James Secord – Against Revolutions

May 10, 2023

May 10, 2023

6:00 pm To 7:30 pm

Online: ET (USA)



Event Description

The New York History of Science Lecture series explores replacing revolutionary big pictures with a new historiography.

The history of science is in unprecedented ferment, but its long-term frameworks–particularly in teaching and public discussion–continue to be shaped by outdated ‘ghost narratives’ of dramatic revolution. Headlined by a seventeenth-century scientific revolution in method, these treat science as intellectual innovation largely distinct from the mundane worlds of healing, agriculture, and everyday technologies. They often treat world history as though it begins with colonial domination by the west, and locate epistemic violence within scientific communities at a time when the validity of science as a road to truth is under attack. This talk examines the issues involved in replacing revolutionary big pictures with a new historiography based on material exchange and communicative interaction.

Event Speaker

James Secord, Emeritus Professor in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge

Event Information

This event is free and open to the public; Registration required. Attendees will receive a Zoom link from Eventbrite. Please contact scienceandsociety@columbia.edu with any questions.

This event is part of the New York History of Science Lecture Series.

Sponsoring Organizations:

  • The University Seminars at Columbia University
  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • The New York Academy of Medicine
  • The New York Academy of Sciences

The Center for Science and Society makes every reasonable effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. If you require disability accommodations to attend a Center for Science and Society event, please contact us at scienceandsociety@columbia.edu or (212) 854-0666 at least 10 days in advance of the event. For more information, please visit the campus accessibility webpage.


The Center for Science and Society


About the Organizers

The Center for Science and Society at Columbia University brings together a wide variety of scholars and practitioners in the human, social, and natural sciences from around Columbia’s campus and the New York City metropolitan area to support interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach about the roles of science, technology, medicine, and public health in past and present societies. The Center also works to enhance public understanding of science in relation to pressing social concerns.  If you are interested in attending a Center event, please sign up for our weekly newsletter . 

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