Core History of Science

STS 5205: Main Themes in the History of Science • Spring 2009

Was there such a thing as a Scientific Revolution? Is science the gateway to modernity? To what extent are the knowledge-producing practices we call “science” dependent on historical and cultural contexts? How can we as historians document and interpret the scientific past? This seminar is designed to provide you with the basic outlines of the history of Western science and to introduce key historical theories, approaches, and resources for research. We will survey some of the main schools of thought about the development of Western science and how have they been challenged. We will discuss issues such as the nature (or nonexistence) of scientific revolutions, the meaning of objectivity, scientific practices and institutions, and the influence of gender and race on scientific thought.

The course will begin with ancient and medieval Science, focus in depth on the Scientific Revolution, and continue through the twentieth century. This is a reading-intensive class designed to provide a foundation for ongoing study in STS as well as preparation for the preliminary exam. Class meetings will emphasis critical analysis of texts and active participation in discussion. Students will also conduct and present original research on a topic of their choice.

Note: This description subject to modification.

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