History of Science in the U.S

History 138

Fall 2015
Day & Time: 
MW 4-530P

The course covers the history of science in the U.S. from the colonial period up to the present. We will be focusing 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 lots on UC Berkeley). 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.

Course Books

The Scopes Trial: A Brief History with Documents by Moran, Jeffrey P. Bedford/St. Martin’s. ISBN: 978-0312249199 Required
American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm 1870-1970 (2nd Edition) by Hughes, Thomas P. Penguin. ISBN: B008VQVM66 Required
The Scientific Enterprise in America by Numbers, Ronald L. and Charles E. Rosenberg University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0226608389 Optional