This course covers the history of science in the U.S. from the colonial period up to the present. We focus on the unique situation of the sciences within the changing U.S. context, emphasizing debates over the place of science in intellectual, cultural, religious, and political life. As we examine the mutual shaping of national experience and scientific developments, we will also trace the emergence of institutions for the pursuit of scientific knowledge, with special attention to the relationships between science and technology and between science and the state. We will explore a large number of local examples (California geology, Ernest Lawrence, Silicon Valley, and much on UC Berkeley). The course will also examine the origins of anthropology and its historic relationship with scientific racism. Similarly, we will explore the role of scientific and medical discourses about gender and sexuality that helped further disenfranchise women and demonize homosexuals in American culture. We will examine historical explanations for and responses to epidemic disease. The course will pay special attention to how different groups and individuals throughout the course of American history have sought and gained scientific knowledge from sustained observations of environments and how these people contributed to the emergence of ecology as a discipline. Finally, we will study the ways that emerging technologies have reshaped the daily lives of Americans in the form of consumer goods and electricity, and we will examine the manifold relationships between scientific research, warfare, national security, and the emergence of a military industrial complex.
The course is aimed at students of all majors; no scientific knowledge is presupposed. Basic familiarity with U.S. history will be helpful, as the course is as much about U.S. history as about the history of science. Students interested in teaching elementary or secondary school science and math and who plan to take this course as part of the Cal Teach program will be attending a supplemental section (Weds 2-4pm). This section will focus on the techniques, skills, and perspectives necessary to apply the history of science in the juvenile and adolescent science classroom. For more information about Cal Teach, go to http://calteach.berkeley.edu/.
|Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion by Edward J. Larson||Basic Books. ISBN: 978-0465075102||Required|
|The Scientific Enterprise In America: Readings from Isis by Ronald L. Numbers & Charles E. Rosenberg||University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0226608389||Required|
|Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares by Nancy Langston||University of Washington Press. ISBN: 978-0295975504||Required|