Scholarly Trends in Medieval Science

I agreed to give a short presentation this weekend on “The Future of Medieval Studies: Science.” Consequently, I find myself thinking about recent trends in medieval science and where things might be headed. As a bit of diversion, I thought I would look back through the last decade or so of the ISIS Critical Bibliography. Having spent a couple hours with it, I am reminded of just how difficult it is to organize a bibliography into meaningful subjects and areas. I fear the CB, in the interest of consistency, has imposed too many modern categories on medieval topics and too finely divided categories.

In any event, here is how the History of Science Society portrays scholarly trends in medieval science over the last decade (I’ve collapsed the various individual categories into the broader subject headings provided by ISIS):

Scholarly trends in medieval science, according to the ISIS Critical Bibliography
Scholarly trends in medieval science, according to the ISIS Critical Bibliography (Click for larger image).

There is an interesting uptick in scholarship a couple years after ISIS started using the new categories. There is also an interesting spike in 2010 of scholarship in the “exact sciences.” If you are interested, here are the various categories ISIS uses to arrange its bibliography.

Numbers culled from ISIS Critical Bibliography. You can download a pdf here.
Numbers culled from ISIS Critical Bibliography. You can download a pdf here.