Entrevista a Emilia Musumeci: “Césare Lombroso (1835-1909)”

Per Òscar Montero

E: En què es basaren les teories de Lombroso?

E.M: Lombroso cercà l’origen biològic de la delinqüència i per tant, les seves explicacions es basaren, gairebé exclusivament, en la biologia i en les diferenciacions que podien distingir el criminal de l’anomenada biologia normal. Inicialment, les seves tesis es basaren en l’atavisme, una mena de retorn al salvatgisme dels criminals. Desprès, reformulà una mica les seves tesis mitjançant l’addicció d’altres factors com la bogeria moral, l’epilèpsia, o d’altres factors de tipus antropològic com l’ús del llenguatge dels delinqüents, els tatuatges, els artilugis que construïen. Per tant, d’uns inicis estretament biològics esdevingué alguna cosa més detallada i complexa.

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Entrevista a David Edgerton: “Communicating Science: Pleasures and Pitfalls of Historical Narrative”

Per Jaume Valentines Álvarez i Jaume Sastre Juan

E:“The Shock of the Old” has shocked historians because of its project on global history. Does global history go far beyond from the sum of local histories and from the traditional “big pictures”?

D.E: Really? Why should historians be shocked by a global history?

I can’t answer in general, but in my case I can be very clear: “The Shock of the Old” is not a sum of local histories of technology, nor a traditional big picture. For two reasons. First, local histories are usually embedded in big pictures, often old-fashioned ones: big pictures of history and big pictures of the disciplines in which they arise. Secondly, the book was an attack on standard big pictures of the twentieth century – whether focused on the economy, war, production, or science or technology.

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Entrevista a Katherine Watson: “The history of forensic medicine in the West: overview and prospect”

Per Mar Cuenca Lorente

E:How does legal medicine contribute to this historiography on experts? What can it show us?

K.W: If someone is called an expert I would like to know more about what they are actually doing to prove their expertise, and what they may be writing in books that I don’t know how many people are actually going to be reading. The bigger literature on expertise is much more philosophical and sociological in its orientation, and it is often written by sociologists. When talking of forensic medicine, we are referring to people who are experts because they have medical and scientific knowledge that other people don’t have, but may not necessarily be an expert witness, because that is more a Nineteenth and Twentieth century status. So if we look at the history of legal medicine over a long period we can certainly begin to see how the notion of the expert witness evolves and I think that is what sociologists don’t do. They simply assume that there is this thing called expertise and this thing called the expert witness, which is very problematic in many respects, but they make little effort to look at the longer history, to understand how we got where we are. So, in general, history is always useful to understand how things are today, especially because expert witnesses are very controversial figures in the courts of law today.

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Entrevista a Montserrat Cabré : “Les dones en la Història de la Ciència: d’objecte d’estudi a subjecte que coneix”

Per Amparó Bruñó Martí

E: Quina és la principal dificultat a l’hora d’estudiar el paper que han tingut les dones en la Història de la Ciència?

M.C: Quan començava a fer recerca, ara fa vint-i-cinc anys, potser t’hagués respost: la manca de fonts. Però avui per avui, penso que la dificultat més important són els prejudicis, és a dir, els criteris previs amb els que dirigim la nostra mirada al passat i a partir dels quals li formulem preguntes. Ha estat el canvi de perspectiva el que està canviant la història de la ciència. A la història de la ciència clàssica no li interessava la activitat científica femenina. S’interessava per escriure la història de les institucions científiques -les universitats, les acadèmies…-, precisament els espais on la presència femenina era més minsa.  I també s’interessava per la història de tots aquells que contribuïren més visiblement a les fites reconegudes de cada disciplina científica, una història en la que tampoc les dones apareixien. Però avui sabem bé que la visibilitat no és un fenomen “naturalment” relacionat amb la rellevància intrínseca d’una recerca o d’una teoria, sinó un fenomen que ha de ser explicat en termes històrics. l també sabem que en espais menys formalitzats o marginals a les acadèmies i universitats, l’activitat científica de les dones ha estat força significativa. En espais inesperats segons la nostra visió actual de l’activitat científica, com per exemple els monestirs femenins medievals o els salons particulars que les dames obrien al debat científic i que van tenir un paper importantíssim en el desenvolupament de l’anomenada revolució científica.

Amb això no vull dir que sigui fàcil documentar l’activitat científica de les dones: habitualment no ho és, per la invisibilitat i també per la vulnerabilitat històrica de la seva feina. Pensem, per exemple, amb Mileva Maric, la primera esposa d’Albert Einstein. S’ha investigat amb cura la seva participació en la recerca que va portar a la formulació de la teoria de la relativitat, i la importància de la seva aportació es pot sostenir d’una manera plausible, encara que no es poden adduir proves irrefutables i serà difícil que mai ho podem fer. Però ara podem posar el seu cas en un context històric i biogràfic ampli, que té present la vulnerabilitat de l’activitat científica femenina i es pregunta sobre els agents d’aquesta invisibilitat, que no és “natural” sinó històrica.

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Entrevista a Paola Govoni : “Communicating Science: Pleasures and Pitfalls of Historical Narrative”

Per Miquel Carandell

E: What do you think about the current state of science popularization? What role should history of science play in science popularization?

