At the end of this course, the student should have acquired knowledge, skills and competences which would enable them to critically evaluate texts and books on the history of science, technology and medicine. They should also be able to know how to use primary sources and to ponder on their utility and limitations.

Acquisition and understanding:

They will understand the object of historiography;

They will understand the major steps in the  evolution  of historiography of science and related areas;

They will know how to evaluate the complexity and diversity of historiographical problems raised by the history of science, technology and medicine;

They will know how to use primary sources and other tools of historical analysis;

They will know some of the relations between history of science and other domains of knowledge;

They will be introduced into some of the contemporary debates in the historiography of science.


To promote a critical attitude favourable to the development  of intellectual maturity.

To Building up arguments that are structured, coherent, relevant and concise

To orally present articles and projects in a structured  and attractive way and respecting the assigned time for the task.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Palmira de Jesus Fontes da Costa


Weekly - 6

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Available soon


Arne Hessenbruch, ed. Reader''''''''''''''''s Guide to the History of Science. (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearbor Publishers, 2000);

 Cohen, H. Floris, The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1994);

 Doel,  Roald E., Thomas Soderqvist, The Historiography of Contemporary Science, Technology , and Medicine: Writing Recent Science (Routledge, 2006);

 Gavrolu,Kostas,  O Passado das Ciências como História (Porto: Porto Editora, 2007);

 Iggers, Georg G., Historiography in the Twentieth Century. From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge, with a New Epilogue (Middletwon, Weleyan University Press, 2005);

 Shortland, Michael and Richard Yeo (eds.), Telling Lives in Science. Essays on Scientific Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996);

 Soderqvist,T.,  ed., The Historiography of Contemporary science and technology (UK: Harwood academic publishers, 1996).

Teaching method

Oral presentations by teacher and students;

Debate of important articles concerning the development of the discipline;

Short written essays on specific assignments related to the historiography of science, technology and medicine.

Evaluation method

Presentation of an article; moderation of the presentation of an article by another student; Essay review, participation in the lectures/seminars and in the weekly  proposed activities.

Subject matter

1.  What is historiography; specificities of  the historiography of science and technology.

2. The history of history of science

The history of science as a faithful description of facts:  Paul Tannery, Georges Sarton and Pierre Duhem; the first sociological approaches: Merton, Zilsel, Hessen, Bernal; the history of science as the history of ideas: Alexandre Koyré; the first studies on history of science in Portugal; the first steps in the institutionalization of the history of science in America and Europe.

3. The curremt organization of the discipline

Departments, societies, journals, meetings, etc; the education of professionals, their careers and evaluation; the organization of history of science in Portugal.

4. The great historiographical  debates

The debate on anachronism and presentism; The debate on nternalisms vs externalism; Kuhn and the debate on continuism vs descontinuism.

5. Sociological approaches in history of science

6. History of science in the context of cultural history

7. History of science and the history of the book and of visual representations

8. History of science and gender studies

9. The revival of grand narrative and biographies

10. History of science and popularization. The centre-periphery dichotomy

11. The research and writing in History of science

Periodization; primary and secondary sources; public and private sources; scientific instruments and other material culture; the history of science done by scientists; How to write an article on history of science and technology; How to prepare a research project in History of Science and History of Technology.


Programs where the course is taught: