Participation in Baruch College's inter-disciplinary faculty
development project on "Darwin and Darwinism" has been an eye-opening experience for me as an historian of science and
medicine. The opportunity to discuss the intellectual aspects of
topics that are central to my discipline with interested and
committed colleagues in a wide range of fields has been
gratifying. Too rarely on college campuses does a faculty member
meet with colleagues outside his or her own department for
engaged intellectual interchange, rather than for committee
meetings with administrative purposes. The conversations and
seminar meetings have provided me with insights, questions, and
new interests to complement the studies I had undertaken over the
years both for teaching and my own learning.
My first professional publication, in 1970, concerned the
introduction of glacial theory into British geology, a story in
which the young Charles Darwin made a significant appearance.
Since the 1970s I have taught courses on Darwin and Darwinism at
several universities. Further, evolutionary theory is a major
segment in the survey courses I have offered on the history of
science. Darwinism plays a far smaller role in my course on the
history of health care in America since 1800, but many of the
same issues shape my understanding of and teaching about the
revolutionary innovations in bacteriology and animal physiology
of the late nineteenth century. Darwinism is also a major
episode with respect to the examination of science in the popular
media that forms a central theme of my recent research and
publications on nineteenth-century medical breakthroughs.
The History Department of the Weissman School of Arts and
Sciences at Baruch has a long-standing commitment to intellectual
history and to the historical study of health and welfare issues,
with a number of faculty members teaching a range of courses in
these areas. In the spring term of 1999, I expect to be adding a
new upper-level undergraduate course on the history of science
and technology. In this courses, where we anticipate enrollment
from students with majors in business, natural science, history,
and other subjects, I hope to be able to re-create the kinds of
exciting cross-disciplinary ferment among students that the
Darwin project first fostered among faculty members in our
seminar and then disseminated more widely through the College's
Charles Feit undergraduate seminars and other courses.
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS by Bert Hansen on aspects of science in
culture (chronological order):
- "The Early History of Glacial Theory in British Geology," The
Journal of Glaciology 9 (1970), 135-141.
- "Medical Education in New York City in 1866-1867: A Student's
Notebook of Professor Budd's Lectures on Obstetrics at New York
University," in two parts, New York State Journal of Medicine 85,
No. 8 (August 1985), 488-498, and No. 9 (September
1985), 548-559. This article was honored with the Laurance D.
Redway Annual Award For Excellence in Medical Writing by the
Medical Society of the State of New York in 1986.
- "The Complementarity of Science and Magic Before the Scientific
Revolution," American Scientist (March 1986), pp. 128-136. This
article was reprinted in Good Writing: A Guide and Sourcebook for
Writing Across the Curriculum by Linda Simon (St. Martin's Press,
1988), pp. 278-296, as a exemplary expository essay.
- "La réponse américaine à la victoire de Pasteur contra la rage:
Quand la médecine fait pour la première fois la `une'," in
L'Institut Pasteur: Contributions à son histoire ed. Michel
Morange (Paris: La Découverte, 1991), pp. 89-102.
- "American Physicians' `Discovery' of Homosexuals, 1880-1900: A
New Diagnosis in a Changing Society," Chapter 6 in Framing
Disease: Studies in Cultural History ed. Charles E. Rosenberg and
Janet L. Golden (Rutgers University Press, 1992), pp. 104-133;
second printing, 1996. This chapter was reprinted as Chapter 1
in Sickness and Health in America: Readings in the History of
Medicine and Public Health ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald
L. Numbers (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), third
edition, pp. 13-31.
- "The Image and Advocacy of Public Health in American Caricature
and Cartoons from 1860 to 1900," American Journal of Public
Health 87:11 (November 1997), 1798-1807.
- "America's First Medical Breakthrough: How Popular Excitement
about a French Rabies Cure in 1885 Raised New Expectations of
Medical Progress," American Historical Review 103:2 (April 1998),
Darwin and Darwinism home page
Last updated 15 August 1998 (BH/JHW)