I am just back from a fantastic 3 days with history of science and statistics scholars from France, Austria, Hungary, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, the US and Canada. In addition to the list of countries of the participants, articles discussed Cuba, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Kansas. The Colloque Le CHIFFRE et la CARTE was intellectually very stimulating with numerous critical data case studies from around the world by scholars who were not aware that critical data studies exists. This was thick description humanities work with a great many fans of Foucault, Hacking, Dupaquier, Desrosier, and Curtis. A few of the articles that were discussed are published in English and in French, in Histoire & Mesure Vol.32 No1, 2017.  I was also introduced to this great French, English and Spanish Open Access Journal Statistique et Societe Statistics and Society Estadistica y Sociedad.

Critical data studies can benefit from working outside of English, outside of the West, beyond urban, by being more empirical, and should be less a-historical.  There is a need to look at the history of science, statistics and technology, especially since the lesson learned from the past still apply today.

You can read the full program of the Colloque here.

The provenance of the colloque stems from earlier edited work done by Jean-Pierre Beaud and Jean-Guy Prevost in this wonderful work entitled L’ ère du chiffre / The Age of Numbers / Systèmes statistiques et traditions nationales/Statistical Systems and National Traditions, with key papers from Ian Hacking, Alain Desrosiere, Bruce Curtis, Theodore Porter and many others. It also is part of the work of Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST) based at the University of Montreal.

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