History of Science, Technology and Medicine News of the Consortium

As the semester draws to a close, Consortium fellows have already conducted nearly thirty research trips to the collections of member institutions. Their work covers a wide range of different periods, locations, and topics. Fellows’ recent research reports, which can be found on the Consortium website, highlight some of the diversity and originality that make the Consortium so vibrant. They examine the production of new knowledge and practice in science, technology and medicine, often focusing on issues of race, gender and class in their analyses. Fellows’ work in the history of medicine has a strong global focus — two recent projects explore a global history of Leishmaniases as well as the education of midwives in early modern France. History of computing has been central to projects in the history of technology, with work on computers as tools for education during the Cold War and on the material and human dimensions of computer modeling. And in the history of science, fellows have been working on understanding the history of collecting and the maintenance of collections, from Samuel Morton’s skulls, to tropical botanical specimens.

In addition to supporting fellows’ research, the Consortium is host to several new working groups on specialized topics. Consortium working groups continue to engage scholars from across the world. Like fellows’ projects, the new working groups favor geographical diversity and methodological originality. The “History of Science in Asia” group aims to bring an overtly decolonial perspective to history of science. “Sciences of the Senses” explores scientific efforts to understand human senses. “Measuring Aurality” takes an interdisciplinary approach to sound, technology, and disability. Working groups that will launch soon include “Evolution and Heredity in Brazil”, which brings together history of agricultural science and eugenics; “Under Tropical Skies”, focuses on equatorial atmospheric and meteorological science; and “Malingering and Social Welfare Policy”, explores social and political definitions of wellness and sickness. Here is more information on the currently active working groups:

 New Working Group Opportunities
Propose a New Online Working Group
Proposals Due: January 6, 2020
The Consortium invites proposals for new online working groups focusing on specialized topics in the history of science, technology or medicine. Groups are hosted through the Consortium’s website. Individuals or groups can participate from anywhere via video conference. Participation will be promoted among the Consortium’s members, fellows and larger community.

Working groups foster a collegial and challenging environment for scholars at all levels to work in small groups, discussing works-in-progress and other literature on specialized topics.

Proposals should identify at least six scholars committed to attending between four and eight meetings, held either weekly during the summer of 2020 or monthly during the 2020-2021 academic year. Proposals should include a one-page abstract on the scope and purpose of a working group and brief biographical statements from two or three scholars who will serve as conveners. Proposals should indicate whether the proposed working group is part of, or arises from, a larger project, conference session or other collaboration.

Applications are due no later than January 6, 2020.
To submit a proposal, please go to https://www.chstm.org/ProposeWG. Please email info@chstm.org with any questions regarding working group proposals.

 Fellows Updates
Jonson Miller
Associate Teaching Professor Drexel University
2014 to 2015 Research Fellow

Lever Press will publish Miller’s book Engineering Manhood: Race and the Antebellum Virginia Military Institute in May 2020.

Katherine Reinhart
Ph.D., History of Art, University of Cambridge
2019 to 2020 NEH Postdoctoral Fellow

Katherine, along with colleague Sietske Fransen, guest edited a special issue of Word & Image, “The Practice of Copying in Making Knowledge in Early Modern Europe” 2019, vol. 35, issue 3, and co-wrote the introduction and one of the articles.

Yuan Yi
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
2017 to 2018 Research Fellow

Yuan Yi was awarded the 2019 Levinson Prize for her paper “Custom-Made Machines in the Era of Mass Production” by the Society for the History of Technology. She is also organizing a conference entitled “Rethinking Craft in Postindustrial Society,” to be held at Columbia University on December 13, 2019.

 Fellows Reports
Check out recent research reports from our 2018-2019 fellows:

Paul Wolff Mitchell
Ph.D. Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
2018 to 2019 Keith S. Thomson Research Fellow
Human Remainders: The Lost Century of the Samuel George Morton Collection

Alana Staiti
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University
2018 to 2019 Research Fellow
Model Bodies: The Art, Science, and Craft of Human Modeling for 3-D Computer Graphics and Animation, 1960-1995

Ashley Inglehart
Ph.D., Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, Indiana University
2018 to 2019 NEH Postdoctoral Fellow
Seminal Ideas: The Forces of Generation for Robert Boyle and his Contemporaries

Geoff Bill
Ph.D. New York Botanical Gardens
2018 to 2019 Research Fellow
Fields of Empire: Science, Ethnoscience and the Making of the American Century

 Collections Updates
Adler Planetarium announces new Chicago’s Night Sky exhibitIn a corner of the Adler Planetarium’s new Chicago’s Night Sky exhibit, a display containing two iPads invites guests to “help us learn about constellations across cultures and centuries.”
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia adds Silas Weir Mitchell papers to digital collections.

The Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is pleased to announce a major new addition to its digital collections with the online publication of much of their primary source material related to the life and work of Silas Weir Mitchell (1829-1914).

Wellcome Collection Makes Papers of the UK Health Education Council and Health Education Authority Available for Research.

A remarkable archive that richly documents British health promotion campaigns in the late twentieth century is now available for researchers at Wellcome Collection.

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Michelle Smiley
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History of Art, Bryn Mawr
Wyeth Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts
2016 to 2017 Dissertation Fellow

...my time as a fellow was a rare opportunity to make connections from outside my field to create a fuller and more complex context for my work…

Frederick Davis
Professor of History and the R. Mark Lubbers Chair in the History of Science in the Department of History at Purdue University
Co-convenor of the CHSTM Working Group on Earth and Environmental Sciences

…Over the past decade, the Consortium has emerged as one of the leading international centers for the history of science, technology, and medicine…

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