This book presents eight papers about important historiographical issues as debated in the history of science in Islamicate societies, the history of science and philosophy of medieval Latin Europe and the history of mathematics as an academic discipline. Six papers deal with themes about the sciences in Islamicate societies from the ninth to the seventeenth centuries, among them novelty, context and decline. Two other papers discuss the historiographical practices of historians of mathematics and other disciplines in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The central argument of the collected papers is that in addition and beyond the study of scientific texts and instruments historians of science in Islamicate societies need to pay attention to cultural, material and social aspects that shaped the scientific activities of the authors and makers of such texts and instruments. It is pointed out that the diachronic, de-contextualized comparison between methods and results of scholars from different centuries, regions and cultures often leads to serious distortions of the historical record and is responsible for the long-term neglect of scholarly activities after the so-called "Golden Age".
The book will appeal in particular to teachers of history of science in Islamicate societies, to graduate students interested in issues of methodology and to historians of science grappling with the unresolved problems of how think and write about the sciences in concrete societies of the past instead of subsuming all extant texts, instruments, maps and other objects related to the sciences under macro-level concepts like Islam or Latin Europe. (CS 1114).