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Week 1: Introduction

Click here to download the handout and lecture slides

Seminar Questions

  • What is the relationship between science and society?
  • How has science in Europe developed in relationship with the rest of the world?
  • How do scientists defend their theories?
  • What is the value of studying the history of science today?

Essential Readings

Read one or more of the following:

Koyré, Alexandre, 'Galileo and the Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century', The Philosophical Review, 52 (1943)

Shapin, Steven, ‘Phrenological Knowledge and the Social Structure of Early Nineteenth-Century Edinburgh’, Annals of Science, 32 (1975)

Daston, Lorraine and Peter Galison, ‘The Image of Objectivity’, Representations, 40 (1992)

Sivasundaram, Sujit, ‘Sciences and the Global: On Methods, Questions, and Theory’, Isis, 101 (2010)

Additional Readings
Bowler, Peter and Iwan Morus, Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2005)

Daston, Lorraine, and Peter Galison, Objectivity (New York City, NY: Zone Books, 2010)

Golinski, Jan, Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)

Hacking, Ian, The Social Construction of What? (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999)

Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1962)

Latour, Bruno, and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986)

Poovey, Mary, A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1998)

Porter, Theodore, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996)

Shapin, Steven, A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1994)

Reference works on the history of science since 1400

Bowler, Peter and Iwan Rhys Morus. Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey. Chicago UP, 2005.

Dear, Peter. 2001. Revolutionising the Sciences: European Knowledge and Its Ambitions, 1500-1700. Basingstoke: Palgrave. A short history of early modern science.

Gillispie, Charles C. Dictionary of Scientific Biography. New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1970-1980. The standard source for biographical sketches of past scientists. The Warwick library holds the first edition, which is a bit dated but still useful.

Heilbron, John. The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science. Oxford University Press, 2003. 1-volume encyclopaedia of modern science, from c. 1450 to the present. Includes useful general articles such as 'quantification', 'natural history', and 'evolution', as well as more specific ones such as 'microscope' and 'radiation.'

Henry, John. 1997. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Another short history of early modern science, a useful complement to the book by Peter Dear above (not yet available online, but there are many hard-copies in the library).

Lindberg, David C. and Robert L. Numbers, general editors. The Cambridge History of Science. Cambridge, UK, 2002-2018. Comprehensive, seven-volume reference work on the history of science. See especially volumes 3 (early modern science), 4 (18th-century science), 5 (Modern physical and mathematical sciences), 6 (Modern biological and earth sciences), 7 (Modern social sciences).