Below are some reading strategies for history courses as well as a bibliography of course readings by session.
Some Reading Strategies for History Courses
A List of Informal Suggestions*
- History isn't just about learning facts and dates. It's also about understanding how and why things happened. So don't get bogged down in taking in all the facts and dates, at the expense of the big picture. The key is to ask yourself, "Why would this event be important, and how does it relate to other events?" These questions give you the framework to hang your facts and dates on. For instance, it's not so important to remember all the dates that show up in the narratives, but rather to ask, "Which dates refer to especially significant things, and what do they tell us about the order in which things happened?" This is not to say that you can forget all facts and dates, but it is to suggest remembering them within a meaningful context.
- History readings often give you more details of information than you actually need to remember. Again, here the big picture is important. Authors of historical accounts often include details to make their cases more persuasive or appealing. But on the same principle as above, not all of these details need to be noted down and stored away.
- History is interpretive. This means that people will sometimes tell different stories about events or attribute different significance to them. When you read history you should keep in mind that the accounts you have before you do not represent the final truth. This does not mean that history is simply made up or that "anything goes." Rather, these historical accounts represent the efforts of (usually) intelligent, thoughtful people to make sense of what we can find out about what happened in the past.
- History courses often have a lot of reading. Therefore you need to practice active, intelligent reading. Keep asking yourself, "What is the point of this book or article? What am I supposed to be getting out of it?" Then organize your reading around answering those questions. Often it helps to scan material quickly to get a sense of what the point is before really getting into it; often it helps to look back over it after reading it to fix the main points in your understanding.
- History courses use different kinds of materials that demand different kinds of reading. For instance, a narrative of someone's life will probably be quicker and easier to read than a historian's analysis of an event and its reasons. A collection of primary documents will make you ask different questions than will a textbook account.
* Courtesy of Professor Cathryn Carson, University of California at Berkeley. Used with permission.
Reading assignments should be completed before each lecture.
|Week 1: Introduction|
|Week 2: Beginnings|
|2||"What is Science?"||Feyerabend, Paul. "'Science': The Myth and its Role in Society." Inquiry 18 (1975): 167-81. |
Collins, Harry, and Trevor Pinch. The Golem: What Everyone Should Know about Science. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 91-107.
|3||The Presocratics|| |
Kirk, G. S., J. E. Raven, and M. Schofield. The Presocratic Philosophers. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 88-91.
|Week 3: The World According to Plato and Aristotle|
|4||Plato's World|| |
Plato. "The Allegory of the Cave." In Science & Culture in the Western Tradition. Edited by John G. Burke. Scottsdale, Arizona: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987, pp. 7-9.
|5||Aristotle's Physics|| |
Aristotle. Physics. Translated by R. P. Hardie, and R. K. Gaye, in The Complete Works of Aristotle. Edited by Jonathan Barnes. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985, Book II, pp. 329-34; Book III, pp. 342-5.
|Week 4: Aristotle's Biology|
|6||Aristotle and Hippocrates on Biology and Medicine||Aristotle. "Parts of Animals," and "On the Generation of Animals." In The New Aristotle Reader. Edited by J. L. Ackrill. 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989, pp. 220-32, 241-50. |
———. "Problems Connected with the Drinking of Wine and Drunkenness," "Problems Connected with Sexual Intercourse," and "Problems Connected with Fatigue." In The Works of Aristotle. Vol. 7. Series edited by W. D. Ross. Problemata. Edited by E. S. Forster. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927, pp. 871-85.
Hippocrates. "The Oath." In Hippocratic Writings. Edited by G. E. R. Lloyd. Translated by J. Chadwick, et al. New York: Penguin Classics, 1978, p. 67.
———. "On the Sacred Disease." In Science & Culture in the Western Tradition. Edited by John G. Burke. Scottsdale, Arizona: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987, pp. 12-13.
Lloyd, G. E. R. Science, Folklore, and Ideology: Studies in the Life Sciences in Ancient Greece. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1999, pp. 58-61.
Lindberg. The Beginnings of Western Science, pp. 62-8, 111-25.
|Week 5: Ancient Mathematics, Astronomy, and Engineering|
|7||Ptolemy and Euclid||Ptolemy. The Almagest. Translated by R. C. Taliaferro, in Great Books of the Western World. Vol. 16. Edited by Robert M. Hutchins. Chicago: Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1938, pp. 5-14, 86-93. |
Euclid. The Elements. In Euclid's Elements of Geometry, by Robert Potts. London: Longmans, Green, and Company, 1877, pp. 1-7.
