As historians of science increasingly turn to work on recent (post 1945) science, the historiographical and methodological problems associated with the history of contemporary science are debated with growing frequency and urgency. Bringing together authorities on the history, historiography and methodology of recent and contemporary science, this book reviews the problems facing historians of technology, contemporary science and medicine, and explores new ways forward. With contributions from key researchers in the field, the text covers topics that will be of ever increasing interest to historians of post-war science, including the difficulties of accessing and using secret archival material, the interactions between archivists, historians and scientists, and the politics of evidence and historical accounts.
Table of Contents 1. Introduction: What We Know, What We Don't--And Why It Matters 5 Ronald E. Doel and Thomas Soderqvist Part I: Where Are We Now? The Challenges of Writing Recent Science 2. Why Science Writers Should Forget Carl Sagan and Read Thomas Kuhn: On the Troubled Conscience of a Journalist 31 Keay Davidson 3. The History of Now: Reflections on Being a "Contemporary Archivist" 57 Bruce Lewenstein Part II: Whose History? Ethics, Lawsuits, National Security, and the Writing of Contemporary History 4. The Politics of Commissioned Histories (Revisited) 77 David Cantor 5. From Behind the Fence: Threading the Labyrinths of Classified Historical Research Anne Fitzpatrick 98 6. On Ethics, Scientists, and Democracy: Writing the History of Eugenic Sterilization Lene Koch 122 Part III: Witnesses to History: Issues in Biography and Ethics 7. What's the Use of Writing Lives of Recent Scientists? 149 Thomas Soderqvist 8. Scholarship as Self-Knowledge: A Case Study 201 Alfred I. Tauber Part IV: Secrecy, Politics, and Science: Probing the Meaning of the Cold War 9. The Politics of Phosphorus-32: A Cold War Fable Based on Fact 241 John Krige 10. Secrecy and Science Revisited: From Politics to Historical Practice and Back Michael Aaron Dennis 275 Part V: History Detectives: New Ways of Approaching Modern Science, Medicine, and Technology 11. The Conflict of Memories and Documents: Dilemmas and Pragmatics of Oral History Lillian Hoddeson 300 12. Reading Photographs: Photographs as Evidence in Writing the History of Modern Science 324 Ronald E. Doel and Pamela M. Henson Part VI: New Voices: Omitted and Novel Perspectives 13. What We Still Don't Know about South-North Technoscientific Exchange: North-centrism, Scientific Diffusion and the Social Studies of Science 380 Alexis De Greiff and Mauricio Nieto 14. Witnessing the Witnesses: Potentials and Pitfalls of the Witness Seminar in the History of Twentieth Century Medicine 419 E.M. "Tilli" Tansey 15. 'The Mutt Historian': The Perils and Opportunities of Doing History of Science On-Line 457 Arne Hessenbruch Notes on Contributors 492 Index List of Illustrations