth, Western epistemological models and ways of thinking need to change. Examples of new theoretical frameworks and approaches will be described, and case studies from different regions of the world, where work is being carried out to prevent erosion of the human knowledge base.
Domenico Fiormonte (PhD University of Edinburgh) has been working on digital texts since 1992. He is currently Lecturer in Sociology of Cultural Processes at the University of "Roma Tre" where he teaches courses on digital textuality and the geopolitcs of the Internet. In 1996 he founded the Digital Variants Archive (http://www.digitalvariants.org), the first resource on genetic texts freely available on the web, and in 1998 started in Edinburgh the "Computer, literature and philology" seminar series (http://www.cch.kcl.ac.uk/clip2006). Since 2009 he has been involved with an Italian NPO (http://www.ilmondodelleidee.it/?lang=en) working in India and Nepal. In particular, this NPO is concerned with education in a multicultural and inter-religious world.
With Ferdinanda Cremascoli he co-authored the Manuale di scrittura (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1998), the first Italian writing handbook with an entire section devoted to digital writing. He edited three collections of digital humanities texts: New Media and the Humanities: Research and Applications (ed. by D. Fiormonte & J. Usher), Oxford: Oxford University Humanities Computing Unit, 2001; Informatica umanistica. Dalla ricerca all’insegnamento, Roma, Bulzoni, 2004; La macchina nel tempo (with L. Perilli, Le Lettere, 2011). He is author of Scrittura e filologia nell’era digitale (Turin, Bollati Boringhieri, 2003), and with T. Numerico and F. Tomasi of L’umanista digitale (Bologna, Il Mulino, 2010). He has also edited a collection of contributions on the history of fluid textual traditions (Canoni liquidi, Napoli, Scriptaweb, 2011). With Paolo Sordi has founded in 2000 the first Italian blog on cultural informatics and literary studies: http://infolet.it/. His current research interests are moving towards the creation of new tools and methodologies for promoting the dialogue between the Sciences and the Humanities (http://www.newhumanities.org/it).