History of Classification and Information Reading List

Genealogical distribution of the arts and sciences’ by Chrétien Frederic Guillaume Roth from Encyclopédie (1780) by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert

For your summer reading pleasure and in the context of the ever rising importance of critically thinking through classification, here is my complete qualifying exam list on HISTORY OF CLASSIFICATION AND INFORMATION.

Cindy Nguyen
Examiner: Cathryn Carson
Second Field: History of Knowledge Systems

History of Classification and Information

1. STS & Memory Practices: Classification, Documentation, Catalogs, Libraries, Archives
2. History of Information, Information Age, Enlightenment Institutions
3. History of statistics: governance and discipline
4. Data Science: theory, explanation; experts

I. STS and Memory Practices: Classification, Documentation, Catalogs, Libraries, Archives

1. Bowker, Geoffrey C., and Susan Leigh Star. Sorting Things out: Classification and Its Consequences. Inside Technology. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1999.
2. Lampland, Martha, and Susan Leigh Star, eds. Standards and Their Stories: How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009.
3. Krajewski, Markus. Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929. History and Foundations of Information Science. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2011.
4. Gitelman, Lisa. Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents. Sign, Storage, Transmission. Durham ; London: Duke University Press, 2014.
5. Yeo, Richard. “Reading Encyclopedias: Science and the Organization of Knowledge in British Dictionaries of Arts and Sciences, 1730-1850.” Isis 82, no. 1 (1991): 24–49.
6. Olson, Hope A. “The Power to Name: Representation in Library Catalogs.” Signs 26, no. 3 (2001): 639–68.
7. Brown, Richard Harvey, and Beth Davis-Brown. “The Making of Memory: The Politics of Archives, Libraries and Museums in the Construction of National Consciousness.” History of the Human Sciences 11, no. 4 (November 1, 1998): 17–32.
8. Manoff, Marlene. “Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy 4, no. 1 (2004): 9–25.
9. Jacob, Elin K. “Classification and Categorization: A Difference That Makes a Difference.” Library Trends 52, no. 3 (Winter 2004): 515–40.

Scientific Archives
10. Bowker, Geoffrey C. Memory Practices in the Sciences. Inside Technology. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2005.
11. Daston, Lorraine. “The Sciences of the Archive.” Osiris 27 (2012): 156–87.
12. Daston, Lorraine, and Peter Galison. “The Image of Objectivity.” Representations, no. 40 (October 1992): 81–128.

Scientific Libraries
13. Marco Beretta, Bibliotheca Lavoisieriana: The Catalogue of the Library of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (Florence, 1995), 13– 58.
14. Grafton, Anthony. “Libraries and Lecture Halls.” In The Cambridge History of Science, edited by Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston, 238–50. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. http://universitypublishingonline.org/ref/id/histories/CBO9781139054010A016.

15. Grafton, Anthony Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009.
a. chapters: A sketch map of a lost continent: the republic of letters & Codex in Crisis: the book dematerializes
16. Ludovico, Alessandro. Post-Digital Print – The Mutation Of Publishing Since 1894. Ram Publications, 2013.

Science & Technology Studies
17. Biagioli, Mario. The Science Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 1999 (selections)
18. Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Translated by Catherine Porter. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1993.
19. Latour, Bruno. Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society. Milton Keynes ; Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1987.
20. Golinski, Jan. Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
21. Daston, Lorraine. “The Moral Economy of Science.” Osiris 10 (1995): 2–24.

II. Historical studies of Information, Enlightenment, Europe, ‘Information Ages’

In chronological order
16th-17th Western Europe
22. Blair, Ann M. Too Much to Know : Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age. New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press, 2010.
23. Soll, Jacob. The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Secret State Intelligence System. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009.

18th Enlightenment- Post-1789 French Revolution “modern nation state”/19th Western Europe
24. Wellmon, Chad. Organizing Enlightenment: Information Overload and the Invention of the Modern Research University. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.
25. Headrick, Daniel R. When Information Came of Age : Technologies of Knowledge in the Age of Reason and Revolution, 1700-1850. Cary, NC, USA: Oxford University Press, USA, 2000.
26. Darnton, Robert. “An Early Information Society: News and the Media in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” The American Historical Review 105, no. 1 (February 1, 2000): 1–35.
27. Burke, Peter. A Social History of Knowledge: From Gutenberg to Diderot. Cambridge, UK : Malden, MA: Polity ; Blackwell, 2000.

