History of Science

Edited by Stephen Weldon (University of Oklahoma)
Assistant editor: Zili Dong (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. Trotz alledem: Eine Verteidigung der klassischen Unterscheidung von Natur und Technik.Gregor Schiemann - 2022 - Salzburger Jahrbuch für Philosophie 67:131-148.
    Recently, the distinction between nature and technology has been increasingly questioned. We are told that the changes to nature made possible by technology had reached such dimensions that it was no longer possible to clearly differentiate between nature and technology. Against the critical voices, I argue for the possibility and necessity of applying a version of the distinction that I call “classical”. I begin by examining selected historical origins of this distinction and thereby discussing some of its critics debated today (...)
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  2. The Lost Dictata of Henricus Regius.Andrea Strazzoni - forthcoming - In Fabrizio Baldassarri (ed.), Descartes and Medicine. Turnhout: Brepols.
    In this chapter, I discuss the contents of the now lost academic dictata of Henricus Regius, embodying one of the first comprehensive teachings of natural philosophy inspired by René Descartes at a university. These contents are partially extant in Martin Schoock’s Admiranda methodus (1643), and can be reconstructed from Regius’s early texts and correspondence with Descartes. They reveal that Regius was original with respect to Descartes especially in his account of magnetism, which was functional to his medical physiology, and discussion (...)
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  3. Verdicts on Hans Eysenck and the fluxing context of British psychology.David Pilgrim - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences.
    An account is provided of the historical context of the work one of the best-known figures in British psychology in the 20th century, Hans Eysenck. Recently some of this has come under critical scrutiny, especially in relation to claims of data rigging in his model of smoking and morbidity, produced from the 1960s to the 1980s. The article places that controversy, and others associated with Eysenck, in the longer context of the shifting forms of epistemological and political legitimacy within British (...)
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  4. A diagrammatics of race: Samuel George Morton's ‘American Golgotha’ and the contest for the definition of the young field of anthropology.Marianne Sommer - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences.
    Between the last decades of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th century, something of paramount importance happened in the history of anthropology. This was the advent of a physical anthropology that was about the classification of ‘human races’ through comparative measurement. A central tool of the new trade was diagrams. Being inherently about relations in and between objects, diagrams became the means of defining human groups and their relations to each other – the last point being disputed (...)
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  5. Cybernetics in the Republic.Michele Kennerly - 2023 - History of the Human Sciences 36 (1):80-102.
    Plato's Republic lurks in cybernetics, a word popularly attributed to US American mathematician Norbert Wiener (1894–1964). In his accounts of how he came up with it, however, Wiener never mentions Plato, though he does note it was formed from the ancient Greek word kubernētēs (navigator). Among the earliest popular books about the cybernetics craze are three published in France, and their authors show a special interest in the origin of cybernetics. In something like learned rebukes to Wiener, all three books (...)
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  6. Tracing the career arc of Joost A. M. Meerloo: Prominence, fading, and premonitions of menticide.William Douglas Woody - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences.
    This article traces the career arc of Dutch psychoanalyst Joost A. M. Meerloo by examining his biography and his psychology of interrogation and confession. His life story, particularly his experiences during the German occupation of the Netherlands and his escape to England during World War II, shaped his views on these issues, as well as his rise to prominence as an expert on these topics in the United States. His psychoanalytic perspectives on interrogation and confession, including false confession, reflected the (...)
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  7. Maps of desire: Edward Tolman's drive theory of wants.Simon Torracinta - 2023 - History of the Human Sciences 36 (1):3-30.
    Wants and desires are central to ordinary experience and to aesthetic, philosophical, and theological thought. Yet despite a burgeoning interest in the history of emotions research, their history as objects of scientific study has received little attention. This historiographical neglect mirrors a real one, with the retreat of introspection in the positivist human sciences of the early 20th century culminating in the relative marginalization of questions of psychic interiority. This article therefore seeks to explain an apparent paradox: the attempt to (...)
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  8. Tocqueville and the Ostroms.Sarah J. Wilford - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences.
    Although it is commonplace for political scientists to draw upon historical thinkers and the ‘great books’ of the past, the practice of using historical works as reference points for contemporary issues remains under-investigated. To address this practice, this article is positioned at the crossroads of social science and intellectual history. By examining the relationship of political economists Elinor and Vincent Ostrom with Alexis de Tocqueville, the article demonstrates some of the potential risks incurred by social scientists drawing on historical thinkers. (...)
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  9. The sciences of love: Intimate ‘democracy’ and the eugenic development of the Marathi couple in colonial India.Rovel Sequeira - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences.
