Project Description

“A Digital Reading of Twentieth Century Demography” brings the tools of the digital humanities to the history of demography, or population science, in the twentieth century. It comprises three sections. The first section, “Population Association of America,” examines the history of the PAA, the professional organization for population scientists working in the United States. It includes a list of all PAA presidents, including their field of expertise and their institutional affiliation, and links them together into an intellectual genealogy, connecting each to his or her graduate mentor and thereby identifying the intellectual influences on the field. The second section, “Topics in Population Science” employs topic modeling (Latent Dirichlet Allocation) to produce a distant (algorithmic) reading of three population-oriented journals established in the twentieth century, identifying the major concerns of each and how these changed over time. The third section, “Networks in Population Science” uses network diagrams to visualize the demography journal literature on the basis of article metadata, mapping the conceptual location of demography in the disciplinary terrain of the social sciences. This project provides an overview of population science in the twentieth century, identifying the broad outlines and thematic trends of the field.