Mi Gyung Kim, Affinity, That Elusive Dream: A Genealogy of the Chemical Revolution (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003)
Guiliano Pancaldi, Volta: Science and Culture in the Age of Enlightenment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003)
To challenge the presumed isolation of the scientific method from social concerns and forces, to question the inevitability of progress, to explore the ideological and polemical aspects of science—all these are by now goals commonly stated in historical studies of science. In the quest for these desiderata over the past twenty years or so, historians of science have in many cases distanced themselves from intellectual history in its idealist, disembodied form. However, in spite of salutary moves to analyze instruments, laboratory practices, visual representations, instituions and politics, a great deal of the raw material for the history of science remains textual, very often in the form of print. And, as the existence of this journal attests, intellectual history has retooled to take seriously the contexts for ideas and intellectual movements. At the present moment, when intellectual historians and historians of science are allied in the game of contextualizing our subjects, it is worth considering how current scholarship is working to define multi-layered contexts for scientific ideas and the texts in which they appear.