Vossius Center for the History of Humanities and Sciences

Vossius Seminar

03Apr2017 16:00 - 17:30


At this Vossius Seminar Prof. Dr. Johan Heilbron will present the lecture "Towards an historical sociology of the social sciences".


The proliferation of historical studies of the humanities and the (social) sciences requires a renewed reflection on how the development of science and scholarship should be understood. The ‘historicist turn’ of the past years has legitimately criticized traditional modes of historical writing, it has renewed the way historical studies are conceived and conducted, but has neglected properly explanatory questions. Based on my recent French Sociology (Cornell UP 2015), I will argue that a sociological-historical approach is a fruitful way to go beyond merely ‘historicist’ accounts. More specifically I will argue that this can be achieved without falling back on old approaches, or on the rather exclusive focus on micro-interactions that is prevalent in ‘social studies of science.’

About the speaker

Johan Heilbron is a historical sociologist, trained at the University of Amsterdam and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Currently director of research at the Centre Européen de Sociologie et de Science Politique de la Sorbonne (CESSP- CNRS- EHESS) and professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, his research is in economic sociology, the sociology of art and culture, and the sociology of the social sciences. Book publications in the latter area include The Rise of Social Theory (1995, also in Dutch and French); The Rise of the Social Sciences and the Formation of Modernity (co- edited, 2001); Pour une histoire des sciences sociales: hommage à Pierre Bourdieu (co- edited, 2004); Wetenschappelijk onderzoek: dilemma's en verleidingen (2005); French Sociology (2015).

Venue: BG1, room 0.16

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