Jones, Matthew L.

James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization


Ph.D. — Harvard University, 2000
M.Phil. — Cambridge University, 1995
B.A. — Harvard University, 1994


Interests and Research

Matthew L. Jones studies the history of science and technology, focused on early modern Europe and on recent information technologies. A Guggenheim Fellow for 2012-13 and a Mellon New Directions fellow for 2012-15, he is writing on book on computing and state surveillance of communications, and is working on Data Mining: The Critique of Artificial Reason, 1963-2005, a historical and ethnographic account of “big data,” its relation to statistics and machine learning, and its growth as a fundamental new form of technical expertise in business and scientific research.  His publications include: "Querying the Archive: Data Mining from Apriori to Page Rank," in L. Daston, ed. Archives of the Sciences (Chicago, 2016); Reckoning with Matter: Calculating Machines, Improvement, and Thinking about Thinking from Pascal to Babbage (Chicago, 2016); “Improvement for Profit: Calculating Machines and the Prehistory of Intellectual Property,” in Mario Biagioli and Jessica Riskin, eds., Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2014); The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2006).