Current Projects

Texts in press or under consideration:

The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism: Science, Human Nature, and the Reconstruction of Religion in the Twentieth Century. (Under contract with Johns Hopkins Press.) — The book is a study of scientific thought within the American Humanist movement across the twentieth century. I trace humanism from its small beginnings as a religious movement within the Unitarian Church to the largely secular organizations of the late 1980s when the movement attracted some of the country’s most prominent secular intellectuals and scientists. The book highlights the ways in which twentieth-century American intellectuals developed a non-theistic worldview that was founded in large measure upon the scientific method and a faith in the efficacy of human reason. It is intended to shed light on the way that secularism and science have been related over the twentieth century.

“Introduction” and “Eastern and New Age Religions,” two articles in the second edition to Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, edited by Gary Ferngren. (In Press.) — These articles update material in the first edition. The first article explores the historiography of the thriving field of the history of science and religion, pointing out how those two terms sometimes pose more difficulties than they solve in defining the area of study. The second essay (written in collaboration with Tomoko Yoshida) shows how non-Western thought has encountered the largely Western concepts of science and religion.

Recent publications

“Historians and Their Data,” a revision of a talk delivered at CESIMA Anno XX, August 24-28, 2014, São Paulo, Brazil. Submitted to a special volume of CLE Collection, edited by Ana M. Alfonso-Goldfarb, Walter Carnielli, Hasok Chang, Marcia Ferraz, José Luiz Goldfarb, and Silvia Waisse. — The paper explores the difficulty in doing digital history, arguing that there is an inherent tension between the reductionism required to turn historical resources into rigidly structured datasets to operate in the digital environment and the holistic impulses of historical thinking. I focus on cyberinfrastructure development for bibliographies and archives that are used by historians to illustrate the difficulties and to show directions toward some solutions.

Recent and upcoming presentations:

April 12, 2015 — Co-presenter with Dr. Peter Barker on an invited symposium “Science vs. Myth: Evolution and Climate Change,” at the Southwestern Psychological Association Convention, Wichita, Kansas. Abstract; PDF of presentation.

May 14-16, 2015 — Commentator at the conference “‘The Idea That Wouldn’t Die’: The Warfare between Science and Religion” at Madison, Wisconsin.

June 29-July 3, 2015 — Presentation of a co-written paper with Sylwester Ratowt, Birute Railiene, and John Stewart, “Bibliography as Discipline Map: Rebuilding Data Structure in the Isis Bibliography of the History of Science for Social Network Study,” at the DH 2015 Global Digital Humanities Conference, Sydney, Australia. Abstract of Symposium and Talk. Slides from the Talk.

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