Postgraduate Course: The Scientific Revolution in Global Perspective (PGHC11444)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||Modern Western science has a number of characteristics that distinguish it from other scientific cultures. It ascribes its tremendous success to sophisticated experiments and meticulous observation. These unique achievements, so the current narrative goes, were the product of the 'Scientific Revolution' of the 17th century. In this course we will examine this premise and consider its supporters and detractors before turning to the way western science was exported to other countries, with particular reference to China and South America. This comparative perspective will allow us to assess and evaluate a number of historiographical issues that have engaged historians of science in recent years.
In the 1940s the influential Cambridge historian Herbert Butterfield argued that the Scientific Revolution "outshines everything since the rise of Christianity and reduces the Renaissance and Reformation to the rank of mere episodes, mere internal displacements within the system of medieval Christendom." A number of historians since have vigorously challenged this grand narrative, while a minority of historians have enthusiastically revived it in recent years. This course will review the main aspects of this historiographical debate before analyzing key aspects of the Scientific Revolution in Europe. The course will first assess and discuss recent historiographical works on methods and aims of Europe's main scientific academies. It will then move to consider: 1) the contribution of artisanal knowledge to the rise of a scientific method; 2) the methods, aims, and limits of European's naturalists, as well as 3) the significance of commercial networks in the development of modern western science. These three aspects reflect recent developments in the historiography of the scientific revolution and will expose the students to some of the most innovative and intriguing contributions to the study of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century science. The course will conclude with two case studies that will allow students to examine the complex dynamic of cultural and scientific transfer in two very distinct contexts: early modern China, and early modern South America. A library visit to the University Library's Special Collections will complement and enhance classroom discussion by exposing students to the vast array of early modern primary sources that are available in Edinburgh.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||1 book review (1,000 words) (20%)
1 research essay (4,000 words) (80%)
||Feedback will be provided in the form of brief responses to students' posts throughout the semester, as well as in the traditional manner, i.e. via the essay feedback form they will receive upon submitting their essay. Students whose class participation is unsatisfactory will be promptly informed. If students want to know how your class participation is going and get a projection of their mark they can come and discuss this with the CO during office hours.
Adjustments will be made for students with specific needs/disabilities on a case by case basis.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate, by way of coursework or oral contribution, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course
- Demonstrate, by way of coursework or oral contribution as required, an ability to read, analyse, and reflect critically upon relevant primary sources and related scholarship
- Demonstrate, by way of coursework or oral contribution as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments by formulating appropriate questions and using the relevant supporting evidence
- Demonstrate the ability to address historical problems in depth by understanding the varieties of approaches to constructing and interpreting the past
- Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; effective use of electronic and online resource and of computer programmes like PowerPoint; originality and creativity; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to complete the relevant assignments within a strict time limit
|BURNS, W. 2015. The Scientific Revolution in Global Perspective (Cambridge).|
CANIZARES-ESGUERRA, J. 2006. Nature, Empire, and Nation: Explorations of the History of Science in the Iberian World (Stanford).
COHEN, H. F. 1994. The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry (Chicago).
DASTON, L., and K. Park. 2001. Wonders and the Order of Nature (New York). -- eds. 2006. The Cambridge History of Science, vol.3 Early Modern Cambridge).
DEAR, P.1995. Discipline and Experience. The Mathematical Way in the Scientific Revolution (Chicago). -- 2009. Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and Its Ambitions, 1500-1700 (Basingstoke).
FEINGOLD, M. ed. 2003a. The New Science and Jesuit Science. Seventeenth-Century Perspectives (Dordrecht-Boston-London). --ed. 2003b. Jesuit Science and the Republic of Letters (Cambridge, Mass.-London).
HENRY, J. 2008. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science. 3rd edition. (Basingstoke).
HUFF, T. E. 2003. The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West (Cambridge)
--2010. Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution. A Global Perspective (Cambridge).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||By taking this course students will be able to:
- Process and critically assess information derived from historical research, utilising historiographical, theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills specific to the subject area of the student's research.
- Provide clear written and oral analyses based on historical information.
- Utilize central theoretical and cultural concepts.
- Identify historical continuities and contrasts.
- Construct and pursue a coherent historical argument based on the hypotheses which have been formulated and tested by reference to primary and secondary source material.
- Understand the role of causality in historical evolution.
- Locate an argument - whether verbal or written - within a broader intellectual context and evaluate its implications from that more general perspective.
- Formulate and implement a plan of research.
- Conceive and pursue to its conclusion a coherent argument founded on evidence provided by the sources at the student's disposal.
- Write clear, accurate, precise and concise prose.
- Analyse, assimilate and deploy critically a range of secondary literature relevant and essential to the student's individual research subject.
- Identify and deploy critically relevant primary historical sources.
- Locate a specific thesis within its broader historiography.
- Formulate hypotheses relating to the student's research subject and to test them by marshalling a range of primary and secondary evidence.
- Reflect critically on the processes and methods which the student utilises in both their research and their writing.
- Reflect critically on the role of the individual in achieving their own personal and intellectual ambitions and goals.
- Assimilate, process and communicate a wide range of information from a variety of sources.
- Undertake written and verbal textual analysis incorporating historical evidence.
- Formulate and implement a plan of verbal communication through tutorial participation.
- Undertake a sustained independent research project, and complete it within a strict time limit to the highest textual standards.
- Write clear, accurate, precise and concise prose in different formats.
- Understand different audiences for historical research.
- Use digital technology in the practice of historical research and writing.
- Use online digital technology in the representation of historical sources, with the ethical and intellectual challenges that such technology represents.
- Master practical skills in navigating and using book and journal based library resources.
- Master practical skills in accessing and handling original and archive historical sources, including material and visual sources.
- Master practical skills in making effective contributions to group based learning.
|Course organiser||Dr Richard Oosterhoff
Tel: (0131 6)50 9110
|Course secretary||Mrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948