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Social History of Knowledge

Code: 106217 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504235 Science, Technology and Humanities FB 1 1


Maria Antonia Marti Escayol

Teaching groups languages

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Sergi Grau Torras


The subject does not require to have taken any specific subjects of the degree.



Objectives and Contextualisation

The subject presents a social and cultural history of knowledge, in a broad sense. It addresses the different mechanisms of construction and circulation of knowledge about nature and society, from an interdisciplinary perspective. Through the historical study of institutions, spaces and objects, and their interaction with diverse protagonists, the changing frontiers of knowledge and the mechanisms of construction of authority and cultural hegemony are analyzed. The course offers the student a critical and renewed vision of the modernization processes that have led to the contemporary era.


  • Identify the various philosophical, ethical and sociological conceptions of science and technology and recognise their evolution throughout history.
  • Innovate in the methods and processes of this area of knowledge in response to the needs and wishes of society.
  • Make critical use of digital tools and interpret specific documentary sources.
  • Produce written papers and give effective oral presentations, adopting the appropriate register in different languages.
  • Recognise the political, social and cultural dimension of science and technology development in the different historical periods.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse the specific vocabulary produced by each of the actors and groups studied.
  2. Apply the knowledge acquired in complex or professional work settings.
  3. Correctly use the specific terminology of social and cultural history.
  4. Describe the natureinterdisciplinary nature of knowledge.
  5. Explain the main aspects of the social history of knowledge using the terminology specific to the discipline.
  6. Express, orally in writing, complex concepts from the historiography of knowledge and classical texts.
  7. Identify the intrinsic methods of history and their relationship to the analysis of specific events.
  8. Identify the main ideas in a text on the subject area and produce a schematic diagram.
  9. Identify the most important changes in conceptions of knowledge and its structure.
  10. Identify the principal historiographic debates on the historical development of knowledge.
  11. Make a plan for producing a paper on the subject area.
  12. Produce organised, correct discourse: oral and written.
  13. Recognise and interpret all kinds of sources in social and cultural history.
  14. Recognise the historical, social and cultural dimension of knowledge.
  15. Relate the elements and factors that intervene in the development of the historical processes.
  16. Take part in debates on historical and present-day events, respecting the opinions of the other participants.
  17. Take part in oral classroom debates from a critical standpoint, using the vocabulary of the discipline.
  18. Work collaboratively and efficiently in teams.


Introduction: The social and cultural historiography of knowledge.
Oral knowledge: Collective knowledge, tacit skills.
Written knowledge: Laws, manuscripts and intellectuals.
Printed knowledge: Books, language and nomenclature.
The classification of knowledge: Taxonomies and encyclopedias.
Visual knowledge: Spaces, images, landscapes.
Material knowledge: Objects, experiments, observations.
Knowledge as a commodity: Exhibitions, fairs and museums.
The organization of knowledge: Academies, universities and societies.
Useful knowledge: Trade, industry and war.
The geography of knowledge: Centers and peripheries.
Knowledge audiences: Readers, students, amateurs.
The frontiers of knowledge: Experts, professionals and authority.
Digital knowledge: Artificial intelligence and globalization.


Theoretical lectures: Presentation of each theme (aims, contents, related texts). 
Practical lectures: Analysis and discussion of the theme's readings.
Personal work: Guided reading of texts, study, elaboration of essays and essay review.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Guided learning exercises 16 0.64 7, 18, 3
theoretical class 33 1.32 2, 12
Type: Supervised      
tutorials 4.25 0.17 1, 10, 15
Type: Autonomous      
Personal study 48 1.92 11
Research and reading. Preparation of exercices 38.75 1.55 1, 4, 11, 9, 10, 17, 16, 15


On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.

There will be a reevaluation exam. Students will obtain a “Not assessed/Not submitted” course grade unless they have submitted more than 30% of the assessment items. To be reevaluated, you must have been evaluated in a set of activities whose weight equals to a minimum of two thirds of the total grade of the subject. The exam will be made on the dates specified by the faculty; will not be to improve grade; the maximum rating is 5.0. 

Misconduct in assessment activities: In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Single assessment.  Title of the evidence: Exam, first part of the course (30%); Exam, Second part of the course exam (30%); Test, lectures (40%).

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Essays (4) 40% 5 0.2 1, 12, 6, 9, 10, 8, 17, 16, 13, 14, 15, 18, 3
Test 1 30% 2.5 0.1 12, 11, 3
Test 2 30% 2.5 0.1 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 7, 10, 8, 15


BERNAL, John D. (1973). Historia social de la ciencia. Edició 3ª ed. Península. Barcelona. (1ª ed. 1954).

BOWLER, Peter J.; MORUS, Iwan Rhys (2007). Panorama general de la ciencia moderna. Crítica. Barcelona.

DEBUS, Allen G. (1985). Hombre y naturaleza en el Renacimiento. Fondo de Cultura Económica. México (1ª ed. 1978).

FARA, Patricia (2009). Breve historia de la ciencia. Ariel. Barcelona

HENRY, John (2002). The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science. Palgrave. New York.

KUHN, Thomas S. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago University Press. Chicago [Trad. cast. KUHN, Thomas S. (2005). La estructura de las revoluciones científicas. Fondo de Cultura Económica de México].

LINDBERG, David (2002 [1992]). Los inicios de la ciencia occidental. Barcelona: Paidós. (Traducción de Antonio Beltrán)

NIETO-GALÁN, Agustí (2011). Los públicos de la ciencia. Expertos y profanos a través de la historia. Cátedra.

OLBY, G.N.; CANTOR, J.R.R.; CHRISTIE, M.J.S.; R.C. HODGE (eds.) (1990). Companion to the History of Modern Science. Routledge. Londres.

OSLER, Margaret J. (ed.) (2000). Rethinking the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge University Press.

SERRES, Michel (ed.) (1998). Historia de las ciencias. Cátedra.

PESTRE, Dominique (2008). Ciència, diners i política: assaig d'interpretació. Obrador Edèndum. Santa Coloma de Queralt.

ROSSI, Paolo (1998). El nacimiento de la ciencia moderna en Europa. Crítica. Barcelona.

SOLIS, Carlos; SELLÉS, Manuel (2005). Historia de la Ciencia. Espasa. Madrid.

WESTFALL, Richard S. (1977). The Construction of Modern Science. Cambridge.

Online resource: https://sabersenaccio.iec.cat/


No specific software is required.