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Regular version of the site

190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel, Room 123

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel

Department Head Adrian A. Selin
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
Remembering the Neoliberal Turn: Economic Change and Collective Memory in Eastern Europe after 1989

Gökarıksel S., Gontarska O., Hilmar T. et al.

L.: Routledge, 2023.

Book chapter
The Stolbovo Treaty and Tracing the Border in Ingria in 1617–1618

Adrian Selin.

In bk.: Sweden, Russia, and the 1617 Peace of Stolbovo. Vol. 14. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2024. P. 99-118.

Working paper
The Image of the Past in Ciro Spontone’s ‘Historia Della Transilvania’

Khvalkov E., Levin F., Кузнецова А. Д.

Working Papers of Humanities. WP. Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2021

History of Science

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered by:
Department of History
Compulsory course
1 year, 3, 4 module


Course Syllabus


The purpose of the course is to familiarise students with the main problems in the development of natural philosophy and natural sciences in the early modern and modern times and to examine entangled histories of scientific knowledge, technology, economics and social structures in different historical periods. We will consider how the European expansion to other regions of the world, which began in the 16th century, not only stimulated the accumulation of new scientific data but also led to the emergence of new research practices and institutions of scientific research. We will analyse what the history of science and technology can provide for a better understanding of contemporary problems such as food security, climate change, depletion of natural resources, and the transition to new sources of energy.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The course aims to familiarise with the advancement of natural sciences in the early modern and modern periods (from the Scientific Revolution to the early 20th century) in a broader context of social, economic and technological changes, and to hone their critical and argumentative skills in analysing contemporary problems in the relations between science and society.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students will have a basic understanding of the main stages in the advancement of natural sciences in the 16th-19th centuries as connected to major social, economic and technological transformations
  • Students will have a general understanding of the ways historians of science approach their subject – their concepts and research methods
  • Students will improve their critical and analytical skills in examining various modes of interaction between science and society
  • Students will improve their skills of analytical reading, academic debates and academic writing in English
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Early modern science – people, institutions and places
  • European overseas expansion and the Scientific Revolution. Astronomy and cartography in the early modern period
  • Classifying biodiversity: the Columbian exchange and natural history
  • Human body, health and disease in early modern Europe
  • Modernity and new institutions and social roles in scientific research
  • Steam and electricity in the making of the modern world
  • The chemical revolution and the rise of new materials
  • New understanding of life: the cell theory and the rise of modern medicine
  • Evolution and heredity in the 19th century
  • Recapitulation – the ways of writing history of science
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class participation
  • non-blocking Oral presentations
  • non-blocking Discussion leadership
  • non-blocking Critical essay (a book review)
  • non-blocking Oral exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.3 * Critical essay (a book review) + 0.15 * Discussion leadership + 0.2 * In-class participation + 0.2 * Oral exam + 0.15 * Oral presentations


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Dear, P. (2006). The Intelligibility of Nature : How Science Makes Sense of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=260098
  • Lightman, B. V. (2016). A Companion to the History of Science. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1163670

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Brian W. Ogilvie. (2006). The Science of Describing : Natural History in Renaissance Europe. University of Chicago Press.
  • Bynum, W. F. (2008). The History of Medicine: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=363643
  • Jonathan Simon, & Bernadette Bensaude-vincent. (2012). Chemistry: The Impure Science (2nd Edition): Vol. 2nd ed. Imperial College Press.
  • Marcus Hellyer. (2003). The Scientific Revolution : The Essential Readings. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • McClellan, J. E., & Dorn, H. (2006). Science and Technology in World History : An Introduction (Vol. 2nd ed). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=215912
  • Robert Westman. (2011). The Copernican Question : Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order. University of California Press.
  • Shanahan, T. (2004). The Evolution of Darwinism : Selection, Adaptation and Progress in Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge University Press.
  • Shapin, S. (2008). The Scientific Life : A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=285089
  • Ursula Klein, & Wolfgang Lefèvre. (2007). Materials in Eighteenth-Century Science : A Historical Ontology. The MIT Press.