Call for Chapters: Springer book on the historiography of science

 A new book in the Springer Series on the Historiographies of Science seeks proposals for chapters.

Title: Handbook of the Historiography of Science

Guest Editors: Mauro L. Condé (Federal University of Minas Gerais), Marlon Salomon (Federal University of Goiás) 

Springer Book Series:  


The Historiography of Science


Throughout the twentieth century, philosophers, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, journalists, and scientists themselves have produced histories of science with varied forms of analysis. This historiography gives us a “transversal” view of scientific knowledge, analyzing both the epistemological conditions intrinsic to the production of science as well as its social, cultural, and political impacts. In short, with this rich historiography, we gained a much more diversified and complex idea of scientific activity.


These historiographic analyses built on the idea that science has a “historicity”. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a positivist vision prevailed, which sought to conceive a history of science that described the “objectivity” of scientific knowledge in a mere chronological succession. Throughout the same century, scholars also championed the idea that science is a social product made by women and men in well-defined contexts. These contexts contribute to the final result of what is produced by science. Today, a history of science understood primarily as description or mere representation is considered anachronistic, banished from the horizon of the science of history. We overcame a “positivist epistemology” to constructing different historiographic perspectives on the writing of the history of science as, for example, a “historical epistemology” or the analyses of the “negotiations” in science as highlighted by the sociology of scientific knowledge.  


By establishing historicity within the history of science, the historiography of science produces understanding that lies between the history of science and the philosophy of science – with sociological and anthropological ramifications –, since the historiography of science is never a simple snapshot of the different ways science has been written by historians, but always presupposes an epistemological conception behind its models, goals, limits, possibilities, etc., in addition to an intricate range of social and cultural impacts, as well as economic ones. The historiography of science can undertake the important task of establishing the analysis and registration of the different narratives of the history of science but also, in a philosophical perspective, of questioning the parameters, scope and possibilities of different historiographic models constructed by those historical narratives of science. Thus, the historiography of science is somewhat like a delta in which the waters of science, history and philosophy flow through together – and, albeit contemplated to a lesser extent in this tradition, those of the disciplines of sociology and anthropology. In short, the historiography of science brings together bodies of knowledge that are quite distinct and that have equally distinct trajectories, but they interweave and imbricate to the point that their waters become almost indistinguishable from one another.


Moreover, the historiography of science is also nourished by the contributions of many other scientific disciplines such as physics, medicine, biology, etc. As consequence, we can find in different fields of knowledge authors such as Koyré (Philosophy), Kuhn (Physics), Fleck (Medicine), Merton (Sociology), Butterfield (History), for example, who took sciences as an object of study from the point of view of their fields – scientific, historical, philosophical, sociological, etc. – but brought original contributions to the historiography of science.


Although it is a sub-discipline of History, effectively, the historiography of the sciences is an essentially transdisciplinary field. So, we construe this subject broadly to include analysis produced by the history of science, philosophy of science and related disciplines. By focusing its analysis on the different historical, social and epistemological implications of science, the historiography of science is a transversal knowledge concerning the production of science.


Indeed, the expression “historiography of science” relates to evidence that we should address historically and critically, that is, the evidence that the writing of the history of science has in itself a history. One can see this historicity of the writing of the history of science from Condorcet and Fontenelle to current social studies of sciences; from Auguste Comte to Thomas Kuhn; from Paul Tannery to I. Bernard Cohen; from Pierre Duhem, Georges Sarton and Aldo Mieli to the historical French epistemology of Gaston Bachelard, Georges Canguilhem and Alexandre Koyré; from Léon Brunschvicg and Émile Meyerson to the strong program of the School of Edinburgh; from Ludwik Fleck to Michel Serres; from Edgar Zilsel and Marshall Clagett to Paolo Rossi and Joseph Agassi; from Richard Westfall to Pietro Redondi; from A. Rupert Hall to Steven Shapin; from Hélène Metzger-Bruhl to Alistair Crombie; from Marie Boas Hall to Simon Schaffer; from Michel Foucault to François Delaporte; and within all of these individual and collective trajectories and paths is the historicity of an area of reflection on science which is drawn and founded on the field of history. As we can see, from the time of the birth of historiography, many authors formulated theoretical-methodological proposals of how to write the history of science.


