- University of Georgia
CSI Dixie: Race, the Body Politic, and the View from the South’s County Coroners’ Offices, 1840-1880
"CSI Dixie" digitizes, transcribes, indexes and makes available and searchable via the web the extant coroners' reports for four South Carolina counties (Anderson, Edgefield, Kershaw, and Spartanburg) for the years 1840-1880. This project is intended as the beginning of a much larger effort to create an online repository of records that will help historians study the medical and health histories of the American enslaved population. Access to previously unavailable health data provides a variety of scholars - sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, historians of race, children, poverty, gender, the body, and the family - a new lens for investigating a critical and turbulent period in the American South.
Big, Bad Data and the Birth of Death As We Know It: How Our Mortality Became Disciplined to Science, the State, and Actuarial Tables
The public health system of the early United States struggled not just with medical problems—adopting a germ theory of disease, for instance—but with logistical, statistical, and conceptual problems in learning how to aggregate, analyze, and visualize good data. Science, the state, and private industry fly relatively blind until they can “see at scale”; datafication turns out to be one of the least appreciated, and most important, planks in the bridge to modernity. A dramatic scaling up of a project funded by a Digital Innovation Fellowship from ACLS in 2013, “The Birth of Death As We Know It” collects and analyzes a variety of early public health records—coroners’ inquests, mortality censuses, and death certificates—to help lay bare the process by which our modern public health system was born.