Founding Speaker

Prof. Dr. Christoph Burchard, LL.M. (NYU)

Christoph Burchard is the founding speaker of the C3S. He holds the chair for German, European and International Criminal Justice, Comparative Law and Legal Theory at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. He is also adjunct faculty of LUISS University Rome (program in Law, Digital Innovation and Sustainability), and principal investigator of the Normative Orders research network. In his current research, he inter alia focuses on the normative order of computational technology in postdigital societies, including on how AI impacts (stabilizes and transforms) the very core of normativity. He has co-published on argument mining in legal texts and the use of large generative AI models in legal writing.

Read his take of C3S

"In Critical Computational Studies, both Cs – the Critical and the Computational – meet on equal footing. We complement computational (as in: operating with software, hardware, and data) with critical (as in: reflective and pertaining to significant transformative) approaches. Both Cs may prove challenging for one another. But they do not assail, let alone dissolve each other. Both Cs come together to constructively and creativly so that we - as researchers, teachers, users and citizens - enjoy the agency to shape our (post-)digital futures.

In the Center for Critical Computational Studies, or C3S, we hence set out to interweave these two Cs without prejudice. Neither is one C pushing boldly ahead while the other stands in the way of progress. Nor is one C meant to disentchant the other and its calamities.

This openness is what makes C3S unique, and why it can inspire innovative research across and beyond disciplinary boundaries.

Today’s (post)computational realities are characterized by anthropogenic climate change, pluralism and inequalities. Computational research and solutions hence need to be trustworthy and sustainable – or more generally speaking: they need to be justifiable. This is exactly what Critical Computational Studies is after.

At the same - remember C and C meeting on equal footing - computational approaches offer indispensable insights into complex systems, especially into critical points of their evolution and transformation. Such insights will, now or in some future, prompt vital solutions to impending challenges. For example, by exploring possible commonalities, even isomorphisms between and across different domains, I expect Critical Computational Studies to come up with novel cross-domain computational methods (e.g. multi-scale simulations of complex multi-actor networks). Such methods will generate deeper system understandings, including on how computational technologies are themselves shaping (for good or bad) these very systems and their understandings.

In working with social, political and industrial leaders as well as with our highly motivated students, C3S will advance - not only as an afterthought, but as a critical building block of our mission - Critical Computational Literacy as a necessary future skill to tackle our (post)digital planetary societies, and to shape them 'properly' for all those concerned and affected by computational technologies, including future generations."

Christoph Burchard, 21 April 2023