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070092 UE Guided Reading History of Science - Death of Nature (2020S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 7 - Geschichte
Continuous assessment of course work

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).

Details

max. 25 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Please note that there are assigned readings for the first meeting: (available on Moodle):

Death of Nature: Cover, Dust Jacket, Table of Contents, Timeline, Acknowledgments, Introduction, Epilogue, Index
Katharine Park, ‘Women, Gender, and Utopia: The Death of Nature and the Historiography of Early Modern Science’, Isis 97, no. 3 (2006): 487–95.

Thursday 05.03. 13:00 - 16:15 Seminarraum 3, Währinger Straße 29 1.UG
Thursday 26.03. 13:00 - 16:15 Seminarraum 3, Währinger Straße 29 1.UG
Thursday 23.04. 13:00 - 16:15 Seminarraum 3, Währinger Straße 29 1.UG
Thursday 30.04. 13:00 - 16:15 Seminarraum 3, Währinger Straße 29 1.UG
Thursday 14.05. 13:00 - 16:15 Seminarraum 3, Währinger Straße 29 1.UG
Thursday 28.05. 13:00 - 16:15 Seminarraum 3, Währinger Straße 29 1.UG
Thursday 04.06. 13:00 - 16:15 Seminarraum 3, Währinger Straße 29 1.UG

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

In 1980, Carolyn Merchant published her monograph Death of Nature which put forward an original and disturbing argument: The Scientific Revolution of the 17th century pushed aside organic ideas of the cosmos as a nurturing mother and replaced it with a mechanical – dead – understanding of the natural world. In the old order, Merchant argued, Nature was mysterious and wild, but then Francis Bacon and his followers ushered in an age of domination based on knowledge. Their new scientific method exposed Nature’s secrets, not unlike the way men would forcibly undress a woman for sex. Death of Nature thus combined concerns of second-wave feminism and the early environmental movement: it sought to expose deep-seated patriarchal structures in Western thinking and at the same time explain why techno-science has wrought damage on the ecosystems of the Earth.

In this Guided Reading class, we will read Merchant’s eco-feminist classic chapter by chapter and discuss it together. The aim of the class is to acquire and to improve fundamental scholarly skills such as systematic reading, composing a bibliography, and developing convincing arguments based on evidence. In order to practice these skills, we will examine the argument of Death of Nature by reading some of the original sources used by the author and by comparing her statements with more recent scholarly literature.

Assigned readings, discussions, and assignments will be in English. Reading knowledge of French, German, and Latin would be useful but not required.

Assessment and permitted materials

You will be assessed on the basis of your active participation in the discussions and the degree to which this shows you have understood the assigned readings; your participation in in-class, ungraded exercises; and a number of written assignments:

1) The class will be held in 7 double sessions. For the sessions 2 and 3, you will compose an excerpt (800-1000 words) of one of the assigned chapters from Death of Nature. I will not grade the first excerpt but provide feedback. The second excerpt will be graded and make up 25% of your final grade.
2) For the sessions 4, 5, 6, AND 7 you will write an abstract (250-400) for each of the assigned chapters. They will not be graded but allow me to monitor how you get on with the text.
3) For the sessions 4, 5, 6, OR 7, you will work with secondary literature (800-1200 words). You will write an excerpt for one of the titles from the reading list, add points from additional literature that you found by using bibliographic methods, and provide a clearly argued personal statement. This assignment will be graded and make up 25% of your final grade. Please be prepared to present the results of your research in class. A formal presentation will not be necessary but I expect articulate input. You can pick a topic in session 2.
4) For session 6, you will write an essay (1500-2000 words) about a question that came up in our discussions. Please observe good scholarly practice in terms of footnotes, format, and structure. Your argument, based on cited evidence, must be clearly visible. This assignment will be graded and make up 25% of your final grade.

Participation and non-graded written exercises will make up 25% of the final grade.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Your assignments will be assessed using a 1 to 5 scale (1 being the best grade), according to the schemes available on Moodle. I will calculate your overall grade according to the weighting stated above. To pass this class, your overall performance must be 4.4 or better.

If you submit your assignments late without acceptable excuse, I will deduct 0.2 grades for each day. If you don’t stick to the word limit, I will deduct 0.2 grades for each 10% above or below.

The class will be held in 7 double sessions. Attendance is compulsory. You may miss one of the double sessions without explaining why. If you miss two or three double sessions, you will have to provide an explanation and compensate by submitting additional written work. If you miss more than three double sessions you cannot complete the class.

Examination topics

Reading list

Core readings will be available on Moodle.

Please note that there are assigned readings for the first meeting:

Death of Nature: Cover, Dust Jacket, Table of Contents, Timeline, Acknowledgments, Introduction, Epilogue, Index

Katharine Park, ‘Women, Gender, and Utopia: The Death of Nature and the Historiography of Early Modern Science’, Isis 97, no. 3 (2006): 487–95.

Association in the course directory

Vertiefung zu: VO Wissenschaftsgeschichte

BA Geschichte (2012): Neuzeit, Zeitgeschichte (4 ECTS)
BA Geschichte (2019): Wissenschaftsgeschichte (5 ECTS)
BEd UF Geschichte: Wirtschafts- und Sozialgesch., Hist.-kulturwiss. Europaforschung, Globalgeschichte (4 ECTS)

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:20