Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Republican Brain

“Why are today’s liberals usually right, and today’s conservatives usually wrong?” To answer this question, asserts Chris Mooney, we need to explore “the emerging science of the political brain” (7). The result is Mooney’s latest book, The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality (New York: Wiley, 2012). 

Basically, Mooney sets out to explain what he sees (and has seen before) as Republican aversion to science by using the object of that very aversion–namely, various studies from the mind and social sciences. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Upcoming Northeast Regional Environmental History Conference

I'm passing along an announcement for a regional environmental history conference that will be held next month at Yale. Registration is requested but free.

Two Kingdoms: New Perspectives on Flora and Fauna in Environmental History
A Northeast Regional Conference
Yale University, Saturday, April 14, 2012
Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, Connecticut

The lineup of papers includes quite a few history of science and technology topics (as one would expect for an environmental history conference): forest and species conservation, plant and animal breeding, industrial agriculture, animal experimentation, and others. The abstracts for the conference are available here, and I've copied the schedule for the day-long event after the jump. I hope to see some of you there!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

JAH Reviews (Dec. 2011)

I'm interested in thinking about the ways that history of science wins a place in broader conversations in American history. As part of my investigation, I've been skimming book review sections of JAH and similar journals. I thought you all might benefit as well from an abstract for each of the reviews published in Dec. 2011 that struck me as dealing with HOS in a significant way. Reviewed works include Philip Mirowski's Science-Mart, Nick Cullather's Hungry World, and Andrea Wulf's Founding Gardeners.

Read past the break for more.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

HOS in the EASA

I'm on the lookout for history of science or science studies topics escaping into US history or American studies venues and publications. Please send me leads as you find them. I'll shortly be posting links to recent HOS-related book reviews from past numbers of the Journal of American History.

For now, I spotted a couple interesting papers at the Eastern American Studies Association meeting at Rutgers on March 30-31. Read past the jump for an abstract of Kathleen Brian's paper, part of a project on the history of suicide and eugenics. [I have also added an abstract from Arjun Poudel.]

These were the two papers that caught my eye:
Kathleen Brian, ““The Suicide Contests”: Metasomatization in the Life Insurance Industry, 1862-1883”;
Arjun Poudel “Minor Science, Major Literature: Melville’s Scientific Method in Moby Dick”.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Science and Method in the Humanities

I spent last Friday at a conference on "Science and Method in the Humanities," sponsored by the Rutgers British Studies Center, among others. Hats off to the organizers for putting on a stimulating, well-run event – lots to think about for scholars of all sorts. 

As Carin Berkowitz pointed out, the day's conversation seemed to proceed at two levels. On the one hand, there were epistemic questions about how various methods fit together; on the other, there was disciplinary anxiety about the current state of the academy.