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History of Science and Ideas at the University of Oulu is the only one of its kind in Finland. The staff consists of a professor and three university lecturers. In 2014 there are about twelve doctoral students in the discipline and ca. ten students attain their MA-degrees annually.
History of Science and Ideas has two interrelated perspectives on history. History of ideas or intellectual history focuses on beliefs, hopes and fears of past peoples – on the ways in which people have thought about society, nature and human nature. Intellectual historians also study ideologies, concepts and all kinds of “isms” or belief systems, such as liberalism, socialism and nationalism. These phenomena and ideas are related to the scientific modes of thought, but also to the spheres of economy, politics and religion. Here in Oulu, researchers study the Enlightenment and its legacy, utopianism and a wide spectrum of political ideas from conservatism to anarchism.
History of science explores changes in the understanding of science and how scientific practices have evolved over time. Traditionally, emphasis has been on medicine and natural sciences, but research on the human sciences is equally important. In Oulu, research topics include history of medicine, psychology and psychiatry as well as the physical sciences and the scientific revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries. Historians of science are also examining how scientific data has been collected and analysed, what sort of knowledge has been considered “scientific” and how science interlinks with politics, culture and ideologies.
Last updated: 5.11.2014