20th information ages, 1960’s-1980s, United States
28. Kline, Ronald R. The Cybernetics Moment, Or, Why We Call Our Age the Information Age. New Studies in American Intellectual and Cultural History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.
29. Nunberg, Geoffrey. “Farewell to the Information Age.” The Future of the Book 125 (1996).
30. Day, Ronald E. Indexing It All: The Subject in the Age of Documentation, information, and Data. History and Foundations of Information Science. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2014.
31. Frickel, Scott, and Neil Gross. “A General Theory of Scientific/Intellectual Movements.” American Sociological Review 70, no. 2 (April 1, 2005): 204–32

III. History of statistics: governance and discipline

In chronological order
17th-19th Enlightenment
32. Gigerenzer, Gerd, ed. The Empire of Chance: How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life. Ideas in Context. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
33. Daston, Lorraine. Classical Probability in the Enlightenment. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1988.
34. Hacking, Ian. The Taming of Chance. Ideas in Context. Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

19th-20th Science, Public & Social Life, the State
35. Porter, Theodore, M. The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820-1900. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986.
36. Porter, Theodore, M. Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995.
37. Agar, Jon. The Government Machine: A Revolutionary History of the Computer. History of Computing. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2003
38. Bouk, Daniel B. How Our Days Became Numbered: Risk and the Rise of the Statistical Individual. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2015.
39. Desrosières, Alain. The Politics of Large Numbers: A History of Statistical Reasoning. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1998.
40. Scott, James C. Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale Agrarian Studies. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 1998.
41. Scott, James C., John Tehranian, and Jeremy Mathias. “The Production of Legal Identities Proper to States: The Case of the Permanent Family Surname.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 44, no. 1 (January 1, 2002): 4–44.

IV. Data Science: practice, algorithms, computers, role of experts

42. Boyd, Danah, and Kate Crawford. “CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR BIG DATA: Provocations for a Cultural, Technological, and Scholarly Phenomenon.” Information, Communication & Society 15, no. 5 (June 2012): 662–79.
43. Dourish, Paul, and Genevieve Bell. Divining a Digital Future : Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2011.
44. Ensmenger, Nathan. The Computer Boys Take over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise. History of Computing. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2010.
45. Fox, Peter, and James Hendler. “The Science of Data Science.” Big Data 2, no. 2 (June 2014): 68–70.
46. Galison, Peter, and David Stump. “Computer Simulations and the Trading Zone.” In The Disunity of Science: Boundaries, Contexts, and Power, 118–57. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.
47. Halpern, Orit. Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945. Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2015.
48. Hey, Anthony J. G, Stewart Tansley, and Kristin Michele Tolle. The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery. Redmond, Wash.: Microsoft Research, 2009.
49. Christopher M. Kelty, Two bits: The cultural significance of free software (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008).
50. Kitchin, Rob. The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Their Consequences. SAGE, 2014.
51. Mahoney, Michael S. “The Histories of Computing(s).” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 30, no. 2 (June 2005): 119–35.
52. O’Neil, Cathy, and Rachel Schutt. “Doing Data Science.” In Doing Data Science. O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2013.
53. Tuomi, Ilkka. “Data Is More than Knowledge: Implications of the Reversed Knowledge Hierarchy for Knowledge Management and Organizational Memory.” Journal of Management Information Systems 16, no. 3 (December 1, 1999): 103–17.

BOOK REVIEW Bowker & Star Sorting Things out: Classification and Its Consequences

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Bowker, Geoffrey C., and Susan Leigh Star. Sorting Things out: Classification and Its Consequences. Inside Technology. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1999.

“To classify is human”

Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star undertake the challenging and encompassing topic of ‘classification’ in Classification and Its Consequences. The authors argue the that 1) classification is a ubiquitous human activity (“human artifacts”) and 2) the consequences of classificatory architecture influence and ‘torque’ human lives politically, socially, linguistically, and cognitively. The authors provide investigate infrastructure of  classification schemes in the medical and social realm such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the Nursing Intervention Classification (NIC), and racial classification in South Africa.