    This article studies the eugenic theories of Marathi sexological writer and novelist Narayan Sitaram Phadke, and his attempts to domesticate the modern ideal of the adult romantic couple as a yardstick of ‘emotional democracy’ in late colonial India. Locating Phadke's work against the backdrop of the Child Marriage Restraint Act (1929) and its eugenicist concerns, I argue that he conceptualized romantic love as an emotion and a form of sociability central to the state's biopolitical schemes of ensuring modern coupledom but (...)
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  10. Placing the Science of Agriculture in Early Twentieth-Century China.Peter B. Lavelle - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):816-828.
    Histories of science in modern China often explore their subjects within global or national frameworks. This essay uses data from gazetteers to address the place-based nature of Chinese agricultural science as it developed at smaller geographical scales. Information contained in gazetteers suggests that regional environmental knowledge and site-specific social networks influenced the construction and communication of scientific ideas about farming at the local level. By highlighting these dimensions of knowledge making, this essay demonstrates the benefits of using gazetteers to grapple (...)
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  11. : Exploration, Religion and Empire in the Sixteenth-Century Ibero-Atlantic World: A New Perspective on the History of Modern Science.Alison Bigelow - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):867-869.
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  12. : Rethinking Stevin, Stevin Rethinking: Constructions of a Dutch Polymath.Tamara Caulkins - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):870-871.
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  13. : The Anecdotal Narration and Encyclopedic Thought of Pliny the Elder’s “Naturalis Historia.”.Georgia Irby - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):865-866.
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  14. : The Yellow Demon of Fever: Fighting Disease in the Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Slave Trade.Sean Morey Smith - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):889-890.
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  15. : Performing Math: A History of Communication and Anxiety in the American Mathematics Classroom.Devin Kennedy - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):882-883.
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  16. : Irrtümer und Fälschungen der Archäologie: Begleitband zur Sonderausstellung.Felipe Rojas - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):859-861.
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  17. : Health Disparities in the United States: Social Class, Race, Ethnicity, and the Social Determinants of Health.Jamie Marsella - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):863-864.
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  18. : The Fishmeal Revolution: The Industrialization of the Humboldt Current Ecosystem.Jennifer Hubbard - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):895-897.
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  19. Stabilizing Local Knowledge: The Installation of a Meridian Circle at the National Astronomical Observatory of Chile (1908–1913). [REVIEW]Carlos Sanhueza-Cerda - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):710-727.
    This essay examines the problems associated with the installation of a precision instrument at the National Astronomical Observatory of Chile, starting before its construction and following the process through its installation to its later useful life. Between 1908 and 1913, the director of the observatory, Friedrich W. Ristenpart, corresponded with the German manufacturer, A. Repsold & Söhne in Hamburg, trying to identify the critical points pertinent to the installation of the instrument in Chile. These communications reveal how the installation of (...)
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  20. Planetary Health Histories: Toward New Ecologies of Epidemiology?Warwick Anderson & James Dunk - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):767-788.
    This essay charts a conceptual history of “planetary health,” which holds that population health and the continuity of human civilization depend on the integrity—the health—of the Earth’s life-support systems. It seeks to identify settler colonial and imperial genealogies of this distinctly ecological approach to human population health and flourishing, an assemblage of systems theory and planetary thinking as well as developments in environmental sciences and theories of sustainable development. Planetary health may be seen as a “third wave” of disease ecology, (...)
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  21. Daring to Conjecture in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Sciences.Catherine Abou-Nemeh - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):728-746.
    This essay explores seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century programs of natural inquiry where conjecture—an uncertain category of knowledge—played a vital role in the advancement of the sciences. It shows how early modern investigators used conjectures as a bridge between knowledge and ignorance and the process of conjecturing as a way to expand the mental state of inquiry. In publishing their conjectures, they were heeding Francis Bacon’s call to inspire hope and urge fellow experimenters to continue researching complex natural phenomena. Fellow investigators (...)
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  22. : Let There Be Light: Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Electricity in Colonial Bengal, 1880–1945.Arindam Dutta - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):884-885.
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  23. : Giovanni Aurelio Augurello (1441–1524) and Renaissance Alchemy: A Critical Edition of “Chrysopoeia” and Other Alchemical Poems, with an Introduction, English Translation and Commentary[REVIEW]Sarah Lang - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):866-867.
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  24. : The Age of Pandemics, 1817–1920: How They Shaped India and the World.Samiparna Samanta - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):878-879.
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  25. : Trail of Footprints: A History of Indigenous Maps from Viceregal Mexico.James R. Akerman - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):872-873.
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  26. : Beauty or Statistics: Practice and Science in Dutch Livestock Breeding, 1900–2000.Rebecca J. H. Woods - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):887-888.
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  27. : Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette.Rana Hogarth - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):894-895.
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  28. : Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought.Veronika Fuechtner - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):888-889.
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  29. : Anna Zieglerin and the Lion’s Blood: Alchemy and End Times in Reformation Germany.Megan Piorko - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):869-870.
