HHS Speaker Series - Intimate Technologies: Dr. Hannah Zeavin & Dr. Samuele Collu in Conversation


Location: 207 DeBartolo Hall (View on map )

Intimate Technologies Poster
Intimate Technologies Poster

Poster for Intimate Technologies Lecture


Intimate Technologies:

Dr. Hannah Zeavin and Dr. Samuele Collu in Conversation
Moderated by Dr. Aidan Seale-Feldman (University of Notre Dame)

Sponsored by the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Human Values program in Health, Humanities, and Society (HHS)

What is the relationship between digital technology and psychic life? Today our lives are
mediated by digital technology in ever more pervasive ways. Since the arrival of social
media, we have become increasingly tethered to apps that harness behavioral
psychology to keep our attention fixed through targeted content and micro-nudging. In
the field of psychiatry, AI chat bots and therapy apps are supplementing human
psychotherapists in order to respond to a growing mental health crisis plagued by
inadequate resources. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we found ourselves reliant on
digital technologies at new levels and extremes. Glued to our phones, we refreshed
Twitter feeds in compulsive repetitions as we “doom-scrolled” through the latest
updates about covid death rates. Constantly on Zoom, social interactions became
increasingly remote and screen-mediated. Yet the centrality of the screen was not
limited to the work and school environment but also spilled over into our therapeutics,
as patients and therapists turned to virtual modalities in an unprecedented time of
personal and social crisis. This event brings together two scholars of technology and
mental health to reflect on the nature of our digital attachments and “distanced
intimacies” today.

Hannah Zeavin is a scholar, writer, and editor, and works as an Assistant Professor at
Indiana University and a Visiting Fellow at the Columbia University Center for The
Study of Social Difference. Zeavin is the author of The Distance Cure: A History of
Teletherapy (MIT Press, 2021) and at work on her second book, Mother’s Little
Helpers: Technology in the American Family (MIT Press, 2024). Essays and criticism
have appeared or are forthcoming from differences, Dissent, The Guardian, Harper’s
Magazine, n+1, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Technology &
Culture, and elsewhere. In 2021, Zeavin co-founded The Psychosocial Foundation and is
the Founding Editor of Parapraxis, a new popular magazine for psychoanalysis on the
Samuele Collu is an Assistant Professor in Medical and Psychological Anthropology at
McGill University. His work focuses on psychic life, affects, and therapeutic
transformation. He has done ethnographic research on spirit possession in Cambodia, a
rare neurological malformation in Italy, couples therapy and clinical hypnosis in
Argentina. He is now finishing a book titled Into the Loop, which explores the
contemporary entanglement between screens, affective attachments, and compulsive


Originally published at reilly.nd.edu.