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Journal Article

Why Isn’t Exploration a Science?

Vanessa Heggie
Vol. 105, No. 2 (June 2014), pp. 318-334
DOI: 10.1086/676569
Stable URL:
Page Count: 17
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ABSTRACTHistorians of twentieth-century science have been systematically ignoring some of the subject’s richest sources and most exciting stories; this has left us with a body of work that is necessarily lopsided and that can be self-reinforcing in its insistence on certain features of “modern” science as uniquely dominant or significant after 1900. Methods, concepts, research questions, research areas, and resources that have been routinely and productively used by historians of science (and of medicine) immersed in earlier centuries appear to drop out of our toolkits when we turn to the twentieth century. This essay highlights one neglected area—human physiology studied in the field—and points to other topics where asking questions appropriate to natural history or “museum” ways of knowing might cast a completely new light on scientific practices and knowledge production.