September 28th – Immortal Life: The Promises and Perils of Biobanking and the Genetic Archive

Susan Lindee, Projit Bihari Mukharji, and Joanna Radin
American Philosophical Society and the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Thursday, September 28th, 2017 – 6:30PM

Benjamin Franklin Hall
American Philosophical Society
427 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Are we now approaching a time when we could all live, at least in freezers, forever? This public forum explores some of the historical and social questions raised by the “frozen archive.”

Modern collection and storage of biological samples make possible a kind of “immortality” for anyone who has ever had a saliva sample frozen for genealogical testing or a blood sample stored in medical collections. New technologies, like CRISPR for gene editing, expand possible future uses of biological materials stored around the world. The story of Henrietta Lacks, popularized in a book by Rebecca Skloot and an HBO special starring Oprah Winfrey, illustrates the ways that a single person’s cells and tissues can take on lives of their own as research material. In 1953, just before her death, Lacks’s cancer cells yielded the oldest and most common human cell line still used in research.

There has been significant public interest in her remarkable story, but the “immortality” of people like Henrietta Lacks raises pressing questions for all of us. Who owns and controls bodily materials extracted from research subjects and patients? Who can profit from the cells and genes that make us who we are? How do we weigh the value of personal privacy and an individual’s sense of self against the potential for medical progress? How do imbalances of wealth and power influence questions of consent, exploitation, and identity for people who provide biological materials?

Join us for a lively discussion with three scholars whose work has explored the history and contemporary issues surrounding the immortal lives of our cells, tissues, and other biological materials.

This event is free and open to the public. Please Register to Attend.

Susan Lindee is Janice and Julian Bers Professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Chair of the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Her work explores historical and contemporary questions raised by genetics, nuclear weapons and radiation risk. Her books includeSuffering Made RealThe DNA Mystique, and Moments of Truth in Genetic Medicine.

Projit Bihari Mukharji is Associate Professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Nationalizing the Body and Doctoring Traditions. His work focuses on issues of marginality and marginalization both within and through science. His current research is on the history of human difference and race in 20th century South Asia, and how the politics of race, indigeneity and biocolonialism have influenced history.


Joanna Radin is Assistant Professor of the History of Medicine at Yale University. Her 2017 book, Life on Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood, explores these issues and how indigenous activism around the preservation of blood provides new ways to consider their ethical dimensions. She is interested in the history of forward-looking projects in biomedicine, ecology, and anthropology in the 20th century and the politics of preservation and re-use. Her current research is investigating the ways that science fiction has shaped ideas about the future of biomedicine.


Support for this program has been generously provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Technology’s Stories Latest Edition: Energy

Technology’s Stories offers innovative, sharp, and compelling storytelling about technology in society, past and present. It aims to engage scholars, students, and the interested general public with the usable past – with stories that can help us make sense of contemporary technological challenges and aspirations. Pieces are strong on content and light on academic jargon, making them especially suitable for undergraduates.

Technology’s Stories is please to announce their latest edition: Energy This edition includes the following:

Interested in putting together an issue for Technology’s Stories? Or publishing a standalone essay? Please contact them at Technology’s Stories invites contributions from across the spectrum, from graduate students to senior scholars.

Latest Doctoral Dissertations

Attached are the latest batch of recent doctoral dissertations harvested from the issues 77-10 A and B of Dissertation Abstracts related to your subject area.  ProQuest has altered how they put out their individual issues.  No longer do they correlate to one month, so the dating is more random.  Thus titles will range from 2017-yes they have some 2017 dates-back into the early 1900’s.

There is one additional aspect to point out about this latest batch of dissertations.  ProQuest has begun adding numerous titles from many universities world-wide dating back into the early 1900’s.  Not all these earlier titles come with abstracts but should be available for down loading entire copies on line.

Dissertations from 77-10 A and B


Circumscribere is an international online peer-reviewed journal edited by Center Simão Mathias for Studies in the History of Science. It is published twice a year and carries academic articles on history of science, technology and medicine. The journal is 10 years old, and starting in 2017 added audiovisual resources, altmetrics and links to social newtorks, as well as a YouTube channel.

