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Victorian Interdisciplinarity and the Sciences (Hardback)

Rethinking the Specialization Thesis

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Science > History of Science & Technology P&S History > Humanities > Philosophy

Imprint: University of Pittsburgh Press
Series: Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780822948148
Published: 14th May 2024
Casemate UK Academic

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The specialization thesis—the idea that nineteenth-century science fragmented into separate forms of knowledge that led to the creation of modern disciplines—has played an integral role in the way historians have described the changing disciplinary map of nineteenth-century British science. This volume critically reevaluates this dominant narrative in the historiography. While new disciplines did emerge during the nineteenth century, the intellectual landscape was far muddier, and in many cases new forms of specialist knowledge continued to cross boundaries while integrating ideas from other areas of study. Through a history of Victorian interdisciplinarity, this volume offers a more complicated and innovative analysis of discipline formation. Harnessing the techniques of cultural and intellectual history, studies of visual culture, Victorian studies, and literary studies, contributors break out of subject-based silos, exposing the tension between the rhetorical push for specialization and the actual practice of knowledge sharing across disciplines during the nineteenth century.

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