Kris Fallon, the Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor in Digital Cultures at the University of California, Davis, will deliver the first lecture for the Mellon Research Initiative in Digital Cultures on Thursday, October 3, 2013, in 126 Voorhies Hall with his talk, “Who’s Data Anyway?”

Fallon’s talk will address the varying approaches to data management that challenge traditional attitudes about individual liberty and government accountability. Each of these approaches, according to Fallon, reveals an implicit faith in the ability of data to accurately account for and represent the inner complexity of individual identity.

Fallon asks: What picture of the subject can data offer, and what do such assumptions reveal about the individuals and institutions who hold them? And who does this data rightfully belong to?  Even as the US Government tracks and prosecutes data leakers and whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, average Americans continue creating and curating personal data streams that intentionally reveal vast amounts of information to both the general public and private corporations alike.

Fallon holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in film and digital media, and his research focuses on non-fiction visual culture across a range of platforms, from still photography to data visualization. His essays on digital technology and documentary have recently appeared in Film Quarterly and Screen, and are forthcoming in several edited anthologies.  He is currently working on a book entitled Where Truth Lies: Digital Culture and Documentary Film After 9/11.

Fallon’s talk serves as a fitting opening to this year’s programming for the Mellon Research Initiative in Digital Cultures, a group of faculty and graduate students interested in understanding more deeply how digital technologies have revolutionized the practice of everyday life and how they have become an integral part of work, communication, politics, economics, artistic creativity, and personal identity. The study of digital culture is among the most vigorous areas of research in the humanities and social sciences today.

The initiative, co-directed by Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli, Associate Professor of Cinema and Technocultural Studies, and Colin Milburn, Associate Professor of English and the Gary Snyder Chair in Science and the Humanities, is designed to develop research practices that rearticulate the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts with respect to the technosciences and builds on local infrastructure that convenes students and faculty. These lectures will focus on three of the biggest challenges posed by digital technologies today: surveillance culture, gaming and interactive media, and the commons and participatory culture.

The next lecture in the series by Neil Randall entitled “The Lord of the Rings Online: Adaptation, Genre, Paratext” will take place Thursday, October 17, 2013, in 126 Voorhies Hall.  Randall is Associate Professor of English Language and Literature and Director of the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo. He is also director the IMMERSe network, a major international research consortium that includes UC Davis and focuses on the study of video games and immersive media (  Additional information can be found at the Digital Cultures website.