Lichtenberg-Kolleg - The Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study

Prof. Roy M. MacLeod

August to December 2012
Ph.D., DLitt, Professor em. for History, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI), University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Studied History and Science at Harvard University and History and History of Science at Cambridge University and London School of Economics. Honorary doctorate from the University of Bologna.


Research Project
The Social Role of the Man of Knowledge

Recent scholarship has drawn fresh attention to the changing roles and responsibilities of scientific experts and technical expertise in modern society. In a tradition that extends back to Max Weber and Karl Mannheim, Florian Znaniecki and Jürgen Habermas, historians and sociologists have debated the Enlightenment origins of the ›social contract‹ between producers of new knowledge, the institutions they create, and the consequences for which they are held accountable. For the last five decades, the emerging discipline of the ›social studies of science‹ has set itself the task of illuminating these intersections of knowledge and power.
My work at Goettingen will focus on just two of these intersections, in two related studies. The first examines the changing relationship between civilian science and the military during the Great War, and its influence on post-war thinking. The second explores the global movement devoted to ›Wissenschaft und Freiheit‹ and the defence of ›scientific autonomy‹ that emerged in the West after 1945, and which proved an enduring feature of the Cold War.
To this work, I will bring my experience as editor of the journals ›Social Studies of Science‹ (co-editor, 1971-1992) and ›Minerva‹ (editor, 2000-2008), both of which have contributed significantly to the exploration of these issues. Whilst in Goettingen, I plan also to study the history of the natural sciences within this remarkable Enlightenment university, and to encourage wider interest in Wissenschaftskultur through conferences and symposia on academic collecting and museum practice.


Selected Publications

MacLeod, R. 2010. The Royal Society and the Commonwealth: Old Friendships, New Frontiers. Notes and Records of the Royal Society 64 (Supplement 1): 137-149.

MacLeod, R. 2009. »Discovery and Exploration« in P. J. Bowler and J. V. Pickstone (eds.): The Cambridge History of Science, vol. 6: The Modern Biological and Earth Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 34-59.

MacLeod, R. 2009. The Scientists Go to War: Revisiting Precept and Practice, 1914-1919. Journal of War and Culture Studies 2 (1): 37-51.

MacLeod, R. 2007. »Envoy: The History and Future of Expertise« in C. Rabier (ed.): Fields of Expertise: A Comparative History of Expert Procedures in Paris and London, 1660 to Present. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 339-347.

MacLeod, R. (ed.). 2001. Nature and Empire: Science and the Colonial Enterprise (Osiris, vol. 15). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.