Sawyer Seminar:
Precision and Uncertainty in a World of Data

The Sawyer Seminar on Precision and Uncertainty in a World of Data is organized by the Departments of Anthropology and the History of Medicine and the Center for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. Throughout its two-year run (2019-2021), the Seminar will explore questions around what kinds of ethical and social issues are new about our Big Data moment, what has carried over from the past, and what kinds of methods and approaches might help us extend our understanding of this moment’s specificity.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, we held reading group meetings to connect with faculty and students across the different divisions at JHU. We formed a very engaged and diverse group, and had lively discussions with visiting presenters. You can read our notes on these meetings here.

On this website, you can find our schedule of events, notes on our past events, and resources that help explore data and society. We hope for this website to serve as an archive for what we have learned over the course of the Seminar, as well as a gateway for resources on data and society that will outlive the Seminar’s run.

If you would like to attend our events, get on our mailing list to stay informed, or get in touch with us with any questions or comments, please send an email to Canay Özden-Schilling (ozden@jhu.edu). If you have attended one of our meetings and would like to contribute to this website with your notes, please let us know.


Sponsor Institutions:


Header Images (Art Works) Credit:

  • Rachel Ara. “This Much I’m Worth (The Self-evaluating Artwork): Korean Version” in Vertiginous Data at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea. Photo taken by Sumin Myung.
  • Sylvee Kim. “Trinity: Finance-Credo-Spirituality” in Vertiginous Data at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea. Photo taken by Sumin Myung.
  • Danilo Zamboni. “PerspectivischeExplosionszeichnung” in Zugang für Alle: São Paulos Soziale Infrastrukturen at Pinakothek der Moderne, München, Germany. Photo taken by Sumin Myung.
  • Nam June Paik. “Video Chandelier No. 1” at Nam June Paik Art Center, Seongnam, South Korea. Photo taken by Sumin Myung.
  • Soyo Lee. “TV Garden: Notes” in Ecological Senses at Nam June Paik Art Center, Seongnam, South Korea. Photo taken by Sumin Myung.