History of Science

Edited by Stephen Weldon (University of Oklahoma)
Assistant editor: Zili Dong
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  1. “To Measure by a Known Measure”: Kepler’s Geometrical Epistemology in the Harmonices Mundi Libri V.Domenica Romagni - 2024 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 14 (1):103-133.
    In this article, I address the epistemological role that geometry plays in Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi Libri V and argue that the framework he develops there is meant to address concerns regarding the confirmation of astronomical hypotheses, which are supported by comments in earlier works regarding empirical underdetermination. The geometrical epistemology that he constructs to combat these concerns in the Harmonices Mundi is introduced in Book I and then is extended to his theory of harmonic proportion in Book III, finally providing (...)
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  2. Kant and the Feeling of Life: Beauty and Nature in the Critique of Judgment.Jennifer Mensch (ed.) - 2024 - Albany: Suny Press.
    Kant and the Feeling of Life positions Kant's concept of life as a guiding thread for understanding not only Kant's approach to aesthetics and teleology but the underlying unity of the Critique of Judgment itself. The "feeling of life," which Kant describes as affecting us in various ways--as animating, enlivening, and quickening the mind--lies at the heart of Kant's philosophical project, but it has remained understudied for a theme of such centrality. This volume brings together, for the first time, essays (...)
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  3. The visualization of autism: Filming children at the Maudsley Hospital, London, 1957–8.Janet Harbord - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences.
    This article examines three films made during the 1950s by Elwyn James Anthony at the psychotic clinic for children at the Maudsley Hospital that marked an important transition in the purpose and practice of visual documentation in a clinical setting: film as a research tool was transitioning from the recording of external signs as indicators of internal subjective states, to the capture of the visual flow of communication between subjects. It is a shift that had a particular impact on the (...)
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  4. Film, observation, and the mind.Bonnie Evans & Janet Harbord - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences.
    This special issue considers the significance of film to the establishment and development of scientific approaches to the mind. Bonnie Evans explores how the origins of film technologies in 1895 in France encouraged a series of innovative collaborations, influencing both psychological theorisation, and new filming techniques. Jeremy Blatter explains how Harvard psychologist Hugo Münsterberg created early films specifically designed to engage audiences using psychological tactics. Scott Curtis’ article examines how Yale psychologist Arnold Gesell was able to extract scientific data from (...)
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  5. Controlling the Unobservable: Experimental Strategies and Hypotheses in Discovering the Causal Origin of Brownian Movement.Klodian Coko - 2024 - In Jutta Schickore & William R. Newman (eds.), Elusive Phenomena, Unwieldy Things Historical Perspectives on Experimental Control. Springer. pp. 209-242.
    This chapter focuses on the experimental practices and reasoning strategies employed in nineteenth century investigations on the causal origin of the phenomenon of Brownian movement. It argues that there was an extensive and sophisticated experimental work done on the phenomenon throughout the nineteenth century. Investigators followed as rigorously as possible the methodological standards of their time to make causal claims and advance causal explanations of Brownian movement. Two major methodological strategies were employed. The first was the experimental strategy of varying (...)
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  6. The discovery of synchrony: By means of the projector as a scientific instrument.Seth Barry Watter - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences.
    This article considers the implications for film analysis of the presence or absence of a manual crank. More specifically, it looks at the 16 mm Time and Motion Study Projector as used in behavioral research in the 1960s and 1970s. The controversial concept of ‘interactional synchrony’, or the dance-like coordination of people in conversation, emerged from the use of this hand-turned projector. William S. Condon developed the concept along with the technique of microanalysis. Starting with the projector manufactured by Bell (...)
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  7. Shooting Chicken Embryos: The Making of Ludwig Gräper’s Embryological Films, 1911–1940.Christian Reiß - unknown
    In 1939 and 1940 the Reich Office for Teaching Films (Reichsstelle fur den Unterrichtsfilm [RfdU]), the film organization of the National Socialist German government, published three educational films on the early development of the chicken embryo. They were the result of Ludwig Graper's (1882-1937) experimental investigations of the embryology of birds. In the course of his research, the German embryologist continuously made, used, and reused film material for epistemic and educational purposes. The history of the production of these films is (...)
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  8. : Killer Instinct: The Popular Science of Human Nature in Twentieth-Century America.Rachel E. Walker - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):209-211.
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  9. : Einstein, Eddington, and the Eclipse: Travel Impressions.Tiffany Nichols - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):198-199.
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  10. : Nature’s Diplomats: Science, Internationalism, and Preservation, 1920–1960.Andrea Duffy - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):201-202.
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  11. Technical Chronology and Computus Naturalis in Twelfth-Century Lotharingia: A New Source.C. Philipp E. Nothaft - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):65-83.
    Recent research has shown that the use of astronomy as a chronological problem-solving tool has deep roots in the scholarly practices of the Latin Middle Ages, as is manifest from the writings of Marianus Scotus, Gerland, and other “critical computists” of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This essay enlarges the existing picture by introducing a hitherto unknown epistolary treatise of the mid-twelfth century. Written in Lotharingia in 1144, this poorly preserved work documents an attempt to reconstruct the timeline of world (...)
