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Part III and MPhil

Part III students' guide

MPhil student's guide

Part III Manager: Riana Betzler
MPhil Managers: Salim Al-Gailani and Agnes Bolinska

Part III and MPhil Lectures 2019–20

The Department's Part III and HPSM MPhil students must attend these lectures, which are held on Wednesdays at 3pm. They are not open to anyone else.

The purpose of the lectures is to introduce research topics, methods and approaches adopted by the Department's teaching officers. Normally the lecture will last for 45 minutes with another 45 minutes left for questions and answers, although the precise format may depend on the session. Following (or in some cases preceding) each session the lecturer will canvass interest and announce the schedule for a small group seminar that explores the topics of the corresponding lecture in more depth. All MPhil and Part III students should attend each lecture, but they can choose which subsequent seminars to follow. Each student must follow at least one seminar in Michaelmas and one in Lent.

Lectures and seminars are held in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science unless otherwise indicated.

Michaelmas Term

Week 1 (16 October)
Tim Lewens and Stephen John: Is, can or should science be 'value-free'?

Week 2 (23 October)
Nick Hopwood: Icons of knowledge

Week 3 (30 October)
Josh Nall and Dániel Margócsy: What is a scientific instrument?

  • Werrett, Simon, 'Recycling in Early Modern Science', British Journal for the History of Science 46 (2013), 627–646
  • Raj, Kapil, Relocating Modern Science: Circulation and the Construction of Knowledge in South Asia and Europe, 1650–1900 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), chapter 6 ('When Human Travellers become Instruments: The Indo-British Exploration of Central Asia in the Nineteenth Century', pp. 181–222)

Note special location: Whipple Museum

Week 4 (6 November)
Lauren Kassell: Medical records and digital humanities

Week 5 (13 November)
Agnes Bolinska: Scientific representation

Week 6 (20 November)
Mary Brazelton: Global health histories

  • Petryna, Adriana, Life Exposed (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), introduction and chapters 5–6

Week 7 (27 November)
Anna Alexandrova: The relation between history of science and philosophy of science

  • Chang, Hasok, 'Beyond Case-Studies: History as Philosophy', in Seymour Mauskopf and Tad Schmaltz (eds), Integrating History and Philosophy of Science (Dordrecht: Springer, 2011), pp. 109–124

Week 8 (4 December)
Jacob Stegenga: The sciences of sexual desire

Lent Term

Week 1 (22 January)
Simon Schaffer: Decolonising colonial sciences

  • Dening, Greg, Performances (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), pp. 103–206 ('Presenting the Past')
  • Deb Roy, Rohan, 'Decolonise Science: Time to End Another Imperial Era', The Conversation (April 2018)
  • McClintock, Anne, Imperial Leather (New York: Routledge, 1995), chapter 5 ('Soft-Soaping Empire')
  • Mitchell, Timothy, Rule of Experts (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), chapter 1 ('Can the Mosquito Speak?')

Week 2 (29 January)
Riana Betzler: Classifying people

  • Hacking, Ian, 'The Looping Effects of Human Kinds', in Dan Sperber, David Premack and Anne James Premack (eds), Causal Cognition: A Multi-Disciplinary Debate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), pp. 351–383

Week 3 (5 February)
Staffan Müller-Wille: Natural history as a global science

Week 4 (12 February)
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

Week 5 (19 February)
Richard Staley: Making climate history

Week 6 (26 February)
Jim Secord: Knowledge in transit

Week 7 (4 March) and Week 8 (11 March)
Dissertation information sessions

The MPhil and Part III dissertation is a substantial piece of work that must represent a contribution to learning and show evidence of independent research. Two consecutive sessions, one for history (with Mary Brazelton on 4 March) and one for philosophy (with Anna Alexandrova on 11 March), offer general advice on how to organize your research and writing over the coming weeks. Seminar leaders will provide subject specific guidance about the different disciplinary styles you might use, and ask what makes a successful dissertation.

Easter Term

Weeks 1–4 (29 April, 6 May, 13 May and 20 May)
Dissertation seminars

During the first four weeks of Easter Term we will hold Dissertation Seminars in which you each will give short presentations on your dissertation research to your fellow masters students. A schedule of these seminars, which consist of themed panels based on your submitted dissertation topics, will be circulated towards the end of Lent Term.