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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HPSC2101 Scientific Texts in Context

20 creditsClass Size: 100

In light of the effect of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions on students' learning experiences, the School of PRHS have made the decision to modify assessment in Semester 2 modules in the 2020-21 academic year. Changes may involve reducing the number of assessment points (e.g. assessing one essay rather than two) or reducing word counts where it is possible to do so whilst protecting the integrity of the module's Learning Outcomes. Information on any changes to assessment is available to enrolled students in the Minerva module area, and can also be sought from the module leader or the PRHS SES team.

Module manager: Anne Jamieson
Email: a.k.jamieson@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

This module is mutually exclusive with

HPSC2140Scientific Texts in Context

Module replaces

HPSC2140 Scientific Texts in Context

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

In this module you will learn how to read! You may think you learnt to read at primary school, but reading historical documents requires special reading skills. For example, in order to understand an historical document you will need to appreciate what type of document it is and for whom it was written. Thus published books directed at a wide but often specific audience need to be read differently from, say, private letters intended for a particular recipient. You also need to understand the context in which the text was written: it may be a response to another work published by a competitor and it contain allusions to contemporary people and events. Again, it may contain a technical vocabulary that seems meaningless the present-day reader, such as the "phlogiston" theory in chemistry or the "electrotonic" state of matter. You will learn how to interrogate various kinds of document in order to ascertain their historical significance and the possible interpretations of their texts. This module is essential training for anyone with a serious interest in the history of science. Taught as a seminar, this is a compulsory module for HPS Single Honours programmes, and optional module for HPS Joint Honours programmes. The prerequisite is 20 credits of Level 1 HPS modules.

Objectives

On completion of this module students will be able to:

(i) interpret the arguments in a classic text from the history of science;
(ii) relate those arguments to the author's life and work generally;
(iii) relate those arguments to the wider intellectual, cultural, social and material contexts in which the text was written;
(iv) critically assess the relevant historiography;
(v) analyze the reception of the text in its own time.

Syllabus

A single text, e.g. Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex (1871) will be examined in detail and its contents related to contemporary debates and issues in context.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Seminar111.5016.50
Private study hours183.50
Total Contact hours16.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading per seminar 11 x 6 hours
Essay preparation 30 hours
Examination preparation 30 hours
Background reading 57.5 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1 x 2,000 word essay due mid-way through the module & through seminar participation

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 08/06/2009

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