Volume 3 Issue 2 (2007): On Beyond Interdisciplinarity
Reframing the Structures

History of Science as Interdisciplinary Education in American Colleges: Its Origins, Advantages, and Pitfalls

Paula Viterbo
Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Published November 13, 2007
  • college education,
  • history of medicine,
  • history of science,
  • interdisciplinarity,
  • transdisciplinarity


Before 1950, history of science did not exist as an independent academic branch, but was instead pursued by practitioners across various humanities and scientific disciplines. After professionalization, traces of its prehistory as a cross-disciplinary area of interest bound to an interdisciplinary, educational philosophy have remained. This essay outlines the development of history of science as an interdisciplinary academic field, and argues that it constitutes an obvious choice for inclusion in an interdisciplinary academic program, provided faculty and administrators learn how best to manage its advantages and pitfalls.