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The compounding crises of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically intensified the ongoing redefinition of facts and truth claims. Associated with rising religious fundamentalism and new forms of populism, this reconfiguration has been crucially fueled by the acceleration of information technologies. If during the 20th century facts were predicated upon claims to objectivity and verifiable experience, in the 21st facts are up for grabs as manufactured doubt and distrust of expertise saturate the public sphere. This, we argue, is not temporary but a new global condition. If we are to understand the future of facts, we need to expand studies of disinformation with interdisciplinary approaches that examine what is the nature of facts in a global context. This implies developing new concepts that go beyond dominant truth/falsehood, fact/fiction dichotomies.

 

This roundtable features several members of the interdisciplinary, SSRC-funded Future of Facts project, including Dr. Andrea Ballestero (Anthropology, USC), Dr. Eden Medina (Science, Technology, and Society, MIT), Dr. Gabriela Soto Laveaga (History of Science, Harvard), Dr. Kregg Hetherington (Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia), and Dr. Andrew Lakoff (Sociology and Anthropology, USC). Find more information about the Future of Facts project at https://dornsife.usc.edu/stpl/future-of-facts/

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  • Michele Medina
  • Blake Palomino
  • Johanna Cabrera

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