CfA: Special Issue “(New) Histories of Science, in and beyond Modern Europe”

 Journal: Histories

Special Issue Title: (New) Histories of Science, in and beyond Modern Europe

Special Issue Editors: Volker Remmert, Dania Achermann, Cécile Stephanie Stehrenberger, Fabian Link

Deadline for abstracts of possible contributions: 30 April 2021

Deadline for final contributions: 28 February 2022


Over the past few decades, a wide array of research has been categorized as “history of science”, rendering it an extremely dynamic and diversified field. Scholars have explored a wide range of topics beyond the classical fields of the histories of the natural sciences and mathematics, including the human and social sciences as well as the humanities. They have developed and applied various methods and theoretical approaches that have emerged from a great variety of institutional settings and disciplinary contexts across the globe. In what follows, we refer to this gamut of historical approaches as histories of science. Histories of science have become a global interest and are also largely characterized by inter- and multidisciplinary practices.


The goal of this Special Issue is not to provide an all-encompassing overview of the research areas of histories of science; it rather aims to present them by assembling contributions on a broad spectrum of current research topics and (new) approaches that highlight their ramifications and illustrate their ties to neighboring disciplines and (interdisciplinary) areas of research, both historical studies and approaches from other disciplines and research areas—e.g., philosophy of science, science and technology studies, history of knowledge, economic history, gender studies, or intellectual history. Moreover, the contributions shall exemplify how histories of science can be written in ways that not only move across but also challenge temporal and spatial categories and categorizations, including hegemonic understandings of “modernity”, Eurocentric views of the development of science and the humanities, or certain notions of center-periphery. They shall deal with histories of specific disciplines, specific research objects and phenomena, and with various disciplinary/academic/scientific practices, thereby also exploring the historicity of certain ideals of scientificity (in the sense of the German “Wissenschaftlichkeit”) and the demarcation of science from other forms of knowledge. Moreover, some papers will be dedicated to selected methods and perspectives of current approaches in the histories of science.


The audience that the Special Issue will address consists of general historians who are not necessarily already familiar with the field. The Special Issue seeks to provide an accessible, reliable but also substantive introduction to this field. In order to achieve these goals, the Special Issue features 25 short essays (max. 24,000 characters each) that, comparable to handbook entries, discuss in a concise and compelling as well as readable fashion the historical development and state of the art with respect to:


a)      The history of a specific discipline or interdisciplinary field, its institutionalization, characterization and transformation, such as:

-          ecology;

-          economics;

-          historiography of science;

-          humanities;  

-          life and human sciences;

-          mathematics;

-          social sciences;


b)      The history of the scientific study of certain phenomena, how they became research/epistemic objects, how they were studied and how the produced knowledge has been used, such as:

-          anthropocene;

-          disaster science;

-          natural phenomena (weather, fossils, water, volcanoes…)

-          natural ressources;

-          pandemics;

-          religion;

-          toxicity;

-          violence and war;

-          the scientific study of waste;


c)      The role of specific actors/actants, practices, media, forms of representation, and places/spaces of knowledge production in the history of different fields, such as:

-          circulation of scientific knowledge;

-          discourses;

-          domestic spaces;

-          nonhumans;

-          printing/history of the book;  

-          research technologies/scientific instruments;

-          scientific illustration/visualization; scientific languages;


d)      Specific perspectives and methods that are employed in the history of science, such as:

-          digital history of science;

-          gender studies and feminist history of science;

-          global history of science;

-          history of art and science;

-          post/decolonial history of science;

-          STS;


e)      Outlooks on:

-          the history of (scientific and nonscientific) knowledge;

-          the history of medicine;

-          the history of technology;