This handbook offers original, critical perspectives on different approaches to the history of biology. This collection is intended to start a new conversation among historians of biology regarding their work, its history, and its future. Historical scholarship does not take place in isolation: As historians create their narratives describing the past, they are in dialogue not only with their sources but with other historians and other narratives. One important task for the historian is to place her narrative in a historiographic lineage. Each author in this collection offers their particular perspective on the historiography of a range of topics from Model Organisms to Eugenics, Molecular Biology to Biotechnology, Women, Race, Scientific Biography, Genetics, Darwin and more. Rather than comprehensive literature reviews, the essays critically reflect upon important historiographic trends, offering pointed appraisals of the field by leading scholars. Other authors will surely have different perspectives, and this is the beauty and challenge of history-making. The Handbook of the Historiography of Biology presents an opportunity to engage with each other about how the history of biology has been and will be written.
Michael R. Dietrich is Professor and Chair of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He studied Philosophy and Biology at Virginia Tech before earning a doctorate in Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. As a historian and philosopher of twentieth-century biology, his primary interests are in the nature of scientific controversy. In numerous scholarly articles and chapters, he has explored controversies in evolutionary genetics and molecular evolution, as well as controversial figures, such as the émigré geneticist Richard Goldschmidt. He has coedited several books including Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology with Oren Harman (2007), The Educated Eye: Visual Culture and Pedagogy in the Life Sciences with Nancy Anderson (2012), Biology Outside the Box: Boundary Crossers and Innovation in the Life Sciences with Oren Harman (2013), and Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences with Oren Harman (2018). He is currently writing a book on genetic drift with Roberta Millstein and Robert Skipper entitled Survival of the Luckiest: Perspectives on the History and Philosophy of Random Drift in Evolutionary Biology, as well as a biography of Richard Goldschmidt.
Mark E. Borrello, Associate Professor of History of Science in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and Director of the Program in the History of Science and Technology, at the University of Minnesota, studied history and philosophy of science at Indiana University earning a doctorate in 2002. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, he was a visiting assistant professor at the Lyman Briggs School at Michigan State University. As a historian and philosopher of biology, his primary interests are in the development of evolutionary theory in the late-19th and 20th centuries. In numerous scholarly articles and chapters, he has explored the debate over the levels of selection idea from Darwin to the present. His 2010 book on this topic, Evolutionary Restraints: The Contentious History of Group Selection, was published by the University of Chicago Press. He is currently engaged in an investigation of the nature of individuality in developmental and evolutionary contexts. He has published on this topic with his colleagues Michael Travisano, William Ratcliff and Ford Denison (PNAS 2012). His work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.
Oren Harman is the Chair of the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society at Bar Ilan University and Senior Research Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, where he hosts the public series "Talking About Science in the 21st Century" and the Science and Creativity Group. He was trained in history and biology at the Hebrew University, Oxford, and Harvard, and is a historian of science and a writer. He teaches evolutionary theory, history and philosophy of science, and writing. His books include The Man Who Invented the Chromosome (Harvard, 2004), Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2018), and the co-edited trilogy, with Michael Dietrich, Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology (Yale, 2008), Outsider Scientists (Chicago, 2013), and Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences (Chicago, 2018). His book The Price of Altruism (W.W. Norton, 2010) (Bodley Head/Random House, 2010) won the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Book of the Year in Science and Technology, was nominated for the Pulitzer prize, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He is currently working on a book about metamorphosis.