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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

SOCY 77 The Power of Numbers: How Data and Algorithms Shape the World

While statistics and quantitative data are increasingly becoming important components of our lives, the specific social processes through which they are engineered remain elusive to many of us. We learn math, statistics, and quantitative methods in classes, but most often those courses glance over the social contexts in which the technology of numbers was developed. In this course, we trace the development of statistics and quantitative analysis through modern times in an attempt to understand how they have been used and perceived in society. We also address recent controversies surrounding their implementation in businesses and government institutions, especially in relation to algorithmic decision making. In the process, we will establish that statistics and quantitative data are not just abstract, formal tools whose meanings are absolute and obvious, but that they are social constructs embedded in particular institutions, such as the state and market.



Degree Requirement Attributes


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.