Amanda Lagerkvist

Professor at Department of Informatics and Media

Telephone:
+46 18 471 15 22
Mobile phone:
+46 70 425 01 20
E-mail:
amanda.lagerkvist@im.uu.se
Visiting address:
Ekonomikum (plan 3)
Kyrkogårdsgatan 10
Postal address:
Box 513
751 20 UPPSALA

Short presentation

Amanda Lagerkvist is a Professor of Media and Communication Studies and a founder of existential media studies. With grants from for example the Wallenberg Foundations, RJ and VR she researches biometric AI; relations between datafication, disability, and selfhood; and the ambivalent AI imaginary and its relationship to both futures and endings Find out more: https://www.uu.se/en/department/informatics-and-media/research/uppsala-informatics-and-media-hub-for-digital-existence

Keywords

  • ai imaginaries
  • automation
  • biometrics
  • critical disability studies
  • death online
  • digital culture
  • existential media studies
  • existential philosophy
  • media and memory
  • media philosophy
  • media theory

Biography

Amanda Lagerkvist PhD., is a Senior Lecturer and Full Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University. She is a founder of existential media studies. She is the author of Existential Media: A Media Theory of the Limit Situation (OUP, 2022), which introduces Karl Jaspers' existential philosophy for media theory and the PI of the Uppsala Informatics and Media Hub for Digital Existence. She has also built The Human Observatory for Digital Existence as a collaborative platform for monitoring what it means to be human in the face of rapid technological transformations and for promoting new academic and community values based on existential sensibilities also in collaboration with NGOS and patient organizations.

Professor Lagerkvist holds a PhD from Stockholm University in 2005. Her doctoral dissertation Amerikafantasier. Kön, medier och visualitet i svenska reseskildringar från USA 1945-63, is a cultural history of the media which places the relationship to the US - activated through physical encounters with the mediated nation - centrally for understanding Swedish postwar media history, and a phenomenological investigation into the intersections of space, lived experience, mediation and traveling. Lagerkvist had a two-year postdoc at SU between 2005-2007. The project "City of the Future: Time, Mediation and Multisensuous Immersion in the Future City of Shanghai" was funded by the Foundation of Anna Ahlström and Ellen Terserus. She was Research Fellow (forskarassistent) at SINAS (The Swedish Institute for North American Studies) at Uppsala University between 2007-2010. During her postdoc years Professor Lagerkvist developed an overarching socio-phenomenological approach to media and memory, exemplified in her monograph Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past (Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies, 2013). Between 2010-2013 she was Lecturer in Media and Communication Studies at Södertörn University. She became an Associate Professor of MCS in 2010.

Professor Lagerkvist was appointed Wallenberg Academy Fellow in 2013 and between 2014-2018 she headed the research program ”Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity” (http://et.ims.su.se) at Stockholm University, funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) and the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation (MAW). The collaboration between KAW and the five Swedish academies within the Wallenberg Academy Fellows program, included a mentorship and leadership training program for ‘Research Leaders of the Future’.

Professor Lagerkvist is since 2019 employed as lecturer and full professor in the Department of Informatics and Media at Uppsala University. There she has headed the research program "BioMe: Existential Challenges and Ethical Imperatives of Biometric AI in Everyday Lifeworlds" (2020-2024) a project within WASP-HS, funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation: https://wasp-hs.org (see more under Research).

Professor Lagerkvist was Visiting Scholar at King’s College, London for the academic year of 2018/19, invited by Professor Anna Reading, The Dept. of Culture, Media and Creative Industries. She was Invited to speak at the Into the Air Symposium, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada (the 20th anniversary of the publication of John Durham Peters’ seminal book Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication, she gave a talk about its reception in Sweden and role in the development of existential media theory. She has also been invited as Guest Professor to the Helsinki Institute for the Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH) in 2023. Amanda Lagerkvist also served on the Board and Screening Committee of the Fulbright Commission Sweden (January 2019-December 2020), and was Chair of the Board of the network ‘Digital Humanities Uppsala’ for two years (2019-2020).

