Undergraduate Course: History of Science 1 (STIS08005)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Introductory survey of science in world history from ancient times to the present, focusing on the natural, social, and engineering sciences (in their broader intellectual, institutional, and technical contexts) in the modern West (in its broader geopolitical, social, and economic contexts). The course discusses the changing meanings and conditions of scientific knowledge, showing how such knowledge has depended upon and reshaped its historical contexts. The course is appropriately combined with History of Western Medicine.
The course surveys science in world history from ancient times to the present, focusing on the natural, social, and engineering sciences in the modern West (including the pivotal history of science in Edinburgh) and their respective wider contexts while also interrogating the historical association between science and western modernity. We shall develop an approach to understanding scientific knowledge and authority as embedded in historically specific social, cultural, economic, and political settings. Asking what makes something scientific and how the historical sciences have interacted with their changing environs, we shall examine broad transformations in the ideas, institutions, status, apparatus, applications, and consequences of science, broadly construed to include aspects of engineering, mathematics, health, philosophy, theology, and other related subjects. These questions will be closely linked to the changing faces of science's practitioners, targets, and constituents, which we shall examine in terms of gender, class, race, religion, and cultural identity.
The course has an open-ended design that supports a wide variety of student backgrounds and learning goals, whether you are looking to broaden your horizons, explore unfamiliar subjects, dig deeply into topics of special interest, or develop new skills in historical and social interpretation. Students have recently come from more than a hundred degree programmes and nearly every area of the university.
SEMESTER 2, 2021 DELIVERY INFORMATION: the course uses a combination of live and recorded sessions and independent learning activities. A typical week will include short recorded presentations from the course organiser and guest lecturers; one or more live/interactive online presentation/discussion sessions during a portion of the Tuesday or Thursday evening scheduled times (also available afterward as recordings); a live online discussion with your tutor and tutorial group; and open-ended reading, writing, and other guided activities you do on your own to explore and develop your understanding of the history of science. Please see the course Learn site for further details.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| Available to all first and second year students
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 40,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assessed by a portfolio submission including a variety of assignments engaging with and integrating course materials and themes, as well as a self-evaluation. Assessments will demonstrate student understanding of major themes and perspectives from the course as well as meaningful engagement with lectures and course readings. Submissions will be based on formative activities designed to support students' exploration of course themes and methods according to their goals and interests during the semester.
Students who registered based on the 2019-2020 assessment model (portfolio of 6 x 300 word responses to questions based on weekly lectures and readings and a final essay of 1600 words integrating themes across the course) may submit this set of coursework for assessment or pursue other options within the new assessment model. Further information will be provided at the beginning of the course.
||There will be regular opportunities for formative feedback on coursework during the term. The course organiser will be available for further discussion and feedback during the course.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Explain major developments in the ideas, institutions, and products of science in world history
- Apply contextual and comparative perspectives to scientific knowledge and practices from disparate times and places
- Discuss how scientific knowledge and practices relate to their wider political, economic, social, and cultural contexts
- Critically evaluate the use of historical evidence in historical argument
|The course reading list is regularly updated to include new resources and is available from the university resource list site.|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Enquiry and lifelong learning; Outlook and engagement; Research and enquiry; Personal and intellectual autonomy.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||SEMESTER 2, 2021 DELIVERY INFORMATION: the course uses a combination of live and recorded sessions and independent learning activities. A typical week will include short recorded presentations from the course organiser and guest lecturers; one or more live/interactive online presentation/discussion sessions during a portion of the Tuesday or Thursday evening scheduled times (also available afterward as recordings); a live online discussion with your tutor and tutorial group; and open-ended reading, writing, and other guided activities you do on your own to explore and develop your understanding of the history of science. Please see the course Learn site for further details.
|Course organiser||Dr Michael Barany
Tel: (0131 6)50 9096
|Course secretary||Mr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001