Faculty Profile

James McClellan III

Building: Peirce
Room: 217
Phone: 201.216.5395
Fax: 201.216.8245
Email: [email protected]
School:  College of Arts & Letters
Department:  History / The Freshman Experience
Program:  History

B.A., Columbia College, Columbia University, 1968 (sic)
M.A. Princeton University, 1973
Ph.D., Princeton University, 1975
M. Eng (h.c.), Stevens Institute of Technology, 1998


Prof. McClellan's scholarly and research interests encompass a variety of related areas of inquiry in history and the history of science. They have centered on the history of scientific institutions, scientific publication, norms and practice in science, science and European colonial and imperial expansion, applied science, and the cultural history of Old-Regime France. He has likewise involved himself in historiography and disciplinary self-reflection, and most recently he has turned to examining numismatics as a field tied to historical research.

General Information

Prof. McClellan is an active scholar who has published several major scholarly works, including most recently in 2011 (with François Regourd), The Colonial Machine: French Science and Overseas Expansion in the Old Regime. Earlier books and monographs include Colonialism and Science: Saint Domingue in the Old Regime (1992; reprint ed., 2010) and Science Reorganized: Scientific Societies in the Eighteenth Century (1985). He published Specialist Control: The Publications Committee of the Académie Royale des Sciences (Paris), 1700-1793 in 2003. He is second author along with Robert Halleux and two others of the 2001 imprint, Les Publications de l'Académie Royale des Sciences de Paris (1666-1793), and he has otherwise published extensively on the history of the Académie Royale des Sciences in scholarly articles that have appeared in ISIS, Annals of Science, Revue d'histoire des sciences, Dix-Huitième Siècle, and other publications.

He co-authored with Harold Dorn Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction (1999; 2nd ed., 2006), a volume translated into Chinese, German, Turkish, and Korean. His translation of Sophie de Grouchy's Letters on Sympathy (1798) appeared in 2008, and he edited and contributed to the volume of scholarly essays concerned with the topic, The Applied Science Problem (also 2008). Prof. McClellan has published in other scholarly journals and encyclopedias articles dealing with scientific institutions, science and colonial expansion, the history of botany and botanical gardens, historiography, and the history of science and technology generally. These have appeared in various outlets, including The Cambridge History of Science, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, The Cambridge History of the World, and The Cambridge Dictionary of Modern World History.

In addition to other occasional pieces, Prof. McClellan has written ninety-four book reviews, 1980-2012, for the American Historical Review, Annals of Science, Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Sciences, Bulletin de la Société d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, Bulletin of the History of Medecine, Centaurus, CHOICE, The Historian, ISIS, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Journal of Modern History, Journal of World History, Nuncius, Revue d’Histoire des Sciences, and Science. He is currently completing for publication History and Numismatics: The Jetons of Old-Regime France and Memoirs of a Babyboomer.


A Texas native, James E. McClellan III attended the demonstration school at Teachers College, Columbia University and then public schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, graduating with honors from Central Bucks Joint Regional High School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1964 intending to be a chemistry major. He earned a B.A. in French language and literature from Columbia College, Columbia University in 1968 (sic). He subsequently studied the history of science with Tom Settle and others in the master's program at what was then Brooklyn Polytechnic. He was admitted to join the graduate program in history and philosophy of science at Princeton, where he studied with Charles Gillispie, Thomas S. Kuhn, and Robert Darnton. He earned an M.A. in history in 1973 and a history Ph.D. in 1975 with a dissertation on the international organization of science and learned societies in the eighteenth century. Since that date he has educated himself more broadly in the history of science and technology studies.  

Prof. McClellan came to Stevens Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in 1977, and since 1992 he has been full professor at Stevens, conducting research and teaching history and the history of science in the College of Arts & Letters at Stevens. He was the founding Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Stevens, and over the years he has served in various other administrative and faculty positions, including as Interim Dean of the School of Science and Arts at Stevens and on the Stevens Faculty Council and the Faculty Committee on Promotions and Tenure.

Honors & Awards

Prof. McClellan and his work have been honored with numerous awards. His books have won prizes from the World History Association and the American Philosophical Society. He has twice won the Jess H. Davis Memorial Research Award from Stevens, and he has been awarded an honorary degree from Stevens. He has twice been invited to lecture at the École des Hautes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has been elected a voting member of the International Academy of History of Science. He has twice won the Stevens Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award, as well as having been Henry Morton Distinguished Teaching Professor at Stevens in 1995-1996. He has been granted four sabbatical leaves from Stevens, and he held a Sabbatical Research Fellowship from the American Philosophical Society. Earlier in his career he was awarded educational and research grants from the Institute for International Education and the French government.

Professional Societies

Prof. McClellan is a Lifetime Sustaining Member of the History of Science Society (USA) and voting member of the International Academy of History of Science. He is a Charter Member of the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and a member of the Section for History and Philosophy of Science of the New York Academy of Sciences. Before he retired his membership, for thirty years he was a voting member of Section L of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • HHS 130 History of Science and Technology
  • HHS 301 Introduction to Historical Methods
  • HHS 309 Newton and the Scientific Revolution
  • HHS 310 Social History of Science
  • HHS 361 Scientific Revolution: Galileo
  • HHS 363 Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution
  • HHS 369 Studies in the Scientific Revolution
  • CAL 105 CAL Colloquium: Knowledge, Nature, Culture