BA (Lancaster), PhD (Leeds)Chris Renwick is a Lecturer in Modern British History. He joined the department in January 2010 after completing his PhD in the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds.
Chris works on the history of the biological and social sciences since the mid-nineteenth century. His main interest is in the history of debates about the relationship between biology, society, and culture. He first explored these debates in his doctoral research on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British sociology, which charted how the discipline’s identity was founded on a rejection of biosocial science.
Since turning his doctoral thesis into a book, which is being published by Palgrave Macmillan, Chris has been working on two projects. The first concerns the role of biological ideas and evolutionary thought in economics. This research is currently focused on the economist William Beveridge's failed attempt to establish a science called "social biology" at the London School of Economics during the 1920s and 1930s, which intersected with the Great Depression debates involving Lionel Robbins, Friedrich Hayek, and John Maynard Keynes.
The second is a collaborative project involving Mark Roodhouse from the Department of History and Mike Savage and Rowan Atkinson from the Department of Sociology. This project is a feasbility study, focused on the Rowntree Archives held in the Borthwick, which is examining how York's history as a site of social science investigation might be used to write new, longitudinal histories of things like class during the twentieth century, as well as the methods social scientists have used to engage with these issues.
Chris' long term aim is to bring these two projects together to write a history of the intellectual and methodological interaction between the natural and social sciences in twentieth-century Britain.
Chris is currently on research leave