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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Part III students' guide

MPhil student's guide

Part III Manager: Helen Curry
MPhil Managers: Marta Halina and Staffan Müller-Wille

Part III and MPhil Seminars 2020–21

The Department's Part III and HPSM MPhil students must attend these seminars. They are not open to anyone else.

There will be four seminar groups, each of which will be assigned to a specific day; students will be notified of their group at the start of term.

The seminars will meet either in the Whipple Museum main gallery from 10–11am, Monday to Thursday, or on Teams; students will be regularly updated via email and Moodle as to the locations of that week's sessions.

Michaelmas Term

Weeks 1 and 2

12, 13, 21, 22 October
Marta Halina: Genesis and development of a scientific fact

  • Fleck, Ludwik, Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, F. Bradley and T. Trenn, trans (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979 [1935]), prologue and pp. 1–51

14, 15, 19, 20 October
Helen Curry: Histories of extinction

  • Qureshi, Sadiah, 'Dying Americans: Race, Extinction and Conservation in the New World', in A. Swenson and P. Mandler (eds), From Plunder to Preservation: Britain and the Heritage of Empire, c. 1800–1940, Proceedings of the British Academy 187 (2013), 267–286
  • Sepkoski, David, 'Extinction, Diversity and Endangerment', in F. Vidal and N. Dias (eds), Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture (London: Routledge, 2015), pp. 62–86
  • TallBear, Kim, 'Genomic Articulations of Indigeneity', Social Studies of Science 43 (2013), 509–533

Weeks 3 and 4

26, 27 October, 4, 5 November
Tim Lewens and Stephen John: Is, can or should science be 'value-free'?

28, 29 October, 2, 3 November
Nick Hopwood: Icons of knowledge

Weeks 5 and 6

9, 10, 18, 19 November
Simon Schaffer and Josh Nall: Instruments and empires

11, 12, 16, 17 November
Anna Alexandrova: Evidence-based policy and its discontents

Weeks 7 and 8

23, 24 November, 2, 3 December
Salim Al-Gailani: Covid-19 and the history of medicine

  • Harrison, Mark, 'Pandemics', in M. Jackson (ed), The Routledge History of Disease (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 129–46, available on Moodle
  • Greene, Jeremy, and Dora Vargha, 'How Epidemics End', Boston Review (30 June 2020)
  • Jones, David, 'COVID-19, History and Humility', Centaurus 62 (2020), 370–380

25, 26, 30 November, 1 December
Hasok Chang: Realism, relativism and pluralism

  • Chang, Hasok, 'Relativism, Perspectivism and Pluralism', in Martin Kusch (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Relativism (London and New York: Routledge, 2020), pp. 398–406
  • Chang, Hasok, 'Pragmatism, Perspectivism, and the Historicity of Science', in Michela Massimi and Casey D. McCoy (eds), Understanding Perspectivism: Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects (New York and London: Routledge, 2019), pp. 10–27

Lent Term

Weeks 1 and 2

25, 26 January, 3, 4 February
Staffan Müller-Wille: Natural history as a global science

27, 28 January, 1, 2 February
Sam Robinson: Science fact and fiction: histories of socio-technical futures

  • Jasanoff, Sheila, and Sang-Hyun Kim, 'Containing the Atom: Sociotechnical Imaginaries and Nuclear Regulation in the United States and South Korea', Minerva 47 (2009), 119–146
  • Rees, Amanda, and Iwan Rhys Morus, 'Introduction: Presenting Futures Past: Science Fiction and the History of Science', Osiris 34 (2019), 1–15. See whole issue for more: 'Presenting Futures Past'

Weeks 3 and 4

8, 9, 17, 18 February
Jacob Stegenga: The sciences of sexual desire

10, 11, 15, 16 February
Mary Brazelton: Decolonization and the history of science

Weeks 5 and 6

22, 23 February, 3, 4 March
Matt Farr: The direction of time

  • Price, Huw, and Brad Weslake, 'The Time-Asymmetry of Causation', in Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock and Peter Menzies (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Causation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 414–443

24, 25 February, 1, 2 March
Lauren Kassell: Medical records and digital humanities

Weeks 7 and 8

Dissertation information sessions