Daniel Scott Smith

I'm a PhD candidate at Stanford in sociology of education.

A set of foundational questions underpins all my intellectual work: How does culture shape science? How does science shape culture? And how has the dynamic between the two spurred change in society? To tackle these questions, I analyze both historical and contemporary data using an array of computational and quantitative methods, including natural language processing techniques, network analysis, and statistical modeling. I pursue this research in two lines of inquiry:

Social science, cultural rationalization & the historical rise of schooling

I investigate how the ongoing institutionalization of the nascent social sciences during the nineteenth century instigated momentous social and political change. I show that the development of new social theories and their pairing with new kinds of "big" social data was a veritable transnational cultural movement. And, using the UK as a case study, I show how this cultural movement directly influenced the political salience and ascendance of state schooling during the nineteenth century, in part resulting in what we now take for granted as national education and the nation-state.

Culture, diversity & power in science & education

I also look at how cultural dynamics shape scientific and educational processes. Part of this work shows how knowledge and research can get gendered, and how this, in turn, leads to differences in outcomes among both students and scientists. Another part of this work looks at the strategies that make peer review fairer at contributing better science. A last thread of this work looks how changing cultural norms are associated with the empowerment of more diverse scientists, and how diverse scientists, in turn, contribute more diverse, fuller science.