Spring 2023 Colloquium - Elena Aronova
History, University of California Santa Barbara
Title: Collaboration Across and Beyond “Two Cultures”
Abstract: There is a growing recognition today that the image of the sciences and the humanities as two separate “cultures”, famously described by C.P. Snow in his Rede lecture in 1959, is no longer tenable. Movements within the historical profession, such as “big history,” “deep history”, and bio-history, are trying to articulate modes of constructive engagement between historians and natural scientists. Within natural sciences, there has been a similar pattern in the relatively recent past that involves the increasing blurring of boundaries between the natural and the social/human sciences. The trend is posited as a distinctly twenty-first-century phenomenon. Against this backdrop, I argue that throughout the twentieth century, when the specialization has driven the sciences and the humanities father apart, there have been notable examples of collaborations between natural scientists and historians, that were diverse, complex, and, at times, surprisingly productive.