Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
history masthead
Alan Tully, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Spring 2007

HIS 322C • Cultural History of World Science to 1650

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

This course presents a cultural history of science (broadly defined) from ancient times to the seventeenth century. We will focus on reading primary sources (in translation) and understanding these texts in their cultural context. We will read selections from texts on astronomy, biology, chemistry and alchemy, geology, mathematics, music, and physics, from ancient times to the Scientific Revolution, from Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, China, India, Islam, and early modern Europe. Readings will include works by Aristotle, Galen, Euclid, Pythagoras, Ptolemy, Liu Hui, Al-Khwarizmi, Averroes, Paracelsus, Copernicus, Shen Gua, Brahe, Kepler, Harvey, Galileo, Zhu Zaiyu, and Descartes. These readings will be supplemented with the most recent secondary historical research. We will take an interdisciplinary and critical approach, integrating history with philosophy, literary studies, and anthropology.

Grading Policy

The grade will be based on: In-class quizzes and class participation (20%), Mid-term and Final examinations (40%), A final paper of about 10 pages (40%).


All required readings will be available in the Course Reader, and through electronic reserves, Primary sources These readings will include selections from the following primary texts: Euclid, ELEMENTs Aristotle, PHYSICs Ptolemy, ALMAGEST Liu Hui, NINE CHAPTERS OF THE MATHEMATICAL ARTS Bacon, THE NEW ORGANON Copernicus, ON THE REVOLUTIONS Vesalius, ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE HUMAN BODY Galileo, DIALOGUE CONCERNING THE TWO CHIEF WORLD SYSTEMS Harvey, ON THE MOTION OF THE HEART AND BLOOD IN ANIMALS Zhu Zaiyu, NEW THEORY OF CALCULATION Descartes, DISCOURSE ON METHOD, OPTICS, GEOMETRY AND METEOROLOGY Secondary historical research We will also read selections from the following secondary historical works: Noel Swerdlow, THE BABYLONIAN THEORY OF THE PLANETS G.E.R. Lloyd, EARLY GREEK SCIENCE: THALES TO ARISTOTLE Ronan and Needham, SHORTER SCIENCE AND CIVILISATION IN CHINA Roshdi Rashed, ed., ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE HISTORY OF ARABIC SCIENCE Edward Grant, PHYSICAL SCIENCE IN THE MIDDLE AGES D. M. Bose, ed., CONCISE HISTORY OF SCIENCE IN INDIA Thomas Kuhn, COPERNICAN REVOLUTION


bottom border