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Keynote Abstracts

We are happy to announce that the following international research profiles have confirmed their participation in the symposium:

Jed Brubaker

Jed Brubaker, Assistant Professor in the department of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder

Postmortem Interaction

The explosion of personal data precipitates an astounding quantity and variety of post-mortem data in the traces we leave behind. With this explosion comes questions around how we should use and interact with the data of those who have died. From uncanny encounters with the dead on Facebook to algorithmic services such as LivesOn that promise a form of digital immortality, encounters with post-mortem data are often described as “creepy.” However, they do not have to be.

Post-mortem data is opening up a new interaction space in need of research, design, and services experimenting with ways to maintain, reflect on, and use these data. In this keynote, I focus on possible pro-social futures for post-mortem interaction that imagine an era after sequestration. As death is becoming increasingly “everyday”, I argue that post-mortem interaction provides us an opportunity to design moments of remembrance that are equally every day.

Connor Graham

Connor Graham, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, National University of Singapore

Human Mortality and Humanness, Online Life and Death

This keynote presentation will explore what versions of humanness, particularly human mortality, have been embedded in and reinforced by the everyday information and communication technologies (ICTs) associated with both online and offline behaviour. This exploration will take place through examples from the past and in recent time. It will then shift the consideration of ICTs from understanding them only as behaviours to realizing them as material things and situated in discourses. This reflection will also present the possibilities of theorising online life and death in terms of infrastructurenetworks and human-technology relations in particular cultural and temporal contexts. This treatment will end with a position on what humanness and human mortality can be investigated today and what they might mean in the future.

Michael Hviid Jacobsen

Michael Hviid Jacobsen, Professor of Sociology, PhD, Director of Studies at the Master’s Program in Humanistic Palliative Care, Research Coordinator for SAGA, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University, Denmark

Beyond Ariès - Contours of 'Spectacular Death'

This presentation will provide parts of a framework for thinking-with and thinking-beyond the important ideas of Philippe Ariès in defining and understanding our contemporary culture of death. The purpose of the presentation is to try to encourage us to reconsider and to develop our current conceptual apparatus within death studies.

Annett Markham

Annett Markham, Professor MSO of Information Studies,  School for Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark

Methods as Ethics: Challenges for studying death online

In this final keynote address, Annette Markham will discuss some of the most pressing challenges of analyzing social practices in digitally-saturated contexts. In an era when digital and physical contexts overlap, what counts as ’data’? What do we pay attention to, when the flows of communications are not only material and intensely local but also global and networked in ways we cannot possibly track? How do we make sense of ’the social’ in social networks when much of our everyday sensemaking is not visible because it occurs in the interstices, the liminal, the between? Drawing on future-oriented approaches to ethnographic practice, Professor Markham offers a framework of remix that enables researchers to find generative and innovative methods for studying the complexity surrounding death culture and practices in the digital era.