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