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  30. : On an Empty Stomach: Two Hundred Years of Hunger Relief.Ramah McKay - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):876-877.
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  31. : Heredity under the Microscope: Chromosomes and the Study of the Human Genome.Lisa Gannett - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):900-901.
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  32. Using LoGart to Uncover a New Spatiality of Science in China.Shellen X. Wu - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):805-815.
    LoGart, and especially its image search function Page with Image (PWI), allows for the use of local gazetteers to trace the development of new institutions and spaces for science in China in a geographically more diverse assortment of places than historians of science have hitherto examined. This essay looks at how results obtained by using LoGart help to map out a new spatiality of science in modern China.
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  33. : The Arts of the Microbial World: Fermentation Science in Twentieth-Century Japan.Sarah Tracy - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):892-893.
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  34. : The Colonial Life of Pharmaceuticals: Medicines and Modernity in Vietnam.Ayo Wahlberg - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):875-876.
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  35. : Technology in the Industrial Revolution.Amy Slaton - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):873-875.
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  36. : The Wretched Atom: America’s Global Gamble with Peaceful Nuclear Technology.Audra J. Wolfe - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):897-898.
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  37. : Making a Grade: Victorian Examinations and the Rise of Standardized Testing.Annette Mülberger - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):881-882.
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  38. : Blood Relations: Transfusion and the Making of Human Genetics.Joanna Radin - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):891-892.
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  39. : Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States.Luis A. Campos - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):898-899.
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  40. The Art of Compromise: New Maps in Local Gazetteers of the Late Qing Dynasty.Jiajing Zhang - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):829-840.
    In the late Qing dynasty (1644–1911), local gazetteer maps helped to disseminate the innovations of longitude and latitude used in Western cartography. The use of longitude and latitude lines alongside the traditional Chinese cartographic method of “grid scales” suggests that mapmakers chose an ingenious compromise to accommodate new knowledge alongside traditional practices.
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  41. Closing the Loop: Ewald von Kleist and the Origins of the Leyden Jar.David Evan Pence - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):789-796.
    This essay examines Ewald von Kleist’s 1745 invention of the Leyden jar using previously overlooked letters and features of his experimental apparatus to address lingering mysteries concerning the discovery. It has traditionally been claimed that Kleist unknowingly violated standard practice by grounding the device, the assumption being that this was the only way to obtain his remarkable results. In recent years, however, this interpretation has faced serious challenges, with experimental replications showing substantial shocks without grounding and period sources providing reason (...)
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  42. Introduction: Redrawing the Map of Science in Modern China.Shellen X. Wu - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):797-804.
    This essay provides an overview of the Local Gazetteers Research Tools (LoGaRT) developed by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and examines the ways that LoGaRT could aid in redrawing the map of modern science in China.
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  43. The Circulation of Morphological Knowledge: Understanding “Form” across Disciplines in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries.Marco Tamborini - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):747-766.
    This essay pushes the history of a scientific discipline, morphology, toward a broader philosophically informed and cross-disciplinarily engaged history of knowledge. It shows that by looking at how knowledge and practices circulated between scientific disciplines (such as biology) and technoscientific ones (like architecture and design) we can better understand how (morphological) knowledge was produced. By doing so, the analysis contributes to the study of the mechanisms of knowledge exchange between the organic and the technical worlds and, more broadly, to the (...)
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  44. A Darwinian Murder: The Role of the Barré-Lebiez Affair in the Diffusion of Darwinism in Nineteenth-Century France.Liv Grjebine - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):689-709.
    Most studies on the reception of Darwinism in France focus on the scientific community. This essay investigates the popular press. Widely discussed in French newspapers in 1878, Darwinism was connected with a sensational murder case in which two well-educated young men, Aimé Barré and Paul Lebiez, killed an elderly woman. Before his arrest, Lebiez had given a public lecture on the Darwinian “struggle for life.” Competing factions of the press explicitly linked the case with Darwinism to advance either conservative or (...)
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  45. : Climate Ghosts: Migratory Species in the Anthropocene.Tina Loo - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):879-880.
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  46. Eloge: Frances Coulborn Kohler (1938–2021).Robert E. Kohler, Lynn K. Nyhart & Arnold Thackray - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):841-846.
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  47. Eloge: Noel Swerdlow (1941–2021).Anthony Grafton & Jed Buchwald - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):847-853.
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  48. Eloge: Gabriele Oropallo (1976–2021).Kjetil Fallan - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):854-855.
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  49. : The European Encyclopedia: From 1650 to the Twenty-First Century.Katerina Oikonomopoulou - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):861-863.
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  50. : The Ascent of GIM, the Global Intelligent Machine: A History of Production and Information Machines.Dustin Abnet - 2022 - Isis 113 (4):857-858.
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