Alma Steingart

Alma Steingart

Research Interest


ON LEAVE AY 2022-2023



Ph.D. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2013
B.A. – Columbia University, 2006


Interests and Research

Professor Alma Steingart researches the interplay between politics and mathematical rationalities. Steingart’s second book manuscript, Accountable Democracy: Mathematical Reasoning and Representative Democracy in America, 1920 to Now, examines how mathematical thought and computing technologies have impacted electoral politics in the United States in the twentieth century. Focusing on the census, apportionment, congressional redistricting, ranked voting, and election forecasts, she investigates how changing computational practices, from statistical modeling to geometrical analysis, insinuated themselves into the most basic definitions of “fair representation” of the American electorate.

In Pure Abstraction: Mathematical Thought and High Modernism (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press), Steingart excavates the influence of axiomatic reasoning on mid-century American intellectual thought, from the natural and social sciences to literary criticism and modern design. Professor Steingart was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and a predoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.



Contemporary Civilization I and II

Technology and US Politics (lecture)

Readings in Twentieth Century U.S History (Graduate Seminar)

The Quantified State: How Democracy Includes, Excludes, and Governs with Numbers (Seminar)



2020 – 2025 NSF, CAREER Award 

2020 Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Grant, Columbia University

2019 Lavine Scholar, Columbia University

2014 William F. Milton Fund, Harvard University

2011 NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant



Pure Abstraction: Mathematical Thought and High Modernism (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming).

Accountable Democracy: Mathematical Reasoning and Representative Democracy in America, 1920 – Now (in progress).



“The Axiom of High Modernism.” Representations 156 (2021)

“Law, Computing and Redistricting in the 1960s,” in Political Geometry, Moon Duchin and Olivia Walch, eds. (2021)

“The Axiomatic Aesthetic” in Computer Architectures: Constructing the Common Ground, 1945-1980. Theodora Vardouli and Olga Touloumi, eds. (Routledge Research in Design, Technology and Society series, 2019).

“Democracy by the Numbers,” The Los Angeles Review of Books, (August 2018).

“Mathematization,” Experience: Culture, Cognition, and the Common Sense, Caroline A. Jones, David Mather, and Rebecca K. Uchill, eds. (MIT Press, 2016), 111 - 118.

“Inside: Out,” Grey Room vol. 59, no. 2 (2015).

“A Four-Dimensional Cinema: Computer Graphics, Higher Dimensions, and the Geometrical Imagination,” Visualization in the Age of Computerisation, Annamaria Carusi, Aud Sissel-Hoel, Timothy Webmoor, and Steve Woolgar, eds. (Routledge, 2014), 170 - 193.

“A Group Theory of Group Theory: Collaborative Mathematics and the Uninvention of a Thousand-Page Proof,” Social Studies of Science vol. 42, no. 2 (2012).