credit: Robin Sloan
Dan Bouk researches the history of bureaucracies, quantification, and other modern things shrouded in cloaks of boringness. He studied computational mathematics as an undergraduate, before earning a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. His work investigates the ways that corporations and states have used, abused, and re-made the categories that structure our daily experiences of being human. His first book, How Our Days Became Numbered (Chicago, 2015), explored the life insurance industry's methods for quantifying people, discriminating by race, and thinking statistically. He teaches history at Colgate University.
"A tour de force of archival research that reads like a detective story, Democracy's Data reveals an entire secret history behind one of the most underappreciated institutions of modern civic life: the census. Following Dan Bouk through this riveting exploration of what it means to count and be counted has forever changed my understanding of the relationship between information and a democratic society."