HSS 50th Anniversary Lecture
Jennifer Tucker's first job after receiving her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University was in HSS as an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (1996-1998). While at Caltech, Tucker collaborated with humanities faculty in literature, history, and history of science and conducted extensive research at The Huntington. Her research interests include nineteenth-century British history, the history of science and technology, Victorian visual culture, history and theory of photography, early science film, feminist science and technology studies, and the visual culture of Victorian environmental law. Tucker recently received an inaugural Public Scholar award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to write a trade book on the history of photographic detection.
Today, there is a vigorous debate over how to protect privacy in the face of massive data collection systems operated by governments and private corporations. This may sound novel, but it's actually just the latest outgrowth of technologies that have been developing for more than 150 years. From the outset, the new visual technologies were used both for personal empowerment and social control. Through examples of photographic detection and resistance in Victorian Britain—in prisons, street demonstrations, courtrooms, and Scotland Yard—the lecture will discuss a largely neglected history of attempts to thwart photographic intrusions of privacy in Victorian and Edwardian society. How can the humanities illuminate the debate over the appropriate balance of security and privacy that technological advances have placed before us?