Yale News: ‘The Order of Multitudes’: Mellon Foundation funds new Yale Sawyer Seminar

July 29, 2019

The need to design large-scale frameworks for organizing the data explosion of the digital age is perhaps the central problem facing interdisciplinary research in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences today. A team at Yale proposes to confront this problem by examining how large bodies of data have been managed, analyzed, disseminated, and made legible both in the past and in the present.

The two-year project, titled “The Order of Multitudes: Atlas, Encyclopedia, Museum,” has received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminar on Comparative Study of Cultures. Slated to begin in 2020, the project will bring together Yale humanities, social science, and science scholars to think about the long histories of information management across the globe dating back to the late medieval period. They will study the history of these systems through a range of practices and disciplines — from Renaissance cosmography to modern linguistics, anthropology, evolutionary biology, Wikipedia, and virtual reality — emphasizing both the theory and the practical means and methods of system-building.

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