Numbers and Objectivity
I am currently working on a large and multi-faceted project on the history of quantification more broadly (see the link to my work on baseball below, specifically). This project includes tracing the work of statistical pioneers like Jerome Cornfield at the National Institutes of Health, showing how statistical methods might allow causal inferences to be made more rigorous, even in complex biomedical cases; it also includes work on the rise of statistical methods in unexpected places, like wine evaluation, and the ways that people try to turn subjectivities into objectivities with numbers. My overall interest is in the politics of numbers, writ large.
Some of my work in this area includes:
"Risky Medicine: How Good Health Became Big Business," Boston Review [Review of Risky Medicine: Our Quest to Cure Fear and Uncertainty by Robert Aronowitz]
“Mathematical Superpowers: The Politics of Universality in a Divided World,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
46/5 (2016): 549-555 [with Ksenia Tartarchenko]. Co-editor for this special issue on Cold War mathematics.
“Quantifying Culture,” Science 354/6308 (October 7, 2016), p. 45. [Review of Living by Numbers: In Defense of Quantity by Steven Connor]
“Facts Versus Fallacy,” Science 353/6299 (August 5, 2016), p. 550. [Review of Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist by Harold Wainer]