Calculating Americans: Big Histories of Small Data

History 100D

Fall 2018
170 Barrows
Day & Time: 
Tue/Thu 11am–12:30pm
Class Number: 

The data we collect both reflects our values and shapes them, constraining and defining the questions we ask about our society. This course will use a series of case studies from the history of American data to examine a wide array of political, economic, and cultural issues. We will explore the ways that categories, units of analysis, and practices of instruction and collection both reflect and reshape assumptions about race, gender, labor, and household structure. We will also experiment with the many ways we can use quantitative documents to learn about the past—both through close reading and through aggregation and statistical analysis. Case studies will be drawn from the colonial period to the present.