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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Knowledge of the U.S. Social Sciences

  • Author(s): Ambrose, Brooks
  • Advisor(s): Zucker, Lynne G.
  • Rossman, Gabriel
  • et al.

This dissertation contains four studies in the mapping of scholarly knowledge with special reference to the social sciences. Chapter one theorizes three roles within universities, archivists, professionals, and educators, and explains how their collusions and collisions over knowledge as a valued resource shape knowledge terrains over time. Chapter two uses advanced network visualization techniques to model how the assignment of discipline subject labels to journals by digital archivists can be analyzed to reveal an implicit cognitive map of disciplines. Chapter three uses a topic model to conduct an expansive literature review covering thousands of articles to understand what the term genre means in different disciplines, and it invents several diagnostic techniques to validate model quality. Chapter four uncovers the historical origins of social science in the United States from the end of the Civil War until the Great Depression, and it uses a topic model to track the development of the genre structure of anthropology and sociology as each discipline contends with the establishment of the university system and with the dawning of World War I. Together these studies establish an agenda for the systematic cartography of social science knowledge that will help scholars reach a deeper understanding of the history of their fields.

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