Evans, James. "Ptolemy." In Cosmology: Historical, Literary, Philosophical, Religious, and Scientific Perspectives. Edited by Norriss Hetherington. New York: Garland, 1993, pp. 122-30.
Heilbron, John. Geometry Civilized: History, Culture, and Technique. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 241-5.
Lindberg. The Beginnings of Western Science, pp. 85-105.
|8||Galen and Alexandrian Engineers||Galen. On the Doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato. Edited and translated by Phillip de Lacy. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1978, Book II, pp. 65-71, 104-29. |
Cohen, Morris R., and I. E. Drabkin, eds. "On the Construction of Artillery: Application of Empirical Formulae." In A Source Book in Greek Science. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1948, pp. 318-26.
Brumbaugh, Robert S. Ancient Greek Gadgets and Machines. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1966, pp. 75-91.
Farrington, Benjamin. "Greek Philosophy and Technology." In Science & Culture in the Western Tradition. Edited by John G. Burke. Scottsdale, Arizona: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987, pp. 16-17.
Lindberg. The Beginnings of Western Science, pp. 125-31.
|Week 6: Science in the Middle Ages|
|9||Arabic Science||al-Din Al-Tusi, Nasir. Memoir on Astronomy. Vol. 1. Translated by F. J. Ragep. New York: Springer, 1993, pp. 194-204, 212-4, 222 (even-numbered pages only). |
Kennedy, E. S. "Late Medieval Planetary Theory." Isis 57 (1966): 365-78.
Sabra, A. I. "The Appropriation and Subsequent Naturalization of Greek Science in Medieval Islam: A Preliminary Statement." History of Science 25 (1987): 223-43.
Lindberg. The Beginnings of Western Science, pp. 161-82.
|10||Medieval European Universities||"The Condemnation of 1277," and "Typical Scientific Questions Based on Aristotle's Major Physical Treatises." In A Source Book in Medieval Science. Edited by Edward Grant. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974, pp. 45-50, 199-205. |
Grant, Edward. The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 70-85.
Ben-David, Joseph. "The Emergence of the Professional University Teacher in the Medieval University." In Science and Culture in the Western Tradition. Edited by John G. Burke. Scottsdale, Arizona: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987, pp. 37-41.
Lindberg. The Beginnings of Western Science, pp. 183-213.
|Week 7: Medieval Technology|
|11||Medieval Technology||Gimpel, Jean. The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages. New York: Gower, 1988, pp. 147-70. |
White, Lynn, Jr. "Technology in the Middle Ages." In Technology in Western Civilization. Vol. 1. Edited by Melvin Kranzberg, and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967, pp. 66-79.
|Week 8: The European Renaissance|
|13||Patronage, Alchemy, and Humanism||Burke, John G. ed. Science & Culture in the Western Tradition. Scottsdale, Arizona: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987, pp. 51-57, 72-77, 85-7. |
Grafton, Anthony. New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992, pp. 28-35, 148-53, 156-7.
|Week 9: Revolutions in the Body and in the Stars|
|14||Vesalius and Anatomy||Vesalius, Andreas. The Epitome of Andreas Vesalius. Translated by L. R. Lind. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1969, pp. xxxi-xxxvi. |
Selected plates from The Illustrations from the Work of Vesalius. Translated and edited by J. B. de C. M. Saunders, and Charles O'Malley. Cleveland: World Publishing Company, 1950, pp. 42-5, 92-3, 100-1, 104-5.
Vesalius, Andreas. On the Fabric of the Human Body, Book 1. Translated and edited by W. F. Richardson, and J. B. Carman. San Francisco: Norman, 1998, pp. 45-9, 385-97.
