Elizabeth Eisenstein’s Characterization Of The Impact Of Print On The Development Of Science

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The main question this paper addresses is:

 “What does Adrian Johns’ think is wrong with Elizabeth Eisenstein’s characterization of the impact of print on the development of science?

The book is: the printing revolution in early modern Europe by Elizabeth Eisenstein – must be able to quote the book and have access to the book

The goal of this paper is to focus your attention on understanding and clearly communicating the respective authors’ positions.

Note: Occasionally, I think this and similar assignments can feel like being asked to regurgitate something – read it, spit it back out. What I’d like to highlight is that I think it’s a bit more like reading a complicated and disorganized recipe and finding a way to simplify it into something that someone else could cook, while still staying true to the original dish. Even for a professor, that’s a very difficult task. It’s also a necessary first step to critical analysis and “position-taking.”

To be be successful, you’ll need to do several things (I strongly recommend doing these in the following order):

  • Explain (aka summarize, in your own words) what Eisenstein thinks print contributes to the development of modern science. This should be 1 or 2 paragraphs.
  • To illustrate that, use Tycho Brahe and Galileo as examples.1 or 2 paragraphs
  • What is Adrian Johns’ main critique of Eisenstein’s argument and what does he say to explain and substantiate his point? (Summarize in your own words, 1 or 2 paragraphs).
  • How does he interpret the examples of Tycho Brahe and Galileo, e.g., what do they think they illustrate instead? Note that this part is an explicit comparison with Eisenstein. (1-2 paragraphs )
  • The paper must be between ~ 1250 -1500 words.
  • You may only cite Eisenstein or Johns – stick to these course materials.
  • You need to include page numbers with in-text citations, but you do not need a bibliography or works cited page.
  • You will need to select good examples from the text to help illustrate both Eisenstein’s and Johns’ ideas: plan on having at least 2 quotes from each author.
  • Your goal is to summarize in such a way that someone from outside the class would understand these authors’ disagreement: read it to a parent, your roommate, your boss, etc. (This means you may need to provide some simple background information at first).
  • It needs to be in a professional format, but I don’t have specific preferences. By “professional” I mean things like, no comic sans, no colored text, etc.

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