Marek Tamm | Making Sense of the Past: How Digital Technology Changes our Relations with Time, History, and Memory

Marek Tamm | Making Sense of the Past: How Digital Technology Changes our Relations with Time, History, and Memory

Thursday, October 26, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Encina Hall 2nd floor, William J. Perry Conference Room

Marek Tamm

How is digital technology reshaping our relationships with the past? This presentation will elucidate how digital technology redefines our fundamental understanding of time, history, and memory, thus giving rise to a new concept known as "digital historicity."

Having spread extensively throughout the world in just a few decades, digital technology has significantly reshaped our relations to the past. This presentation argues that digital technology serves a purpose beyond being a new tool for historical research, commonly referred to as digital history. It also profoundly influences our fundamental relationship with time, history, and memory, thereby giving rise to a novel concept known as "digital historicity." This digital historicity is distinguished by several key aspects, notably datafication, algorithmization, virtualization, and gamification of our perception of the past.

This shift towards digital historicity moves us away from traditional inquiries into historical representation and towards a focus on sensory immersion, which redefines history as a real-time experience of the virtually recreated past. In our contemporary digital condition, the past is constantly being remixed, reimagined, and repurposed in unexpected ways, particularly evident in the digital gaming industry, which will be a central focus of this paper.

Marek Tamm is professor of cultural history in Tallinn University. He is also Head of Tallinn University Centre of Excellence in Intercultural Studies and member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. His primary research fields are cultural history of medieval Europe, historical theory, digital history, and cultural memory studies. His most recent book is The Fabric of Historical Time, co-written with Zoltán Boldizsár Simon (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

*If you need any disability-related accommodation, please contact Shannon Johnson at Requests should be made by October 19, 2023.