In this seminar, the modern history of quantification of natural and social phenomena and the statistical exploration of scientific data shall be studied from various angles for the social, the life and the mathematical sciences (such as demography, eugenics, political science, sociology and statistics). Although the potential richness of a history of quantification as it bears on the cultural study of objectivity beyond the usual geographic limitations has been acknowledged, historical narratives, often isolated by discipline, so far did not take into account and analyze what happened outside of Western Europe and North America. We will thus focus on East Asian societies in our discussions. They not only had early traditions of quantitative astronomy driven by the practical demands of astrology but they also had forms of political order that encouraged numerical measurement of social phenomena. Most recently, the Chinese Communist Party projected to compile a "social credit" score based on citizens' every activity, which is just one example of a case study for the social meaning of quantification in the changing shape of modernity.
- Trainer/in: Andrea Breard