Constructing Revolution in the History of Science and Technology

History 101.017

Spring 2012
Instructor (text): 
Day & Time: 
TuTh 1230-2P

In discussing science and technology we often use the term ";revolutionary"; to express the impact of a certain invention, epoch, research result, or theory. Scholars, however, disagree on what constitutes revolution in the history of science and technology. Which theories yield radical discontinuity with previous scientific thought? What technological developments fundamentally change society? Is revolutionary change inherent to certain scientific and technological developments, or can ";revolution"; be constructed by the historian? This seminar will invite students to engage historically with questions of revolution, and to conduct research on topics related to historical change in science and technology. Students should consult with the instructor during the Fall semester in order to arrive at an appropriate topic and produce preliminary materials. Students should bring to the first class meeting a two-hundred word description of their proposed thesis and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Class meetings at the start of the semester will explore different models of research and writing. Throughout the latter portion of the semester, students will workshop their writing and engage in discussion regarding the construction of a thesis, the qualities of effective research questions, organizational structure, and issues of sourcing.