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Scientists and Pigs: A Conversation with Henry Cowles and Jamie Kreiner

Scientists and Pigs: A Conversation with Henry Cowles and Jamie Kreiner
Event date: 
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Event Location

Avid Bookshop on Zoom

Good news and bad news, Avid Readers. The bad news: you missed this event. The good news: we have a recording of it on the ever-growing Avid Bookshop YouTube channel, so you can watch on demand whenever you'd like by clicking here

Avid Bookshop presents Scientists and Pigs: A Conversation with Henry Cowles and Jamie Kreiner featuring their books The Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey (Cowles) and Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West (Kreiner). This virtual author event will take place on Wednesday, March 3 , 2021, from 7pm - 8pm EST via Zoom.

To attend this event, purchase a ticket (or select a no-cost ticket). You will receive a Zoom link via email one hour before the event begins. Please purchase your tickets early as ticket sales will be cut off at 7pm EST on 3/3/21. We have 3 ticketing options:

  • Pay-What-You-Can ticket & book (The Scientific Method and/or Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West) bundle
  • Pay-What-You-Can ticket only (no book)
  • No-cost ticket to get Zoom event access only (no book)

Please support Athens, Georgia's only independent bookshop (and our authors, of course!) by purchasing their books from Avid Bookshop here and here.


The Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey is the surprising history of the scientific method--from an evolutionary account of thinking to a simple set of steps--and the rise of psychology in the nineteenth century. The idea of a single scientific method shared across specialties and teachable to ten-year-olds, is just over a hundred years old. For centuries prior, science had meant a kind of knowledge, made from facts gathered through direct observation or deduced from first principles. But during the nineteenth century, science came to mean something else: a way of thinking. The Scientific Method tells the story of how this approach took hold in laboratories, the field, and eventually classrooms, where science was once taught as a natural process. Henry M. Cowles reveals the intertwined histories of evolution and experiment, from Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection to John Dewey's vision for science education. Darwin portrayed nature as akin to a man of science, experimenting through evolution, while his followers turned his theory onto the mind itself. Psychologists reimagined the scientific method as a problem-solving adaptation, a basic feature of cognition that had helped humans prosper. This was how Dewey and other educators taught science at the turn of the twentieth century--but their organic account was not to last. Soon, the scientific method was reimagined as a means of controlling nature, not a product of it. By shedding its roots in evolutionary theory, the scientific method came to seem far less natural, but far more powerful. This book reveals the origin of a fundamental modern concept. Once seen as a natural adaptation, the method soon became a symbol of science's power over nature, a power that, until recently, has rarely been called into question.

Henry Cowles is a historian of modern science and medicine. His research and teaching focus on the sciences of mind and brain, evolutionary theory, and the experimental ideal in the United States and Great Britain. In addition to the History Department, he is affiliated with the Science, Technology, & Society Program, the Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History, and the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science. Current projects include a study of the relationship between tools and theories in psychology and psychiatry since 1800 and a history of habit from the celebration of daily routine in Thoreau's Walden to the rise of “persuasive technologies" in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West is an exploration of life in the early medieval West, using pigs as a lens to investigate agriculture, ecology, economy, and philosophy. In the early medieval West, from North Africa to the British Isles, pigs were a crucial part of agriculture and culture. In this fascinating book, Jamie Kreiner examines how this ubiquitous species was integrated into early medieval ecologies and transformed the way that people thought about the world around them. In this world, even the smallest things could have far‑reaching consequences. Kreiner tracks the interlocking relationships between pigs and humans by drawing on textual and visual evidence, bioarchaeology and settlement archaeology, and mammal biology. She shows how early medieval communities bent their own lives in order to accommodate these tricky animals—and how in the process they reconfigured their agrarian regimes, their fiscal policies, and their very identities. In the end, even the pig’s own identity was transformed: at the close of the early Middle Ages, it had become a riveting metaphor for Christianity itself.

Jamie Kreiner is an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia whose research focuses on the early Middle Ages. She is the author of The Social Life of Hagiography in the Merovingian Kingdom.

The Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674976191
Availability: In our warehouse - should ship in 5-7 business days.
Published: Harvard University Press - April 14th, 2020

Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West (Yale Agrarian Studies Series) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300246292
Availability: In our warehouse - should ship in 5-7 business days.
Published: Yale University Press - October 27th, 2020

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