As I begin my two-year term as president of the History of Science Society, I have been thinking about how much I owe the Society and what it has meant to me. At a pivotal time in the Society’s history—as it approaches its centennial in 2024—it is worth reminding ourselves why we value it so much.
Darwin’s theory of sexual selection has a long and conflicted history. From its beginnings, it was intertwined with cultural and social beliefs and shaped by professional and institutional power plays and the larger issues of the day. It was drawn from a great complexity of sources, themselves culturally inflected. And Darwin justified it with a mix of culturally laden constructions of sexuality, gender and race.
Of all of the anatomical models in history, I study some of the least precise. They weren’t even precise in their time. That is what makes them interesting. These objects were not just teaching tools, but visual anomalies meant to stir the imagination, and that they did. Unfortunately, that is also why so few people felt the need to document their existence.
On the elevator to the fifteenth floor: Take the world-wide-web of the Enlightenment, Diderot’s and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie. Notice its emphasis on artisans and the mechanical arts. Ask why was writing about science and the mechanical arts so important? Then take the most iconic actors of the Enlightenment—the philosophes, academicians, aristocrats—away from the front-stage, rewind the clock back a hundred years, and put the spotlight on artisans as authors. See what changes.
Innovations in Education: Ringing Doorbells in the History of Science and Teaching the History of Science through In-Class Games?
We are delighted to announce the revival of a column on teaching and pedagogy in the history of science, a topic that is sometimes overlooked in the flurry of doing and sharing our research with one another, especially in our annual meetings.