Spring 2018 Dialogo: Big Data’s Big Influence

Each time in writing this letter for Dialogo, I encounter a bounty of accomplishments to share with you, and am reminded anew what a vibrant, dynamic community the University of Chicago and the Division of the Social Sciences is. In just this quarter, among many examples, we’ve congratulated 4 of our faculty – Fernando Alvarez (Economics), Cathy Cohen (Political Science), Susan Levine (Psychology), and Linda Waite (Sociology) – on their election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Faith Hillis (History) was selected as a fellow by The New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. Amy Dru Stanley (History) chaired the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in History. And Forrest Stuart (Sociology) was awarded the 55th Laing Prize from the University of Chicago Press for his book, Down, Out, & Under Arrest.

 

That pursuit of discovery in its many forms pervades this issue of Dialogo. On these pages, we explore the impact and influence of that volumes of newly accessible datasets are having on social science research across disciplines. As you’ll read in the feature on archival research, data and computational social science are broadening and deepening the questions Ufuk Akcigit (Economics), Ada Palmer (History), and Marieke Winchell (Comparative Human Development) are pursuing. The Center for Spatial Data Science profile illustrates the ways in which new forms of collaboration are possible because of data. The profiles on Anna Mueller (Comparative Human Development); Pete Aceves, a graduate student in Sociology; and Pete McMahan, Ph.D.’17 Sociology, each illustrate the ways in which the use of data in social science research create new knowledge and understanding. Finally, the “Common Ground” discussion between Howard Nusbaum (Psychology) and James Evans (Sociology) illuminates the ways in which we are considering how to best realize the potential of this transformative moment across our fields.

 

These, and the many other stories in this issue, each speak to the diverse ways in which our faculty, students, and alumni are transforming the social sciences through their research and work. I invite you to stay in touch with our most recent news through our website and social media channels.

 

With best wishes,

 

Amanda Woodward
Dean, Division of the Social Sciences
William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology

 

Originally posted on Dialogo