History of Science Category

Wrestling with Nature – Science and Religion

Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (2011) uses the popular-case study format to examine “how students of nature themselves have understood and represented their work.” The essays are thematic but roughly chronological, beginning with “natural knowledge in ancient Mesopotamia” (Francesca Rochberg), moves on to “natural knowledge in the Classical World” (Daryn Lehoux), and then […]

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Publishing, Reading, and Inventing Science in the Nineteenth Century

Jonathan R. Topham’s chapter in Science and Religion prompts a more careful examination of the role of science within literature, as well as the cultural embeddedness of science itself. In several other places, Topham offers a more detailed account of the pivotal roles of author, publisher, and reader of nineteenth-century print media, particularly in his […]

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Science and Religion: Some New Historical Perspectives: Some Words on Evolution and the Politics of Publishing

Conflict occurs at multiple levels. Principally, it is a tension created within the mind of an individual when confronted with information and beliefs that appear to be in opposition. Preachers, teachers, writers, media and so on often reinforce dicotomies rather than look for middle ground. These conflicts are, as they have always has been, between […]

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Science and Religion: Some New Historical Perspectives: A Word on Narratives

Having discussed the implications of recent literature that categorizes both “science” and “religion” as nineteenth-century social constructs, the same argument is applied to the scientific revolution by Margaret J. Osler in “Religion and the Changing Historiography of the Scientific Revolution.” The idea that there was a “Scientific Revolution” between 1500 and 1700 and that this […]

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Conflict in History: Science and Religion

Conflict Between Science and Religion With this post I transition from historicizing the “scientific revolution” and into my own particular area of research, namely, on the relationship between science and religion in Victorian Britain. The two are closely related, however. When popular narratives of the “revolutions in science” first emerged, during the late eighteenth and […]

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Geographies of Scientific Knowledge: Site, Region, Circulation (Part 3 – Final)

Livingstone’s chapters on “Site” and “Region” followed recent scholarship, showing how historians have begun addressing the significance of the publication and spatial differentiation of science. In his final chapter on “Circulation,” he looks at the ways science moves from location to location and to how fundamentally local knowledge has taken on the appearance of universality. […]

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Geographies of Scientific Knowledge: Site, Region, Circulation (Part 2)

In his first chapter on “Site,” Livingstone demonstrated that science embraces a huge range of activities carried out in many venues. In heterogeneous spaces, nature is differently experienced, objects are differently regarded, claims to knowledge are adjudicated in different ways. It is only when the practices and procedures that are mobilized to generate knowledge are […]

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Geographies of Scientific Knowledge: Site, Region, Circulation (Part 1)

Steven Shapin has called historians of science to take up the task of providing a more “contextulaized” historiography of the history of science. Since then there has been much progress in putting science in its historical context. In his well-written small book, Putting Science in its Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge (2003), David N. Livingstone sets […]

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Our Pervasive Stories about Science

In an oft quoted sentence, Steven Shapin opens his The Scientific Revolution (1996) with dramatic flourish: “There was no such thing as the Scientific Revolution, and this is a book about it.” He begins his introduction with a brief historical survey, citing the scholarly opinion of generations past. A familiar cast appears. Koyré had judged […]

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The “Scientific Revolution” as a Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-century Humanist Invention

Our discussion thus far has focused on the historiographic category of the scientific revolution as the invention of eighteenth-century thinkers. But some years ago David C. Lindberg had argued, in his “Conceptions of the Scientific Revolution from Bacon to Butterfield: A preliminary sketch,” D. C. Lindberg and R. S. Westman, Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution […]

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