P.G: In my opinion history of science is a perfect tool for science popularization, and I think that science popularization is in good health, it has a rich publishing market, in Italy too. In Italy there are publishers and authors to produce high-level science books, publishers and authors who are – as they have also been in the past – crucial in translating into Italian the best publications coming from the edge of science. South of the Alps the problem is not the production of good science popularization. The problem is the public. In Italy readerships are very low; in 2010 only 44% of the population read one book! It’s one of the lowest rates in Europe. But if the problem is the public, the solution is not popularization; in my opinion the solution is education, formal education, at school.

Concerning the history of science as a tool to introduce people to science, yes, I think it can work. But I think it can work if you start from the present, where we live, where non experts live, and then you can go back to the past. In other words, exactly the contrary of the classic Conant’s project.

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Entrevista a Patricia Fara : “Communicating Science: Pleasures and Pitfalls of Historical Narrative”

Per Amparo Bruñó i Pedro Ruíz-Castell

E: You manage to summarize in your last book a four thousand year history into four hundred pages. How did such a project come to your mind and how was it shaped?

P.F: I think it first came into my mind when I was a student doing my PhD. There was a big conference in 1991 in London called “The Big Picture problem” that Jim Secord organized. with a lot of eminent speakers. I was in the audience and I became really interested in it. I think that was when I first had the idea that I would do something like that. I didn’t know then that I would start in Babylon, but the idea of doing a sort of big history did appeal to me. It was obvious as a student (and also now that I teach other students) that there were not any books like that. When I was studying there was Charles Gillispie’s book The Edge of Objectivity: An Essay in the History of Scientific Ideas (1960), which went from Copernicus up to modern days. I found it very interesting to read, but it contradicted all the other things I was being told as a historian of science.

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Entrevista a Peter Bowler: “Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey”

Per Clara Florensa

E: Which is, in your opinion, the aim of a textbook in history of science? I mean, do you think is important to communicate the discipline?

P.B: Sure, I think it is important, because science is important in the world we are living and people need to understand how it came out and how it has gained the position it has to influence our lives. And I think that history of science is a very good way of trying to introduce people to the effect that science has had; especially history of modern science. It is a little more difficult to do it with ancient science. This is why there is no ancient science in the book. But I think it is important.

History of science has a role to play in (and this is the theme of many of the chapters: dispelling popular myths) challenging misunderstandings that people have about the effects of science. Or ideas such as that science and religion are always in conflict. I think that history of Science is a very good way of trying to undermine that sort of misconceptions.

History of science has something to offer to change minds in terms of how people think about science today. If you understand how it has developed and the effects it has had, you are in a better position to grasp the sort of issues that are being raised today. So I think it is important.

And it is important to try and get across the ordinary people not just students. There is a real problem here, in the sense that this book is not very good for the man in the street, because it has not a narrative structure. But people tend to write grand narrative history of sciences and in the end I do not think they are getting across to the reader either…The important part, at least, it is much more difficult to get across.

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Entrevista a Pepe Pardo: “Un lugar para la ciencia: Escenarios de práctica científica en la sociedad hispana del siglo XVI “

Per Gustavo Corral

E:Com es treballen les fonts utilitzades per elaborar un llibre que parla de la pràctica científica del segle XVI? En el seu cas, cóm procedeix en la cerca de noves fonts?

P.P: Hi ha dos processos per treballar fonts històriques directes per a un llibre com aquest. El primer són les fonts que ja estaven treballades abans per treballs de recerca més professionals i més acadèmics que ja havia fet sobre alguns d’aquests temes, i per tant aquí es tractava de tornar a revisitar aquestes fonts que ja coneixia i que ja havia treballat.

M’estic referint per exemple a fonts sobre les construccions dels teatres anatòmics a Espanya, sobre el que ja havia fet treballs de recerca amb l’Àlvar Martinez Vidal en arxius tant de Madrid, com de Barcelona, València i Saragossa.

L’altra via és a base de la bibliografia i les fonts utilitzades per altres historiadors. En algun cas era convenient tornar a la font original, en altres casos es partia del tractament de la font que ja havia fet un altre historiador. Després de rebre l’encàrrec de muntar el curs i el llibre, jo pensava que no calia plantejar-se una cerca de noves fonts. Ja hi havia suficient material de recerca directa amb les fonts acumulat, tant per la banda directa dels que jo havia treballat personalment, a soles, o en col·laboració, com dels treballs fets els darrers anys per un gran nombre d’altres historiadors.

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Entrevista a Patricia Fara: “How Newton is seen depends on us just as much as on Newton himself”

Per J. Agustín López Martínez

E: Is it possible to appeal readers with a history without heroes?

P.F: That’s a problem. Most of the books tend to be about heroes or famous names like Newton or Darwin. And the publishers like heroes as well. That is their idea of what people want. Once I wanted to write a book about how in the eighteenth century, the Royal Society began to influence science policy in Britain, but I knew the publishers wouldn’t be interested. Instead, I proposed the title ‘Sex, Botany and Empire’ and they loved it. Last year was Darwin’s anniversary and a lot of academics in Cambridge were involved in the anniversary. On the one hand, they were absolutely thrilled that Darwin got so much publicity. On the other hand they felt that they were contributing to something they don’t really approve.

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Podeu trobar el programa per aquest curs 2016/2017 dels cicles de col·loquis.

9th European Spring School for History of Science and Popularisation - Institut Menorquí d'Estudis - Maó (Menorca) - 18 -20 May 2017

Us proposem fins a set itineraris històrics pel patrimoni de Barcelona centrats en la unió entre ciència i ciutat.