Diversity in American biology, 1900-1940.

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1 Scopus citations


This paper argues both that the decentralized and democratic context in the United States prior to World War II encouraged the development of diverse approaches, programs, and institutional supports for the biological sciences, and that the resulting pluralism is consistent with the complex and messy ways that science is used in a democratic society. This is not a claim that only U.S. science experiences such diversity, nor that the way science plays out in our American form of modified constitutional democracy, are unique. Rather, my intention is to underline the particular character of the diversity and its implications for science and to begin further discussion of this phenomenon. I challenge others to pursue comparative analysis for other places and times, so that we can begin to explore more deeply what meaning this diversity--or the lack thereof--holds for science more generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-52
Number of pages18
JournalHistory and philosophy of the life sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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