After completing this course, students should:|
1. Have a general overview of the key developments in the history of the natural sciences,
2. Be familiar with the most important historiographical debates in the field and the new approaches of the last three decades,
3. Know how to find and interpret primary and secondary sources, and be able to put them in historiographical context,
4. Be thoroughly familiar with the standards of scholarly integrity, especially regarding referencing, ,
5. Have improved their academic skills in presenting, debating, critical reading, and academic writing
This course is an introductory course on both the history of science and the historiography of science. We will familiarize ourselves with the standard account of the history of science, including the so-called ‘Scientific Revolution’, but we also critically assess this interpretation and learn how new developments in the theory of history had an impact on the history of science. The history of science came of age since the 1930s. Initially, historians of science were often scientists of profession and they tended to think that science was predominantly a cognitive activity which was quite distinct from society and culture (internalism). From the 1970s onwards, people who were trained as historians began to take over from the scientists and argued that the history of science was determined from outside (externalism). Social, political and economic approaches were joined by cultural appraisals of the nature, production, and transmission of scientific knowledge. Where does such a variety of approaches leave a future generation of historians of science? How do new approaches of history, such as digital humanities, bear on the pursuit of the history of science? Finally, what is the relevance of the history of science for our society? |
Recommended reading is for preparation only.