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Academia

Between STS and the Sciences

At last weekend’s STS workshop I facilitated a discussion that explored the relations between STS and the sciences. Here are some summary thoughts from that discussion. We began thinking about the relationship between faculty in the different disciplines—STS/History of science and the various sciences—but quickly shifted focus to students. For many of us, the relationship […]

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Academia

History of Science in High School, ca. 1958

In the middle part of the 20th century the American Historical Association engaged in a concerted outreach program. I don’t know if the discipline and the profession were experiencing one of those perennial anxiety attacks, but the association seemed to feel that it needed to bolster the image of history as a profession and the […]

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Academia

Joseph Agassi on the History of Science

The history of science is a most rational and fascinating story; yet the study of the history of science is in a lamentable state: the literature of the field is often pseudo-scholarly and largely unreadable. The faults which have given rise to this situation, I shall argue, stem from the uncritical acceptance, on the part […]

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Academia

How to think about STS at the Liberal Arts College

To prompt debate and structure discussion, the organizers of last weekend’s workshop offered the following provocations about STS and the scholars who work within it. I am both encouraged by some of these topics and daunted by some. If you have any thoughts or comments, I encourage you to address them in a post, and […]

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Museums

Observatories at Vassar College

While at Vassar College this past weekend for the workshop on “STS in the Liberal Arts Curriculum,” I couldn’t resist having a look at the college’s two observatories.1 The original observatory, the Maria Mitchell Observatory. Completed in 1865, this was the first building to be completed at Vassar. It is named after the famous 19th-century […]

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Academia

The Future of Medieval Science?

In my continuing survey of the history of medieval science, I turned to the recent and incredibly expensive Handbook of Medieval Studies, edited by A. Classen. Relying on just the Handbook of Medieval Studies, you would think that current scholarship pays little attention to medieval science. Only a handful of topics rank among the “Main […]

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Academia

Yet More on Scholarship in Medieval Science

The ISIS Critical Bibliography should, perhaps, be supplemented with a look at recent dissertations. While the ISIS Critical Bibliography includes some, I turned to ProQuest for what I assume will be a more complete picture (and crosschecked ProQuest against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Humanities Dissertations, which would really benefit from a search function). Over […]

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Academia

More on Scholarship in Medieval Science

Here are a few additional bits culled from the ISIS Critical Bibliography. Over the last decade, scholarship on medieval science has remained fairly level with respect to scholarship in other periods. The ISIS Critical Bibliography arranges scholarship into: Prehistory & Early Human Society Ancient Near Eastern Ancient Greek & Roman Medieval Western European Renaissance Western […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Pseudo-science, Pseudo-academia, and Snake Oil

A roundup of articles related by the pejorative “pseudo:” Last month Mark Thomas attacked genetic ancestry companies, claiming that “there is usually little scientific substance to most of them and they are better thought of as genetic astrology.” Martin Richards and Vincent Macaulay responded by defending genetic ancestry science: It is unfair to compare genetic […]

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Academia

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. […]