Monthly Archives: June 2013

Transitions

The blog has been on hiatus the last couple of weeks. We have been quite busy. I was recently accepted to the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia, to work with Peter Harrison on my PhD. As a result, we have been busy with visa applications, selling, packing, and figuring out the logistics of leaving […]

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The European Commission and the Commemorative Euro Coin

Andrew Higgins, in one of the cover stories of today’s New York Times, reports how the European Commission ordered the National Bank of Slovakia to remove halos and crosses from a commemorative euro coin to be minted this summer (“A More Secular Europe, Divided by the Cross“). The coins are a celebration of Christianity’s arrival […]

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Progress and the Great Exhibition of 1851

Most of us know of the Great Exhibition of 1851 from our Western Civilization textbooks. It is generally interpreted as a thoroughly secular affair that celebrated progress in science, technology, and industry. For example, my “instructor’s edition” of Jackson J. Spielvogel’s Western Civilization (2006) states that it was a “symbol of the success of Great […]

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Thinking about Evolution – Early Evolutionism and Darwinism

A post in April discussed the connection between the “revolution” in biology and its often neglected metaphysical underpinnings. In this post I want to briefly discuss the development of early theories of evolutionism and the full implications of Darwinism. Following on from the impact of geological and paleontological discoveries in the early nineteenth century, evolutionary […]

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Images of the Man of Science

Historian and sociologist of science Steven Shapin is one of the leading practitioners of constructivist historiography. Constructivitism assumes that scientific knowledge is locally created, produced, and situated. The local in scientific knowledge and the processes by which it becomes universally accepted are the two central issues in constructivist historiography. Constructivists, moreover, view scientific knowledge not […]

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How Thinking Feels

The mind ranges to and fro, and spreads out, and advances forward with a quickness which has become a proverb, and a subtlety and versatility which baffle investigation. It passes on from point to point, gaining one by some indication; another on a probability; then availing itself of an association; then falling back on some […]

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Myths about Science and Religion: That the Scientific Revolution Liberated Science from Religion

On May 12 of 2010, the general reading public witnessed a robust, if not at times acerbic, exchange between two prominent scholars of modern European history. It began with the publication of a review essay entitled “Mind the Enlightenment” in The Nation magazine by Samuel Moyn, professor of modern history at Columbia University. In that […]

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Graduate Study for the 21st Century

During my down time I’ve been paging through Gregory Colón Semenza’s Graduate Study for the 21st Century: How to Build an Academic Career in the Humanities (2005). It is an ideal book for the graduate student. It covers topics such as the culture of graduate programs (teaching, research, and service), the politics of academic life […]

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Desecularizing the World

Continuing the trend from the last post, in this post we will be looking at a different book, The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (1999), edited by Peter L. Berger. Few scholars have contributed so much to our understanding of religion and modernity as Berger. Beginning in the 1960s, he advanced […]

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