Deborah Coen

Modern Intellectual History, April 2014


At the intersection of the history of science with the history of the family lies the question how science grasps relations of similarity and difference— connections between objects across time and space, whether plants, atoms, or humans. Science is used here in the broad sense of systematic knowledge, both natural and social. I view the household as the space where the emotional practices of cognition are learned; that is, as the training ground for the affective habits of perceiving resemblances and oppositions.3 If, as has often been claimed, science is an “epistemology of common experience,” then it behooves us as historians to understand how scientists come to hold one or another conception of “the common.”

View the paper hereThe Common World: Histories of Science and Domestic Intimacy