Ferrari, Giovanna. "Public anatomy lessons and the Carnival: The Anatomy Theatre of Bologna." Past and Present 117 (November 1987): 50-106.
|15||The Copernican Revolution||Copernicus, Nicolas. On the Revolutions of the Heavens. Translated by Edward Rosen. Edited by Jerzy Dobrzycki. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978, pp. xv-xvii, 3-11, 18-22, 244-7. |
Lerner, Michel-Pierre, and Jean-Pierre Verdet. "Copernicus." In Cosmology: Historical, Literary, Philosophical, Religious, and Scientific Perspectives. Edited by Norriss Hetherington. Translated by James Evans, New York: Garland, 1993, pp. 147-73.
|Week 10: Observatories and Ellipses|
|16||Tycho Brahe and the New Astronomy||Brahe, Tycho. "Reform of Copernicus and Ptolemy." In Science & Culture in the Western Tradition. Edited by John G. Burke. Scottsdale, Arizona: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987, pp. 99-102. |
Hannaway, Owen. "Laboratory Design and the Aim of Science: Andreas Libavius versus Tycho Brahe." Isis 77 (1986): 585-610.
|17||Kepler: Mysticism and Mars||Kepler, Johannes. Mysterium Cosmographicum. Translated by A. M. Duncan. New York: Arabis, 1981, pp. 62-73. |
Donahue, W. H. "Kepler." In Cosmology: Historical, Literary, Philosophical, Religious, and Scientific Perspectives. Edited by Norriss Hetherington. New York: Garland, 1993, pp. 239-62.
Westman, Robert S. "The Astronomer's Role in the Sixteenth Century." In Science & Culture in the Western Tradition. Edited by John G. Burke. Scottsdale, Arizona: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987, pp. 80-4.
|Week 11: Galileo: Astronomy, and the Church|
|18||Interpreting Scripture and the Heavens||Galilei, Galileo. Sidereus Nuncius: or The Sidereal Messenger. Translated by Albert van Helden. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989, pp. 29-41, 64-5. |
———. Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican. Translated by Stillman Drake. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967, pp. 1-7, 339-56.
"Sentence (22 June 1633)," and "Galileo's Abjuration (22 June 1633)." In The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History. Edited and translated by Maurice A. Finocchiaro. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989, pp. 286-93.
Heilbron, John. The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999, pp. 3-5, 16-21.
|Week 12: Galileo's Physics and Bacon's Collecting|
|19||Galileo's Physics||Galilei, Galileo. Discourses on Two New Sciences. Translated by Henry Crew, and Alfonso de Salvio. New York: Macmillan, 1914, pp. 42-4, 153-5, 214-8, 244-5, 262-7. |
Westfall, Robert S. The Construction of Modern Science: Mechanisms and Mechanics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977, pp. 3-24.
|20||Bacon and the Culture of Collecting||Bacon, Francis. New Atlantis. Edited by Jerry Weinberger. Revised ed. Arlington Heights, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, 1989, pp. 36-83. |
———. The New Organon, in The New Organon and Related Writings. Edited by Fulton H. Anderson. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960, pp. 39-62.
Grafton, Anthony. New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992, pp. 197-209, 212-3, 216-29, 232-7.
|Week 13: Descartes's New Methods for the New Sciences|
|21||Descartes's Mechanical Philosophy||Descartes, René. "Rules for the Direction of the Mind." In Science & Culture in the Western Tradition. Edited by John G. Burke. Scottsdale, Arizona: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987, pp. 126-7. |
———. Discourse on Method, in The Philosophical Works of Descartes. Vol. 1. Translated by Elizabeth Haldane, and G. R. T. Ross. New York: Cambridge Universe Press, 1978, pp. 80-106.
Westfall, Richard S. "The Mechanical Philosophy." In The Construction of Modern Science. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977, pp. 25-42.
|Week 14: Newton and Newtonianism|
|22||Newton's Dynamics and Gravitation||**Note: All readings for this week are from Newton: Texts, Backgrounds, Commentaries. Edited by I. Bernard Cohen, and Richard S. Westfall. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.** |
Newton, Isaac. Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, in Newton, pp. 227-38, 339-42.
Cohen, I. Bernard. "Newton's Method and Newton's Style," pp. 126-44.
Westfall, Richard S. "Newton and Christianity," pp. 356-70.
|23||Newton's Optics and the Culture of Newtonianism||Newton, Issac. Opticks, in Newton, pp. 115-9. |
Newton to Oldenburg. February 6, 1672, pp. 171-81.
Schaffer, Simon. "Glass Works," pp. 202-17.
Dobbs, Betty Jo Teeter. "From 'Newton's Alchemy and His Theory of Matter,'" pp. 315-24.
|Week 15: Laboratories, Societies, and Gentlemen|
|24||England's Royal Society||Shapin, Steven. "The House of Experiment in Seventeenth-Century England." Isis 79 (1988): 373-404.|