course

In an age where questions of trust are ever more prominent in public and political discourse, this course inquires into the forms and natures of trust itself. Moving beyond an account of the foundations of trust, it pays particular attention to how trust has been configured and conditioned through proliferating practices of audit, certification, verification, and inspection. As the reach of these practices, and their strength, extends over broad domains of life 'from the provision of public services to human rights, development, and environmental management' we examine how they may constitute infrastructures and technologies of trust. In doing so, we explore the relation of trust to transparency and opacity, knowledge and ignorance, and truth, as well as the ways in which digital technologies are leveraged to mediate these relations. Bringing classic and recent anthropological and sociological scholarship into conversation, while also harnessing practice-oriented opportunities to examine the problem of trust in contemporary life, this course aims to foster refined understandings of the following questions: What is trust? And, what does it mean to trust?