Orit Halpern


Concordia University

Orit Halpern is an Associate Professor in Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design. She completed her Ph.D. at Harvard. She has published widely and has held numerous visiting scholar positions including at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, IKKM Weimar,  and at Duke University. She is currently working on two projects. The first is a history of “intelligence” and decision making in post 1970’s design, economics, artificial intelligence, and the life and human sciences;  the second project examines extreme infrastructures and the idea of experimentation at planetary scales in design, science, and engineering.

Her first book Beautiful Date: A History of Vision and Reason (Duke UP 2015) investigates histories of big data, design, and governmentality. Her current book with Robert Mitchell (in review) is titled the Smartness Mandate. It is a theory and history of the concept of “smartness”, that interrogates the relationship between computation, population, economy, and governmentality. She is also the director of the Speculative Life Research Cluster and   D4  : The Disrupting Design Research Group, both are  laboratories bridging the arts, environmental sciences, media, and the social sciences.