Unsettled Frontiers: Knowledge and Science in the Long 19th Century

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 5LH406

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
History of Science and Ideas A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 14 April 2014
Responsible department
Department of History of Science and Ideas

General provisions

The course is part of Masterprogram i humaniora (Master's Programme in Humanities), Uppsala University.

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree with the main field of study within the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Social Sciences or the Faculty of Science and Technology or the equivalent.

Learning outcomes

Participants of the course will be able to

  • understand the meaning and the overall importance of demarcating science from knowledge.
  • understand the historical and epistemological conditions which gave rise to and shaped modern science as integral part of a globalised world.
  • analyse this process of delineating the boundaries between modern science and knowledge as a part of a historical process in which social, cultural and economic transformations on a global scale took place.
  • analyse how our current understanding of history, modernity and science was shaped between 1770 – 1914, i.e. the “long 19th century”, and identify important landmarks in this historical process of changing knowledge regimes.


Demarcation and boundary-making have emerged as crucial questions for, and have left an indelible mark on, the philosophy and sociology of science. But are frontiers between disciplines, between "science" and "knowledge", or "knowledge" and "ignorance" as definitively demarcated as philosophers, sociologists or policy planners imply in their theories? Can history shed new light on this question? The historical period, 1770 – 1914, appears to us as a turning point in the historical development of the rise of modern science. Boundary-making itself can be seen as a magnifying glass to study the history of science in its wider relationship with other knowledge producing activities as well as with society in general. This course seeks to historicize boundary making and thereby being at the same time sensitive to the spatial turn taken by the history of science in the past decades.


The course will consist of lectures and seminars.


Examination will include participation in seminars and the writing of papers.

No reading list found.