Scientific Authority and Twentieth-Century America

Overview


Turn-of-the-century Americans strongly believed that science—"disinterested" and authoritative—could help them to organize society and understand the natural world. Yet today, even scientists themselves are raising disturbing questions about the nature and practice of science. In Scientific Authority and Twentieth-Century America Ronald G. Walters brings together a distinguished group of contributors to reflect, often critically, on scientific and medical claims to moral, social, and political authority. Writing...

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Overview


Turn-of-the-century Americans strongly believed that science—"disinterested" and authoritative—could help them to organize society and understand the natural world. Yet today, even scientists themselves are raising disturbing questions about the nature and practice of science. In Scientific Authority and Twentieth-Century America Ronald G. Walters brings together a distinguished group of contributors to reflect, often critically, on scientific and medical claims to moral, social, and political authority. Writing from a variety of perspectives—intellectual history, social history, feminist theory, philosophy, medical history, political theory, and visual analysis—the authors demonstrate that science no longer belongs exclusively to its practitioners or to any particular discipline.

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Editorial Reviews

Technology & Society Science
The book works well in treating the theme of scientific authority in the context of twentieth-century America ... The collection is obviously well suited for upper-level undergraduate or beginning graduate courses dealing with the social nature of scientific knowledge.
Journal of American History
This volume is an excellent guide to recent study in intellectual history. It contains work by outstanding practitioners in the field and covers topics that define essential contours of this area of inquiry.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801853906
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald G. Walters is a professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of American Reformers: 1815-1860 and The Antislavery Appeal: American Abolitionism after 1830 and editor of Primers for Prudery: Sexual Advice to Victorian America and A Black Woman's Odyssey: The Narrative of Nancy Prince.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Uncertainty, Science, and Reform in Twentieth-Century America 1
Ch. 1 How Wide the Circle of the "We"? American Intellectuals and the Problem of the Ethnos since World War II 13
Ch. 2 A Historian's View of American Social Science 32
Ch. 3 Crime, Commerce, and Contagionism: The Political Languages of Public Health and the Popularization of Germ Theory in the United States, 1870-1950 53
Ch. 4 "Just Say No": Risk, Behavior, and Disease in Twentieth-Century America 82
Ch. 5 Female Science and Medical Reform: A Path Not Taken 99
Ch. 6 Plugging Past Reform: Small-Scale Farming Innovation and Big-Scale Farming Research 119
Ch. 7 Corporate Science on Display 148
Ch. 8 Why History Matters to Political Theory 185
Notes 205
List of Contributors 261
Index 263
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Introduction

Uncertainty, Science, and Reform in Twentieth-Century America
Ronald G. Walters
PART I: Voices of Authority
CHAPTER 1: How Wide the Circle of the "We"?
American Intellectuals and the Problem of the Ethnos since World War
David A. Hollinger
CHAPTER 2: A Historian's View of American Social Science
Dorothy Ross
PART II: Medical Models
CHAPTER 3: Crime, Commerce, and Contagionism: The Political Languages of Public Health and the Popularization of Germ
Theory in the United States, JoAnne Brown
CHAPTER 4: "Just Say No": Risk, Behavior, and Disease in Twentieth-Century America
Allan M. Brandt
CHAPTER 5: Female Science and Medical Reform: A Path Not Taken
Regina Morantz-Sanchez
AUTHOR BIO:
Ronald G. Walters is a professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of American Reformers: 1815-1860 and The Antislavery Appeal: American Abolitionism after 1830 and editor of Primers for Prudery: Sexual Advice to Victorian America and A Black Woman's Odyssey: The Narrative of Nancy Prince.
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