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BOOK REVIEW Hue-Tam Ho Tai’s Millenarianism and Peasant Politics in Vietnam (1983)



Hue-Tam Ho Tai. Millenarianism and Peasant Politics in Vietnam. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Hue-Tam Ho Tai examines the history of the millenarian tradition Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương (Strange Fragrance from the Precious Mountain)—a collection of Sino-Vietnamese folk religion (mystical currents of Zen, White Lotus, popular Taoism) in the spiritually and ethnically diverse Western Nam Bo Khmer-Viet frontier in 1849 (appearance of Buddha Master) to 1975 (Communist takeover of the South).  Ho Tai makes two primary arguments: 1) The foundation of the Hoa Hao sect by Huynh Phu So in 1939 was the modern embodiment and adaptation of the Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương to profound change in the colonial period. 2) The Hoa Hao was a competing ideology of change to Communist revolution and traces its progression and limitations as a movement. (In the 1940s, the Hoa Hao united the sects of the western Delta into a theocratic state, and offered itself as an institutional, military, alternative society to Vietminh communist power.)

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ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Colonial Studies: Power and Knowledge

Below is an annotated bibliography of part of my reading list with Professor Janaki Bakhle, titled ‘Colonial Studies: Power and Knowledge.” This reading list focuses on agents and institutions of colonial knowledge and is framed by the following commentary:

“Colonial conquest was not just the result of the power of superior arms, military organization, political power, or economic wealth—as important as these things were. Colonialism was made possible, and then sustained and strengthened, as much by cultural technologies of rule as it was by the more obvious and brutal modes of conquest that first established power on foreign shores. The cu1tural effects of colonialism have too often been ignored or displaced into the inevitable logic of modernization and world capitalism; but more than this, it has not been sufficiently recognized that colonialism was itself a cultural project of control. Colonial knowledge both enabled conquest and was produced by it; in certain important ways, knowledge was what colonialism was all about.”

Nicholas Dirks forward to Bernard Cohn, Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge (1996)

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BOOK REVIEW Charles Keith’s Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation (2012)

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Charles Keith, Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation University of California Press, 2012.

Charles Keith sheds light upon the role of the Vietnamese Catholic Church in the rise of Vietnamese nationalism and a ‘modern’ identity. As the first comprehensive, English language study of the twentieth century Catholic Church in Vietnam, Keith rejects the current historiography of Vietnamese Catholics as simply supporters of French colonialism and in opposition to Vietnamese nationalism. Instead, Keith instills a sense of political and cultural agency for Vietnamese Catholics and indigenous religious organizations to critique the French colonial state. Keith demonstrates how a ‘national’ Catholic Church emerged in Vietnam after World War I through print culture and connection with global Catholicism. Keith reveals how the Vietnamese Catholic Church strategically identified with global Catholic movements and Vatican political stances on national self-identity and human dignity. Through this relationship with Rome and missionary political structures, Vietnamese Catholics were able to reposition themselves as a modern political and religious institution.

Keith also demonstrates how Vietnamese Catholics contributed to a new, ‘modern’ political consciousness and nationalism. In other parts of Catholic Vietnam, Keith describes Catholic political consciousness as tied to the rise of a modern national culture. Writers contrasted the often ambiguous and all encompassing adjective ‘modern’ with ‘traditional,’ as a way to make social and cultural critiques. Keith demonstrates how the formation of the national Vietnamese Catholic Church coincided with debates on modernity and political identities, or within a phenomenon Keith terms as ‘religious modernity.’

BOOK REVIEW: David Marr’s Generational Arguments in Vietnamese Anticolonialism (1971) and Vietnamese Tradition on Trial 1920-1945 (1981)

Author Background

David G. Marr was born in 1937 and in his lifetime completed service in the marine corps, intelligence agency, and Vietnam (1962). He completed his MA and Ph.D. in History at UC Berkeley (1968) under the guidance of Chinese historian Joseph Levenson. Marr also contributed to Vietnam Today and the Indochina Resource center, an activist resource center. Marr currently is an emeritus Professor at the College of Asia and the Pacific at Australian National University. He is the author of multiple important monographs and articles for the field of Vietnamese hsitory:

Vietnamese Anticolonialism 1885-1925, University of California Press, 1971

Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945, University of California Press, 1981.

Vietnam. World Bibliographical Series, vol.147, Clio Press, 1992.

Vietnam 1945: The Quest for Power, University of California Press, 1995.

Vietnam: State, War, and Revolution (1945–1946) University of California Press, 2013

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: David Marr’s Generational Arguments in Vietnamese Anticolonialism (1971) and Vietnamese Tradition on Trial 1920-1945 (1981)”