Graduate Courses



5523 – History of Renaissance and Early Modern Science

Prerequisite:  Graduate standing and instructor’s permission

This course explores the increasing use and importance of images in the production of natural knowledge between 1400 and 1700. Some of the issues we will address include the different uses to which images were put, controversies over the value of visual representation, and changing understandings of the relationship between seeing and knowing. We will discuss the production of images in the age of print, the relationships between artists and natural philosophers, and the connections between illustrations in “scientific” texts and earlier traditions of representation, such as religious iconography. We will examine a wide range of images, including representations of the heavens, plants, animals, human anatomy, technical devices and geography, and engage with literature on the history of the book, cultural history of science, art history and visual studies.

Syllabi: SP08

5550 – Professional Writing

Prerequisite:  Graduate standing and instructor’s permission

This seminar, to be team taught by Peter Barker (History of Science) and Ron Schleifer (English), is intended to help advanced students prepare their first professional publication. We will cover topics including the journal publication process, manuscript preparation, submission etiquette, how to revise based on referees' comments and what to do when your manuscript is rejected. However, the main business of the course will be a close critical reading of work by participants, to assist them in getting this work ready to submit for publication. Participants should be prepared to supply a preliminary draft of their intended publication within the first few weeks of the course. Normally students will not be in a position to benefit from this course unless they have completed a master's degree. However, in exceptional cases other students who have appropriate backgrounds may be admitted. Please contact one of the instructors if you are uncertain about your readiness for the course. Enrollment will be limited, so apply early to be sure of a place.

Syllabi: SP07, FA08

5970 - Seminar: Research and Critical Analysis 

Prerequisite:  Graduate standing and instructor’s permission


Questions to be asked in this course are: What is the place of history of science (or the sciences) within the range of the historical disciplines? What is the role of the sciences in world history? And what should historians of science know about other fields?

Syllabi: FA04, FA06, SP07, FA07, SP08, FA08, SP09

5990 - Graduate Survey: Ancient

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and instructor’s permission

Introduce students to history and historiography of “science” between antiquity and the seventeenth century. Provide a basis for more advanced work, including seminars and research, in these areas. Provide students with tools for constructing their own (survey) course in the history of science. Study the interactions/relationship between natural knowledge and religious beliefs and practices; institutional context of natural knowledge (including monasteries, universities, scientific societies, courts and museums); the historiographical problem of the “Scientific Revolution.”

Syllabi: FA06, FA07

5990 – Graduate Survey: Modern

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and instructor’s permission

Graduate introduction to selected topics in the history of modern science. Possible topics include history of biology and the environment, history of technology, history of science and popular culture, history of the social sciences, and history of the relationship between science and religion.

Syllabi: SP08, SP09


HSCI Advanced Courses