Alex Kindel

A peacock feather.

Curriculum Vitae

I study knowledge. I'm interested in public depictions of expert knowledge and the political organization of technical authority. Most of my work employs archival data, which I analyze using a range of methods (statistical, historical, computational, interpretive). I also conduct research on methodology for machine learning-based measurement in the social sciences.

My dissertation project investigates the reliability of word embedding methods for applied semantic analysis in the cultural social sciences. Through replication analyses and two extended case studies in the sociology of knowledge — estimating the effect of typesetting aesthetics on the evaluation of scientific manuscripts; describing the portrayal of occupational prestige on the US television game show Jeopardy! — I discuss the statistical and interpretive shortcomings of a few common semantic estimands and explore alternative question-specific quantities. A related working paper is available here.

My current historical work investigates how academic expansion conditioned the development of research methodology in the postwar period (1945-1970s). My first paper from this line of work, written as part of a research group at MPIWG on the history of validation in regulatory and biomedical science, investigates the origins of psychometric validity theory (i.e. internal, external, construct) and its entanglements with the cultivation of academic reputation in postwar US psychology.

In prior work, I've developed a historical sociology of educational expansion (with Mitchell Stevens) and assessed the predictability of life outcomes in longitudinal social survey data (with Matt Salganik, Ian Lundberg, Sara McLanahan, and more than 100 collaborators). I have also led and contributed to collaborative projects on team-based coding software for forum datavariable selection in longitudinal data systems, and reporting guidelines for multi-analyst studies

I'm currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University, advised by Brandon Stewart. In Fall 2023, I will join the faculty of Sciences Po as an assistant professor in Sociology and the médialab.