History 586D: Seminar in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Instructor: Alexei Kojevnikov
Section: 201

Term: 2
Meets: Mondays 3:00-5:30pm

This seminar serves as an introduction to the field for graduate students from different backgrounds—humanities, social, and natural sciences. It will use seminal samples of research in the history of science, medicine, and technology, both classic and current ones, to teach major methodological approaches and genres of analysis, analyze ongoing historiographical debates and unresolved problems, and explore connections with neighbouring fields of science and technology studies and philosophy of science. The seminar will be reading and discussion intensive; writing assignments will include short think pieces, a book review, and a final analytical paper. This year’s selection of topics and readings includes:

1. Early Modern

Lost Wonders:
Daston and Parks, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 (2001)
Theological Revolution:
Koyre, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (1957)
Knowledge of Power:
Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (1992)
Order of Gendering:
Schiebinger, Nature’s Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science (2004)

2. Modern

Colonial Reason:
Prakash, Another Reason: Science and Imagination in Modern India (1999)
Rebellion in Minds:
Rudwick, Bursting the Limits of Time: The Reconstruction of Geo-History in the Age of Revolution (2007)
Porter, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (1996)
Research and Killings:
McCormmach, Night Thoughts of a Classical Physicist (1991) and Frayn, Copenhagen (2000)

3. Postmortem

Materiality and Praxis:
Pickering, The Mangle of Practice: Science, Society, and Becoming (2008)
Fabrication of Society:
Hacking, The Social Construction of What? (2000)
Postmodernity and Nostalgia:
Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (1993)
Oreskes and Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the
Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (2011)