Throughout this semester, we will focus on the search for knowledge about the natural world, from antiquity to today. In order to successfully participate in this course, you must first forget everything you think you know about science, how it has developed, and what it means to you today. We will be moving beyond our preconceptions about “science” by looking at questions raised by those who sought to explain the structure of the heavens, the earth, and the body, as well as those who developed technologies to work within and try to control those structures.
The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the history of science, from the ancient world to today. Because it covers such a long period of time—approximately 5000 years—it is necessarily a survey of the important ideas, people, institutions and developments throughout time. We will also analyze the close relationship between science and culture, discussing issues such as ethnicity, socio-economic status, and gender which pervade human society, and therefore science. This course is set up chronologically as well as thematically so that we can more fully understand the intricacies within these complex relationships.
By the end of the semester, you will have a broad knowledge of the timeline of what we call “Science”, and an in-depth knowledge of the agents that brought about changes within their contexts. You will be able to read and analyze primary and secondary sources so to improve your interpretation of the historical data. Finally, you will hone your writing skills to be able to gather and analyze historical data in order to clearly prove your hypothesis through critical thinking and evaluation.
Kathleen Sheppard, 15 June 2021, "History of Science Syllabus - Spring 2019 - Sheppard", contributed by Emily York, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 15 June 2021, accessed 16 October 2021.