Thus, reconstituting the history of the historiography of science implies, from the outset, recognizing the plurality and diversity of its critical trajectories. Since at least the 19th century, and still more forcefully from the 20th century, critical reflection on the sciences has expanded and diversified. In this sense, the historiography of the sciences has accompanied at least two trends from the time of its birth: on the one hand, the diversification of science itself into increasingly specialized domains. On the other, the diversification of interpretative perspectives was proper for the emergence of the human sciences. In its work of understanding these tendencies, the historiography of the sciences presented methodologies of study, forms of approach and markedly different theoretical systematization efforts.


The aim of the Handbook of the Historiography of Science is to reflect this diversity and to think of it in its constituent plurality. In promoting the critical study of the reconstitution of this diversity, the handbook of the historiography of science (considered in this broad aspect) seeks to reconstitute these different trajectories in their plurality, comprising of their cross-references and transversals, their divergences, their points of support, their continuities and discontinuities, their innovations and impasses, their promoters, their institutions and their social inscriptions, their successes, but also their failures.


What are we looking for in the Handbook of the Historiography of Science?


First of all, we do not expect these chapters as literature reviews, but as historiographic essays. We would like to match topic areas to scholars with established expertise in that area. The Handbook of the Historiography of Science will be written for graduate students and other scholars new to the history of science, it is not intended to provide a comprehensive review of every topic discussed in the history of science. We seek to understand to what extent some of the most influential historiographical approaches – followed by hundreds of historians of science – have brought new elements to think historically and philosophically about the scientific activity.


This volume of the Handbook of the Historiography of Science is aimed at producing a general overview of the historiography of science. We search for chapters on major historiographic trends and developments in the history of science writ large. The expectation is that we will receive essays approaching different perspectives, epistemological problems, social approaches, methods, theories, key authors of the historiography of science. In other words, we ask contributions analyzing these general issues of the different traditions of the historiography of science in terms of historical and epistemological problems as well as analysis of the works of the influential authors to the field, i.e., authors that became a historiographic model for the history of science as a whole: Kuhn, Fleck, Canguilhem, Koyré, Shapin, Daston, etc. This volume will be framed in terms of what a scholar should know about the history of the historiography of science but making a meaningful and original contribution to that field. To sum up, the chapters must have focused on the critical reconstruction of the history of historiography and analyze the great diversity of key authors, issues, and traditions of the historiography of science. So, the Handbook of the Historiography of Science is intended to foster a conversation about the historiographic traditions that have informed the history of science.


Lastly, it is important to remark that the historiography of specific disciplines (Historiography of Biology, Historiography of Physics, etc.)  will be addressed to the other volumes of this series. The first edited volume of the series is the Handbook of the Historiography of Biology (Editors: Dietrich, Michael, Borrello, Mark E, Harman, Oren).


Below you can find suggestions of general themes and subjects, this does not exclude other possibilities that are not listed here (please contact us if you have any questions or suggestions!).   


·         Historiography of science and epistemology

·         History of science as intellectual history

·         History of sciences as cultural history

·         History of science as the history of ideas

·         History of sciences as the history of practices

·         Social history of science

·         Sociological and anthropological approaches

·         Key authors for the writing of the history of science

·         Historiography of the scientific controversies

·         Interconnexion between sciences and technologies

·         Internalism versus externalism

·         Positivism and history of science

·         Post-colonial and decolonial historiography of science

·         Gender and race in the historiography of science

·         Translation and reception of historiographical traditions of science

·         Schools, programs

·         The historiography of the scientific revolution

·         The institutionalization and professionalization of the history of science: Journals, Congresses, Institutions and Chairs,

·         The relations between history and history of sciences

Language: English         


Chapter length: The contributions should be no more than 10,000 words, including references and notes.



·         Abstract–proposal for peer-reviewed submission: 2021, July 30th

[Title, Name, Affiliation, E-mail, Keywords, abstract; all within two (2) pages].

Please send to Mauro L. Condé Mauro L. Condé and Marlon Salomon 

·         Selection of chapter proposals: 2021, September 30th

·         Full (edited) paper submission: 2022, August 30th  

·         Peer-review evaluation processes: 2022, September – 2023, March  

·         Publication: expected 2023