Results for: Data: History and Literature

KNOW 22011: Data: History and Literature

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History, English, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Public Policy Studies - Harris School, Social Thought, Sociology
  • Year: 2020-21
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tue Thu 4:20-5:40 PM
  • DIGS 30016, SOCI 20518, SOCI 30518, PPHA 32011, ENGL 32011, SCTH 32011, HIPS 22011, CHSS 32011

Alexander Campolo, Anastasia Klimchynskaya

Data is a notion that seems to characterize our contemporary world. Digital revolutions, artificial intelligence, and new forms of management and governance all claim to be data-driven. This course traces the origins of these trends to the nineteenth century, when new statistical knowledges and literary traditions emerged. Moving across disciplinary boundaries, we will analyze the ways in which practices of observation and calculation produced data on populations, crime, and economies. Likewise, the literature of this period reflected the ways that data shaped subjective experience and cultural life: the rise of the detective novel transformed the world into a set of signs and data points to interpret, while Balzac's Human Comedy classified individuals into types. Drawing on these historical and humanistic perspectives, students will have the opportunity to measure and analyze their own lives in terms of data-as well as think critically about the effects of these knowledge practices.

This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge 

Watch a trailer of the class here.