Current Projects

IsisCB Special Topics

At the IsisCB.org site, I have initiated two projects to develop the Explore platform in close collaboration with experts in specific subfields of our discipline. In 2020, I am focusing on two areas: the Pandemics project builds on the scholarship in the history of pandemics, and the Race and Science project develops and strengthens the work on race and science in the bibliography.

Upcoming in October of 2020:

The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020) and thescientificspirit.org (a companion website) — 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 its more secular forms at the end of the century. The book highlights the ways in which twentieth-century American intellectuals developed a non-theistic worldview founded on the scientific method, faith human reason, and democratic ideals.

See also my article published in 2019 “Organized Humanism in the United States,” 75-93 in Looking Back to Look Forward: Organized Humanism in the World: Belgium, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the United States of America, 1945-2005, eds. Niels De Nutte and Bert Gasenbeek (Brussels, Belgium: Uitgeverij VUBPRESS, 2019).

Recent publications

“Building Infrastructure in the Digital Age: Case Study of the Isis Bibliography of History of Science, 2002-2018,” Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science 21 (2018): 21–40. https://doi.org/10.23925/1980-7651.2018v21;p21-40.

“Science and Religion,” pp. 3-19, and “East Asian Traditions” (co-authored with Tomoko Yoshida), pp. 314-332, in Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction. Second edition. Ed. Gary B. Ferngren. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2017. “Science and Religion” 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. “East Asian Traditions” shows how Indian, Chinese, and Japanese thinkers understood modern Western science from the perspective of Hindu, Confucian, Buddhist, and Shinto belief.

“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 presentations:

Working group: “Mapping Authorities and Ontologies in Computation and Digital HPS” (participant), part of the “Research Coordination Network: Building a Network for Digital and Computational History and Philosophy of Science” NSF grant, MBL Library, RCN Group meeting, Woods Hole, MA, Nov. 7-10, 2019.

Invited lecture: “Fighting the Ghost of William Jennings Bryan: Humanists and Evolution in Twentieth-Century America,” Centre voor Academische en Vrijzinnege Archieven (CAVA), Brussels, Belgium, August 1, 2019.

“The Present and Future of the History of Science Society’s Publications” (panelist), History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Utrecht, Netherlands, July 25, 2019.

Workshop: “History Observatory Workshop” (participant), American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD, June 6-9, 2019.

“Putting Post-Humanism into Context,” Midwest Junto, Linda Hall Library, Kansas City, Mo., April 14, 2019.