The link to the journal is:



Twitter: @CircumJHC

For further information, contact:

Call for Survey Completion

You’re invited to tell us your thoughts on the HSTM magazine, Viewpoint (even if you don’t read it!) by completing a very quick survey.

Many of you will be familiar with Viewpointthe colour magazine of the British Society for the History of Science, as contributors, readers, or both. Launched in its present form in 2006, it appears as an A4-format publication aimed at a broad readership, featuring articles, opinions, reviews and interviews addressing the history of science, technology and medicine, and drawing on the Society’s Outreach and Education activities. It is sent to subscribing libraries, museums, educational organisations and sent for free to BSHS members, and digital copies are available (after a short delay from the print copy) on the BSHS website.

Viewpoint is more than 10 years old now, and we’d like to find out what you think we’re doing well, and what we could improve. You can help to shape the future of Viewpoint by telling us what you think in just 6 multiple choice questions (plus a box for any other comments) – if you’re not yet a reader, you can still tell us what you think a HSTM magazine should be (and take a look at the digital copies above if you’re interested!).

The July HPS&ST Note Now Available

The July HPS&ST Note is now availble on the web at:

Contents include:

  • Introduction
  • 2017 IHPST Biennial Conference
    • IHPST President’s Report
    • Aydin Sayili and the Turkish 5TL banknote: A First for Historians of Science
    • Turkish Politics
  • In Memoria: Robert Sonné Cohen (1923-2017)
    • Gerald Holton: Bob Cohen: At the Beginning
  • Education Papers at the Division of the History of Science & Technology (DHST) 5th International Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 23 to 29 July 2017
    • Innovative and Engaging Pedagogy in History of Science, Technology and Medicine
    • Using History in Science Education
    • New Histories of Science Education
  • Science and Cultural Content Knowledge: Gratis Article Download
  • Elements in the Philosophy of Biology, Cambridge University Press, Book Series
  • Opinion Page:
  • Recent HPS&ST Research Articles
  • Recent HPS&ST Related Books
  • Coming HPS&ST Related Conferences

This HPS&ST monthly Note is sent to about 7,500 individuals who directly or indirectly have an interest in the connections of history and philosophy of science with theoretical, curricular and pedagogical issues in science teaching, and/or interests in the promotion of more engaging and effective teaching of the history and philosophy of science.  The note is also sent to different HPS lists and to science education lists.

The note seeks to serve the diverse international community of HPS&ST scholars and teachers by disseminating information about events and publications that connect to HPS&ST concerns.  It is an information list, not a discussion list.

Please do feel free to forward this email to any local, national or international lists that whose members you think would appreciate knowing of the Note and its web location.  Forwarding the notification email is a very easy and efficient way of multiplying the readership and so increasing awareness of HPS&ST matters.

Contributions to the note (publications, conferences, Opinion Page, etc.) are welcome and should be sent direct to the editor:  Michael R. Matthews, UNSW, .

Special Issue of “Endeavour”

Danian Hu has organized a special issue of the journal Endeavour concerning Chinese STM in the Cultural Revolution. Six other colleagues (Western and Chinese) have contributed to this special issue of Endeavour, Volume 41, Issue 3 (September 2017):

  1. Introduction: “Despite or Due to the Cultural Revolution: The Development of Chinese Science, Technology, and Medicine in the 1960s and 1970s” by Danian Hu
  2. “Artemisinin and Chinese Medicine as Tu Science” by Jia-Chen Fu
  3. “Barefoot Doctors and the ‘Health Care Revolution’ in Rural China: A Study Centered on Shandong Province” by Sanchun Xu and Danian Hu
  4. “Hua Loo-Keng’s Popularization of Mathematics and the Cultural Revolution” by Jiří Hudeček
  5. “Yuan Longping, Hybrid Rice, and the Meaning of Science in the Cultural Revolution and Beyond” by Sigrid Schmalzer
  6. “Making Breakthroughs in the Turbulent Decade: China’s Space Technology during the Cultural Revolution” by Chengzhi Li, Dehui Zhang, and Danian Hu
  7.  “Manufacturing in the Eye of the Storm: Shen Hong and the Nine Great Installations Project during China’s Cultural Revolution” by Lie Sun and Danian Hu