Three ‘Cs’ of Global Health’s Avalanche of Numbers

David Robertson // ‘Suicide rate up 33%’ reads a recent news headline; ‘dementia skyrocketed by 117% over just 26 years’, reads another.[1] Internationally, health media today indicates a growing reliance on the quantitative representation of health findings, outcomes, and interventions in a display of what philosopher of science Ian Hacking once described, referring to the…

Databases, Diagnoses, and the History of Psychiatry

David Robertson // Like other fields of medicine, psychiatry depends upon “information infrastructures” in order to distinguish between different mental disorders. Such infrastructures include the personnel, tools, systems, and networks essential for the day-to-day collection of large quantities of data. Attending to the historical transformation of information infrastructures in psychiatry calls on the historian to…