Department of Anthropology

Paul Kockelman: Bayesian Anthropology: On the Relation between Meaning, Mathematics, and Meat

Mon, October 14, 2013 | SAC 5.118

12:00 PM

"Bayesian Anthropology: On the Relation between Meaning, Mathematics, and Meat"

A talk by Paul Kockelman, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin

Sieves are devices that separate desired materials from undesired materials. Examples include turn-stiles, gold-pans, combine harvesters, computers, and censors. This talk argues that the sieve, as both a physical device and an analytic concept, is of fundamental importance to anthropology, and critical theory more generally. It details the inner-working of spam filters, themselves a particularly important kind of sieve insofar as they readily exhibit key features of sieving devices in general. It outlines a theory of the relation between ontology and interpretation as it plays out in the transformation of spam as a kind of message style. And it shows some key relations between semiosis and statistics, or meaning and mathematics.

For further information please contact Adriana Dingman at

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