Research Clusters

The heart of the Center is formed by six inaugural Research Clusters led by Columbia and Barnard faculty currently engaged in the study of science and society. These projects are designed to maximize collaborative research among a variety of disciplines, and to lay the foundation for joint teaching and curriculum development.



The Making and Knowing Project

Historians have long acknowledged the foundational importance of craft knowledge to the development of modern science. This research cluster advances scholarship in the history of science by investigating the descriptions of workshop practice contained in an unpublished sixteenth-century manuscript. A diverse range of humanities students and scholars working alongside scientists in both a digital workspace and a laboratory are involved in reconstructing the technical procedures contained in this historical source.


Big Data and Science Studies

Big Data and Science Studies Research Cluster aims to bring together the new tools and techniques of large-scale digital humanities with the critical resources of science studies. This cluster focuses on the history and the social, political and ethical ramifications of data mining and big data.

Environmental Sciences and Humanities

This cluster will bring together scholars in the ecological and earth sciences, economics, political science, anthropology, philosophy, history, geography, and literature to explore the possibilities for an integrated approach to environmental problem-solving.

Global Histories of Science

This research cluster engages in an interdisciplinary study of science in society that focuses on understudied places, peoples and periods. Whereas in the past the approach to the history of science in Asia or Africa has so far primarily been traced in reference to some abstract notion of “the West,” the aim of this cluster is to explore a broader, more inclusive and interlinked history of science among regions or geographies.


Center for New Narratives in Philosophy

The history of science as a discipline emerged from the history of philosophy in the early twentieth century. Its initial institutionalization took place mainly in departments of history and philosophy of science. Projects in this cluster have a common aim: to revitalize philosophy as a discipline through a re-conceptualization of its past and to provide materials for research and curriculum development for the history and philosophy of science. This Cluster aims at a broad audience, namely, anyone interested in philosophy’s past and present.


Science and Subjectivity

The Research Cluster on Science and Subjectivity is focused on courses and projects involving science, subjectivity and service; our research program is composed of projects of this sort initiated by our undergraduates.

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