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  12. Logical Positivism: The History of a “Caricature”.Sander Verhaegh - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):46-64.
    Logical positivism is often characterized as a set of naive doctrines on meaning, method, and metaphysics. In recent decades, however, historians have dismissed this view as a gross misinterpretation. This new scholarship raises a number of questions. When did the standard reading emerge? Why did it become so popular? And how could commentators have been so wrong? This essay reconstructs the history of a “caricature” and rejects the hypothesis that it was developed by ill-informed Anglophone scholars who failed to appreciate (...)
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  13. Placing Insects in Histories of Science.Diogo de Carvalho Cabral & Frederico Freitas - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):136-140.
    This essay considers insects’ place-making powers in history of science topics. Insects have co-shaped the geographies of knowledge production throughout history in three primary dimensions: through their size, density, and multiplane existence. Insects’ miniature worlds have helped humans to create trans-scale analogies. Their spatial transgression and swarming capacity have overwhelmed people, including field researchers, contributing to the making of the places where science is produced. Finally, insects’ “ontologically alien” ways of engaging with environments (e.g., flying and living underground) have offered (...)
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  14. : Crossing the Boundaries of Life: Günter Blobel and the Origins of Molecular Cell Biology.Caterina Schürch - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):204-205.
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  15. : Planning Democracy: Modern India’s Quest for Development.Kena Wani - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):205-206.
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  16. : Brown Skins, White Coats: Race Science in India, 1920–66.Pratik Chakrabarti - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):202-203.
  17. : Dr. Nurse: Science, Politics, and the Transformation of American Nursing.Cynthia Connolly - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):207-208.
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  18. A Collection Ecologies Forum: Reevaluating Insects as Archives.Dominik Huenniger, Karina Lucas Silva-Brandão, Christian Reiß & Xiaoya Zhan - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):157-163.
    Insects reevaluated as archives foreground possible sites of multidisciplinary research, with multifaceted potential for the history of science. With different disciplinary approaches to the study of small animals and the production of collections, the history of science, archaeology, environmental history, and natural history are brought into conversation in this forum on “Collection Ecologies.” This exchange about collections as a web of relationships entailing regimes of value, epistemes of logistics, and bureaucratic and scientific practices explores how multidisciplinary knowledge of “natural” bodies (...)
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  19. : Axiomatics: Mathematical Thought and High Modernism.Amir Alexander - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):195-197.
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  20. : Split and Splice: A Phenomenology of Experimentation.Elizabeth Cavicchi - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):213-214.
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  21. : The Land Beneath the Ice: The Pioneering Years of Radar Exploration in Antarctica.Nanna Katrine Lüders Kaalund - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):211-212.
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  22. : Neuromatic; or, A Particular History of Religion and the Brain.Steve Fuller - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):176-177.
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  23. : Mao’s Bestiary: Medicinal Animals and Modern China.Yan Liu - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):208-209.
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  24. : Listening to British Nature: Wartime, Radio, and Modern Life, 1914–1945.Helen Piel - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):199-201.
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  25. : Stone Breaker: The Poet James Gates Percival and the Beginning of Geology in New England.Lily Santoro - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):183-184.
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  26. : Ladies of Honor and Merit: Gender, Useful Knowledge, and Politics in Enlightened Spain.Darina Martykánová - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):179-180.
  27. : Meat, Mercy, and Morality: Animals and Humanitarianism in Colonial Bengal, 1850–1920.Shira Shmuely - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):193-194.
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  28. : Seduced by Radium: How Industry Transformed Science in the American Marketplace.Maika Nakao - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):197-198.
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  29. : Mathematics, Metrology, and Model Contracts: A Codex from Late Antique Business Education.Serafina Cuomo - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):178-179.
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  30. Fossils and Sovereignty: Science Diplomacy and the Politics of Deep Time in the Sino-American Fossil Dispute of the 1920s.Hsiao-pei Yen - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):1-22.
    In the early twentieth century, with the development of Western scientific imperialism, Asia, South America, and Africa became sites for Western scientific exploration. Many paleontological specimens, including dinosaur bones, were discovered in China by foreign scientists and explorers and exported to museums in France, Sweden, and the United States. After the establishment of the Nationalist Government in Nanjing in 1927, anti-imperialist Chinese intellectuals attempted to prevent foreigners from exporting specimens unearthed on Chinese territory. In the summer of 1928, the fossils (...)
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  31. Humanists Hate Math: Certainty, Dubitability, and Tradition in Descartes’s Rules.Abram Kaplan - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):23-45.
    Descartes’s arguments about the certainty of mathematics in the Rules for the Direction of the Mind cannot be understood independently of his attack on the authority of ancient authors. The author maintains this view by reading Descartes’s claims about mathematics through the lens of status theory, a framework for disputation revived by Renaissance dialecticians. Within status theory, “certainty” was closely associated with consensus. The essay shows how Descartes used status to attack the authority of the ancient authors and elevate mathematics (...)
