Time: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 12th

Join us on: Zoom (password: science) or YouTube Live

Speakers: Shireen Hamza and Claire Sabel

Graphics: Corina Loeb

An introductory course in the history of science often follows a path “from Plato to NATO,” leaping from Greek antiquity to modern Europe and the US. Others begin with Isaac Newton in seventeenth century England, locating the origins of science firmly in his time and place. These narratives often only recognize other regions’ contributions to science as a source of goods and laborers enabling the triumph of European science. Our lecture will explore the colonial history behind these dominant stories about the history of science, and the new, more just and inclusive histories being told by historians of science today. Those studying European history have debunked a singular “Scientific Revolution,” while many more are researching the rich sciences created by people all over the world for a few millennia (or more!). In this lecture, we will discuss these new directions in the history of science that challenge us to envision and work towards a more just and inclusive present and future of science. We argue that teaching new histories of science is an ideal place to start. We will conclude our lecture with examples of historians and scientists who are developing new narratives and courses, to change the way students, scientists and the public understand the history of science, and with some consideration of the ways that claims about science’s histories have not only scientific but political consequences in the present. This lecture will not be comprehensive, but will touch on examples that have been salient to the speakers in their scholarly journeys.

One thought on “May 12 – Whose Science? Whose History? Why the History of Science Matters

  1. Neither you, nor your historian counterparts have any right ‘developing new narratives’. What a horrible, devastating thing to hear, that once again, people with an agenda want to recast history so that it tells the story that best suites their cause. The monstrosity; the billions of years of life you will steal, the conversations and thoughts you will co-opt. Ask your friends what effect they think the word ‘Byzantine’ has had on people’s understanding of their own world. Ask your friends what effect Washington Irving has had on people’s lives just from that one lie he told about Columbus proving the earth was round.

    History IS a narrative dude. It’s THE narrative. To the best of your ability tell it like it happened, all of it, and be clear when there’s uncertainty. You have told people a Historian tells the facts and tells the Truth. People have put their trust in the media, in history books, in many things, because they have been told those things tell the Truth. It’s a betrayal of everyone to frame things and manipulate them. It’s a theft of their mind. People who give half-truths, people who overlay the Truth with their narratives, they are the worst of all the slave masters.

    I’m not kidding about any of that. Sorry if you think it was rude, but do you think you’re the first generation to think spinning the past will help the future? Cause you’re not. I wonder how many lives have been wasted, how many decisions and choices have been stolen, how many times over this whole thing might have been fixed if people weren’t basing their solutions on corrupted data.

    You’ll never improv e the world by lying and cheating. You just extend the fight you jerks.

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