Call for Contributors: “Bridging the Local and the Global Through the Histories of Science, Medicine, Technology, and the Environment”


Among the most important and exciting trends in recent historical scholarship has been the shift toward international, transnational, and global studies of the past. By moving beyond the nation-state as a primary category of analysis, historians have begun to consider the ways that people, commodities, and ideas traverse geographical borders. They have worked to recover the histories of international organizations, both governmental and non-state. They have analyzed the reciprocal and hybrid
nature of global exchanges. Thinking and practicing history transnationally has become a central analytical tool of the historical discipline.

For all its value, however, this methodological and historiographical reorientation has suffered from one major drawback: by prioritizing global perspectives, historians risk neglecting local actors and events. International and transnational histories frequently overlook the lived experiences of ordinary, everyday people. They often struggle to consider the ways that globalizing influences are contested, resisted, or appropriated by those on the receiving end. In an attempt to identify global patterns and processes, too much of this scholarship has tended to obscure the heterogeneity that characterizes the world.

Fortunately, some historians have managed to avoid this problem. Indeed, some of the most innovative scholarship in recent years has worked to recover and interrogate the connections between these two planes. It has succeeded, in other words, in bridging the local and the global.

Call for papers

Building from this work, we are assembling a volume of essays that bridge the local and the global through the histories of science, medicine, technology, and the environment. We seek contributors who explore the relationship of different locales or regions to the wider world using one (or more) of these disciplinary lenses. Topics might include the diffusion and reception of scientific knowledge and tools; the cross-border spread of epidemic diseases and efforts to contain them; or the ways that geological or meteorological phenomena connect distant places. Together, the essays will show the value of integrating the histories of science, medicine, technology, and the environment into the burgeoning field of global history, while also demonstrating the importance of linking local and global actors, events, and processes.

The University of Pittsburgh Press has expressed a strong interest in this project. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a major grant to the University of Pittsburgh for a publishing initiative in the history of science that is being pursued by the University of Pittsburgh Press in a close partnership with Pitt’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science and the Department of History’s World History Center. The grant supports publication of innovative work in the history of science.

Historical titles that are globally informed and that reach across traditional disciplinary boundaries are given special attention.

Articles should be 7,000-8,000 words in length, including references. Please send abstracts of approximately 500 words and a short biography to Drs. Julia F. Irwin ( and Michael Krysko (; queries can also be sent to those addresses. The deadline for abstract submission is May 1, 2014. We will respond to submissions by early June, and contributors are expected to submit first drafts by December 31, 2014.

Deadline: May 1, 2014

Posted: March 18, 2014