CfP: Chemical Humanities & History of Chemistry (@HSS/SHOT, Nov 18-21 2021)

The History of Science Society (HSS) will hold its annual meeting on November 18-21, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, concurrently with the meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). Current plans are for an onsite meeting, with accommodations for recorded presentations and a limited number of live online presentations. Meeting details, Call for Papers, and information about travel and dependent care grants are available here.

The History of Science Society Forum for the History of Chemical Sciences (FoHCS) invites proposals of no more than 250 words (2000 characters) for papers for a sponsored session(s) at the 2021 HSS annual meeting on the theme of “Chemical Humanities and History of Chemistry.” Across a range of fields, scholars in the humanities and social sciences are increasingly looking to subject matter and methods involving chemical substances, chemical concepts, and chemical data. This session brings representative work spanning these “chemical humanities” into conversation with scholarship in the history of chemical sciences. We ask, first, how this emerging scholarship might expand the boundaries of the history of chemical sciences, second, how insights from the history of chemical sciences might contribute to such interdisciplinary scholarship, and third, whether and how historians and other “chemical humanists” might productively collaborate with researchers in the chemical sciences themselves.

We would welcome contributions from historians of all specializations (including historians of premodern periods), as well as from scholars of STS, philosophy, anthropology, archaeology, geography, sociology, literature, studies of gender, race, and ethnicity, environmental studies, and food studies, among other fields. Papers might address how chemical knowledge (from any knowledge tradition), chemical practice, and materials themselves might inform or be informed by developments in history, philosophy, religious studies, political science, economics, law, anthropology, printing and publishing, or education. How does chemistry figure in theatre, arts, film, music, and literature? What are the salient chemical dimensions of human-environment interactions? How to overcome boundaries that exclude consideration of chemical aspects of these fields and endeavors, or of these fields and endeavors as “chemical”?

FoHCS will offer support for interested session participants wishing to submit their work to the journal AMBIX for consideration following the meeting.

If you do not wish to submit a paper for this session but are interested in the questions this session raises, be in touch! We’ll keep you in the loop.

Please note the following meeting-wide submission guidelines:

  • As noted above, abstracts should be no more than 250 words / 2000 characters
  • Please include a presentation title
  • Please include an institutional affiliation (or independent scholar) and title
  • Please include selfidentified race/ethnicity and gender (or “prefer not to answer”)
  • Participants need not be HSS members; all participants must register for meeting.
  • Submissions and presentations are subject to HSS guidelines (see meeting webpage)


Please submit proposals to FoHCS chair Evan Hepler-Smith ( no later than Wednesday April 7, 2021. Session organizers will notify all applicants by Tuesday April 13, 2021 and will submit the session proposal to HSS. Any papers we are unable to include in the organized session(s) may be submitted to HSS directly as individual papers or within sessions organized via the HSS collaboration portal (see meeting website). We would also be delighted to consider all proposals for future FoHCS-organized events that may be of interest to the proposer.

Thanks in advance for your submissions!

The Forum for the History of the Chemical Sciences (FoHCS) is a group of scholars and students whose aim is to promote research, education, and communication on the historical, social, and philosophical aspects of chemistry and related chemical sciences and technologies. FoHCS advances this goal by encouraging innovative research and teaching in the history of chemistry and the chemical sciences, improving the visibility of such research within the History of Science Society (HSS), fostering international communication and collaboration between individuals and institutions with an interest in chemical history, and identifying and creating new opportunities and resources for scholars who study the chemical sciences.