Research

Professor Lagerkvist's current work and development of existential media studies (EMS) applies and updates classic phenomenological resources in the philosophy of existence to contemporary stakes of digital media and automated media technologies. The overarching aim of EMS is to explore what it means to be human in the digital age, in light of the fact that digital media are both ontologically 'the infrastructures of our being' (as John D. Peters puts it, 2015) and anthropological sites of the limit situations of human life where individuals and groups explore, tackle, and cope existentially (Jaspers 1932/1970). With a particular but not exclusive focus on death online, she developed a theoretical framework for existential media studies, focusing on digital-human vulnerabilities of online mourning, commemoration, and the digital afterlife. The Existential Terrains program which she headed between 2014-2018, made headway in contributing with an existential approach to digital culture in media studies, while simultaneously contributing to the two subfields death online research and digital memory studies. The program was the first media studies project in the world that researched the existential dimensions of digitalization, both empirically and theoretically.

Today she is the PI of the WASP-HS (https://wasp-hs.org) project “BioMe: Existential Challenges and Ethical Imperatives of Biometric AI in Everyday Lifeworlds” (2020-2024) in which her own study “Cripping the Biometric Person” focuses on disability, norms of being human and eugenic world building in the age of automation. She was awarded new grants in 2022 from the Bank of Sweden (RJ), the Swedish Research Council (VR), and the Wallenberg Foundations for research projects on the intersections of datafication, disability, and selfhood; and on the ambivalent AI imaginary and its relationship to both futures and endings (see: BioMe; Dismedia; Assistiv AI, AI Design Futures; At the End of the World). Lagerkvist is also a member of the FORMAS-funded project "The Mediated Planet: Claiming Data for Environmental SDGs" (2020-2025) headed by Dr. Sabine Höhler at KTH: https://www.kth.se/en/abe/inst/philhist/historia/forskning/higher-education-ins/the-mediated-planet-claiming-data-for-environmental-sdgs-1.1014650

In 2022 Lagerkvist published Existential Media: A Media Theory of the Limit Situation (Oxford University Press). the book introduces existential media studies, and restores Karl Jaspers' philosophy of technology, of communication and his philosophical anthropology of being human in the limit situations of life, for media theory.

Lagerkvist’s work has also appeared in for example New Media & Society, Media, Culture and Society, AI & Society, Media Theory, Mediekultur: Journal of Media and Communication Studies, Feminist Media Studies, The New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, Journal of Digital Social Research, Thanatos, Television & New Media, The Sociological Review, The International Journal of Cultural Studies, European Journal of Communication, Journal of Visual Culture, Senses and Society, and Space & Culture.

Lagerkvist initiated the DIGMEX network, an interdisciplinary research network which is constituted by over 180 scholars from all over the world. DIGMEX members work in for example media and communication studies, media philosophy, software studies, the philosophy of technology, digital media ethics, internet research, cyber sociology, digital culture studies, feminist STS, media religion and culture and digital memory studies. The network organizes seminars, workshops on digital media ethics, a lecture series and has hosted two successful international conferences: ”Digital Existence: Memory, Meaning Vulnerability” October 2015 (http://et.ims.su.se/files/Program-Digital-Existence.pdf) and ”Digital Existence II: Precarious Media Life” October 2017 (http://et.ims.su.se/activities/#2017-11-01). The main outcome of the first two conference events is the anthology Digital Existence: Ontology, Ethics and Transcendence in Digital Culture (Ed. A. Lagerkvist, Routledge 2019), which introduces the field and has a foreword by John Durham Peters at Yale University. The third Digital Existence conference took place in May and June of 2022 "Digital Existence. Living with Automation" at the Sigtuna Foundation with N. Katherine Hayles as our opening keynote, speaking on the topic of LLMs and representation.

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Amanda Lagerkvist

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