Teaching beyond the Canon in the History of Science


Courtney E. Thompson

Mississippi State University


Matthew Lavine

Mississippi State University


Session Abstract

Collections of primary sources in the history of science tend to focus on the published works of ""great men,"" and courses similarly emphasize a familiar Eurocentric canon. This roundtable will offer strategies for decolonizing the syllabus and incorporating non-traditional sources, moving history of science pedagogy away from a focus on ""great men"" and white, male, Western perspectives and towards a broader, more inclusive, and more creative approach to sources and case studies.
Sarah Walsh will discuss using Latin American sources to teach the history of the human sciences. Honghong Tinn will address using East Asian cases and sources to teach both ethics in science and technology and the history of computing. Wayne Soon will reframe final projects as pedagogical opportunities to challenge orientalism, teleology, and groupthink on the non-western body, science, and medicine. Tamara Caulkins will discuss co-teaching with female science faculty, offering suggestions for alternative readings and non-textual sources. Kathleen Crowther will present methods for teaching the Scientific Revolution using manuscript recipe books written by early modern English women. Blair Stein will discuss teaching beyond the canon to STEM students at a school focused on engineering and technology. Courtney Thompson will discuss teaching history of science surveys thematically instead of chronologically. Antoine Leveque will address the development of racist perspectives and racial equality in science and the history of science. The scholars presenting on this roundtable will thus offer suggestions for reorganizing history of science courses, reconsidering standard assignments and readings, and reframing the discipline.

Presenter 1

Tamara Caulkins

Douglas Honors College, Central Washington University

Presenter 2

Kathleen Crowther

University of Oklahoma

Presenter 3

Antoine R. Leveque

Paris 7, France

Presenter 4

Wayne Soon

Vassar College

Presenter 5

Blair Stein

Clarkson University

Presenter 6

Courtney E. Thompson

Mississippi State University

Presenter 7

Honghong Tinn

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Presenter 8

Sarah Walsh

Washington State University