11.0565 history of disciplines

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 5 Feb 1998 18:50:34 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 565.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Grover.Zinn@oberlin.edu (21)
Subject: Re: 11.0560 history of disciplines

[2] From: Brad Scott <Brad.Scott@routledge.co.uk> (44)
Subject: History of disciplines

[3] From: "David L. Gants" <dgants@english.uga.edu> (13)
Subject: Re: 11.0555 history of disciplines

Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 15:40:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Grover.Zinn@oberlin.edu
Subject: Re: 11.0560 history of disciplines


On the history of disciplines, see the following:

Clyde A. Holbrook, _Religion, A Humanistic Field_ (Humanistic Scholarship
in America: The Princeton Studies; Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice-Hall,
1963; reprint Greedwood Press). [Fundamental in proposing an approach to
the teaching of religion in colleges and universities that was not
"theological" in presuppositions and intent; set the blueprint for the
present way of teaching religion as an academic discipline]

On the question of the "liberal arts", etc., Francis Oakley (a medieval
historian and, as they say in England, sometime President of Williams
College [he has returned to teaching!]) has published articles and now a

Francis Oakley, _Community of Learning: The American College and the
Liberal Arts Tradition_ (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992). (This was done for the
ACLS, I believe.)


Grover A. Zinn (216) 775-8478 (office)
Danforth Professor of Religion (216) 775-8520 (department)
Department of Religion (216) 775-8124 (fax)
Rice Hall
Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH 44074

Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 10:09:05 GMT
From: Brad Scott <Brad.Scott@routledge.co.uk>
Subject: History of disciplines


I'm not sure if you meant your query to extend to scientific
disciplines as well, but biochemistry is an interesting example of
discipline creation. Nineteenth century work which is now
conventionally described as 'biochemistry' was carried out by a wide
variety of scientists from backgrounds as diverse as physiology,
botany, agricultural science and the brewing industry etc. Only around
the turn of the century did a separate discipline called biochemistry

Robert Kohler's book 'From Medical Chemistry to Biochemistry' (CUP, c.
1986) covers this fairly well, concentrating on the North American
dimension. In addition, I have done some work (but not yet published!)
on the Biochemical Society in Britain (founded 1911) and Benjamin
Moore, who was the first professor of Bio-Chemistry in the UK. The
latter had a clear set of ideas underpinning his claims for a new
discipline, which were certainly informed by his socialist beliefs. He
founded the Biochemical Journal as a vehicle for his ideas, but his
programme eventually failed, in favour of the more practical consensus
emerging during the creation of the Society.

The latter consensus was also arguably informed by extra-scientific
concerns, not the least of which was the then editor of the Journal of
Physiology who rejected many 'biochemical' papers. Many of the founders of
the Society also had definite left wing leanings and the society's
constitution was self consciously more inclusive of existing areas of
enquiry than other organisations. After an early acrimonious row, they
also admitted women; something which neither the Physiological
Society nor the Chemical Society allowed.

I could go on about this for ages, and it is a complex debate which I've
barely touched on. Perhaps of some relevance though?



Brad Scott, Electronic Development Manager
Routledge, 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE
tel: 0171 842 2134 fax: 0171 842 2299
email: bscott@routledge.co.uk
Routledge Online: http://www.routledge.com/routledge/routledge.html

Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 10:43:46 -0500 (EST)
From: "David L. Gants" <dgants@english.uga.edu>
Subject: Re: 11.0555 history of disciplines

From: Joan B Fiscella <jbf@uic.edu>

Here are a few other titles that you may wish to look at:

Divided Knowledge: Across disciplines, across cultures. David Easton and
Corinne S. Schelling, eds. Sage

Knowledges: Historical and critical studies in disciplinarity, ed by
Messer-Davidow, Shumway, and Sylvan. University Press of Virginia

Daedalus, Winter 1997. (Vol 126 #1) Title of the issue is American
Academic Culture in transformation: Fifty years, four disciplines.


Joan B. Fiscella
Bibliographer for Professional Studies
University of Illinois at Chicago Library

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