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  32. Michael Hoskin (1930–2021).Robert W. Smith - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):166-169.
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  33. Experts of Identity: Race, Ethnicity, and Science in India, 1910s–1940s.Sayori Ghoshal - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):84-104.
    During 1910s–1940s, Indian intellectuals developed physical anthropology as a modern nationalist discipline for the subcontinent. Through their contributions, they sought to construct themselves as disciplinary experts. To legitimize their expertise, even while they remained colonized subjects, Indian anthropologists foregrounded their research as more scientific than that of the colonial administrators. This claim of being better equipped to study the subcontinent’s anthropological diversity was based on the Indian anthropologists’ purported familiarity with the region’s culture and history. This essay shows how their (...)
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  34. Zvipukanana: “Tiny Animals with No Bones”.Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):141-146.
    Summoning insights from dzimbahwe cultures of knowing—specifically indigenous ways of seeing, thinking, knowing, and doing as archived in local languages—this essay will first argue that the word “insect” did not exist among the author’s ancestors before the colonial moment and is too light and narrow to account for their sciences and what they did with and through them. Second, it proposes indigenous concepts that more adequately capture meanings of and human actions toward flying, crawling, burrowing, and swimming tiny animals, possible (...)
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  35. : Psychic Investigators: Anthropology, Modern Spiritualism, and Credible Witnessing in the Late Victorian Age.Roger Luckhurst - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):187-188.
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  36. Kristie I. Macrakis (1958–2022).Mario Bianchini - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):164-165.
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  37. Ian Macdougall Hacking (1936–2023).Lorraine Daston - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):170-174.
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  38. : Victorian Alchemy: Science, Magic, and Ancient Egypt.Kathleen Sheppard - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):190-191.
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  39. : The Lab Book: Situated Practices in Media Studies.Sjang ten Hagen - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):212-213.
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  40. : Tycho Brahe and the Measure of the Heavens.Emma Perkins - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):181-182.
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  41. “Ambivalent Insects” as Tools and Targets.Lisa Onaga & Luísa Reis-Castro - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):152-156.
    The binary categories of harm and benefit have often shaped how historians frame discussions of insects. Scientists also leverage the binary framing of insects as tools and targets to carry out their work, especially in the development of biological technologies for pest control. This essay emphasizes how binaries function in scientific practice. Two case studies spanning from the twentieth century to the recent past illustrate the shift away from chemicals in pest management and, in doing so, show the instability of (...)
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  42. : The Incomparable Monsignor: Francesco Bianchini’s World of Science, History, and Court Intrigue.Elena Taddei - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):182-183.
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  43. White Ants: Biotic Borders to Biocultural Frontiers.Jeannie N. Shinozuka & Rohan Deb Roy - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):131-135.
    Establishing biotic borders was part and parcel of empire building. The question of which kinds of biological species were permitted to make their way into North American and West European territories shaped transregional border control in the imperial age. Biotic borders were intensely biocultural in that stereotypes around race and ethnic differences shaped them. Drawing on examples from the history of white ants (also known as termites) in the American and British empires, this essay argues that insects had a sustained (...)
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  44. : A Global Enlightenment: Western Progress and Chinese Science.Emily Baum - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):185-186.
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  45. : Science for Governing Japan’s Population.Sujin Lee - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):194-195.
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  46. Introduction: Expanded Perspectives on Tiny Animals as Epistemic Agents.Lisa Onaga & Dominik Huenniger - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):126-130.
    The essays in this Focus section expand the notion of writing insect histories of science by attending to matters of space and scale, ecological relationships, and institutional silences. They magnify diverse understandings about how the worlds of insects are noticed and understood by humans, what has historically counted as “insect,” and who narrates histories (of science). In doing so, the collection offers methodological suggestions for studying tiny animals in history that broaden the scope of often overlapping material, cultural, linguistic, political, (...)
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  47. Ways of Knowing a Former Insect.Leah Lui-Chivizhe & Jude Philp - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):147-151.
    What are the benefits of liberating museum objects from their colonial frames of reference to reincorporate them into Indigenous ways of knowing? As curators working together with Torres Strait Islanders to interpret museum objects, the authors focus on collected items relating to centipedes acquired during the experimental era of scientific investigation by a zoologist and an ethnographer in eastern Zenadth Kes, the Torres Strait waters between northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. In the scientific sphere, the centipede Scolopendra existed for (...)
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  48. : The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth and Health.Nicole Elizabeth Barnes - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):186-187.
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  49. : Reading the Book of Nature: How Eight Best Sellers Reconnected Christianity and the Sciences on the Eve of the Victorian Age.Elizabeth Yale - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):189-190.
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  50. : Knowing Manchuria: Environments, the Senses, and Natural Knowledge on an Asian Borderland.Yuting Dong - 2024 - Isis 115 (1):175-176.
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