HISTORY B421/H509: SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS, 1450-1750 (12358/30787)
M 3:00-5:40 in CA 235
INSTRUCTOR: DR. JASON M. KELLY
OFFICE: CA UL 1140D
OFFICE HOURS: M 1:00-3:00 or by appointment
This course is a history of the scientific revolutions in Europe between 1450 and 1750. It is divided into three modules. In the first module, we will study the intellectual and philosophical underpinnings of early modern science. We will read the writings of natural philosophers such as Aristotle, Bacon, Galileo, and Descartes. In the second module, we will examine how science is a practice deeply embedded in social structures and cultural exchange. We will read philosophies of science and technology and analyze early modern science from the perspective of gender studies and the history of consumer societies. In the final module, we will curate an online exhibition on the practice of early modern science. The theme of the exhibition will be “Making Nature.”
This course will challenge you to develop an understanding of the early modern scientific revolutions through close readings of primary documents and historiographical analyses of secondary sources. Most of our daily meetings consist of discussion and debate rather than lecture. This requires you to approach this course as a cooperative educational project rather than a lecture-driven, note-taking exercise. I will guide your interpretations and conclusions, but you will drive the learning process forward. Therefore, your success in this course relies on your daily preparation and participation. At the end of this course, my goal is that each of you understand the basic chronology of the Scientific Revolution. You will be able to explain early modern science from its intellectual, social, political, and cultural contexts. You will be better able to comprehend, interpret, and analyze historical documents and material culture. And, finally, you will be able to critically interpret the historically constituted, multiple, and shifting meanings of “nature” used by early modern Europeans.