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History Lab

Join us each summer for History Lab, a series of free monthly seminars taking place from June through August. We’ll explore big questions from science and history that have immediate, real-world implications.

In an era of conflict and uncertainty we want to believe quantitative data can tell us something unquestionably objective about the world. We assume that such data has clear meaning and that it comes to us “raw” and free of human intervention. But is any of that true?

This summer we explored where scientific data comes from, what we do with it, and the stories we tell about it. Join neighbors, friends, and colleagues to discuss the complicated, influential role that scientific data plays in our world.

Past Events

History Lab: Communities and Data
July 21, 2018 | 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Because we assume that human perspectives are varied and unreliable, algorithms and quantitative data collection often seem dedicated to “removing” subjective experiences from the equation. Why is that? How does a story change when you invite people’s lived experiences (collected through ethnography, oral history, and journalistic interviews) into the examination of a community?

History Lab: Imagination and Data­­
August 4, 2018 | 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Can we collect and interpret data beyond our usual senses? How might we understand data differently if we produced it in colors, or claps, or smells? Using our analytical instrument collection and some interesting historical attempts to collect and share data under extreme circumstances, we will rethink the forms data takes in our lives.