HIS20780 History of Science

Academic Year 2023/2024

Global history of science and environment

This course explores science and environments from European invasions of Asia, Africa, and the Americas in the sixteenth century to their legacy in a climate-changed world. The aim of the course is to understand how knowledge is produced through complex and often unequal collaborations of diverse actors. It begins with a critical introduction to key episodes and methods in the history of science, including global, Indigenous, and feminist standpoints. We then venture through thematic weeks—e.g., Islands, Mountains, Arid Lands, Underlands, and Atmospheres—to bring global histories of science and environment into a comparative framework. Weekly sessions will combine lectures with discussion, covering such topics as the history of earth, physical, and environmental sciences, Indigenous knowledges, the commodification of nature, global capitalism, and landscape transformation. This module also practices history for the future, asking how historical perspectives can inform contemporary conversations about environmental justice and the value of scientific knowledge.

Indicative Themes:
1. Methods 1. Historicizing the sciences

2. Methods 2. States of nature

3. Methods 3. Global science, global pillage

4. Forests: measuring early modern environmental change

5. Islands: science and the slave plantation economy

6. Mountains: mapping high imperial spaces

7. Ice: arctic encounters and glaciology

8. Waterscapes: colonial hydraulics and indigenous resistance

9. Arid Lands: land use and environmental engineering

10. Underlands: extractivism and subaltern geology

11. Atmospheres: climate science, fossil fuels, and the Anthropocene

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

(1) Show a good understanding of the relationship between science and society in Europe and the World.

(2) Examine key developments and actors in the global history of science to the standard of a level 2 module.

(3) Engage, analyze, and discuss a range of primary and secondary sources.

(4) Produce a scholarly essay to the standard of a level 2 module.


Indicative Module Content:

Indicative Themes:
1. Methods 1. Historicizing the sciences

2. Methods 2. States of nature

3. Methods 3. Global science, global pillage

4. Forests: measuring early modern environmental change

5. Islands: science and the slave plantation economy

6. Mountains: mapping high imperial spaces

7. Ice: arctic encounters and glaciology

8. Waterscapes: colonial hydraulics and indigenous resistance

9. Arid Lands: land use and environmental engineering

10. Underlands: extractivism and subaltern geology

11. Atmospheres: climate science, fossil fuels, and the Anthropocene

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities

45

Autonomous Student Learning

45

Lectures

11

Seminar (or Webinar)

11

Total

112

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students will learn through a combination of lectures, group discussions, and the completion of dedicated research essays.
 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Mid-term assignment 1,000 words Week 7 n/a Graded No

30

Assignment: 2,000 word essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No

50

Continuous Assessment: Class participation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No

20


Carry forward of passed components
No
 
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback individually to students, post-assessment: Feedback on the mid-term assessment will be provided in writing. Oral feedback will be provided on an ongoing basis on plans and reading lists for the end of semester research project. Students have opportunity to book a one-to-one discussion with the module coordinator to discuss their research for this project. Written feedback on the end of semester assessment will be provided via Brightspace.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
 
Autumn
     
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Tues 16:00 - 17:50
Autumn
     
Spring
     
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 16:00 - 17:50
Spring