April 2017 HSS News

2017 Osiris Call for Proposals

The Editorial Board of Osiris solicits proposals for Volume 36 which will appear in 2021. Osiris is an international research journal devoted to the history of science and its cultural influences and is a publication of the History of Science Society and the University of Chicago Press.

Osiris aims to connect the history of science with other areas of historical scholarship. Volumes of the journal are designed to explore how, where, and why science draws upon and contributes to society, culture, and politics. The journal’s editors and board members strongly encourage proposals that engage with and examine broad themes while aiming for diversity across time and space. The journal is also very interested in receiving proposals that assess the state of the history of science as a field, broadly construed, in both established and emerging areas of scholarship.

Possible future issues, for example, might consider themes such as: Sexuality; Disability and Mobility; Science, Risk, and Disaster; Science in the Global South and/or Africa; Environments and Populations; Time, Temporality, and Periodization; Ontology and Materiality; and Integrating Histories of Science & Technology.

Proposals should include the following items:

  1. A description of the topic and its significance (approximately 2000 words)
  2. A list of 12 to 15 contributors along with a title and paragraph describing each contributor’s individual essay
  3. A two-page c.v. of the guest editor(s) The guest editor(s) and their contributors must be prepared to meet the Osiris publication schedule. Volume 36 (2021) will go to press— after refereeing, authors’ revisions, and copyediting— in the fall of 2020. The guest editor(s) must therefore choose contributors who are able to submit their completed essays by the summer of 2019.

Proposals will be reviewed by the Osiris Editorial Board at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in November 2017. The announcement of the next volume of Osiris will be made in January 2018.

Proposals and all supporting material should be sent in paper or electronic copy by 15 October 2017 to both:

  • W. Patrick McCray
    Department of History
    University of California, Santa Barbara
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9410
  • Suman Seth
    321 Morrill Hall
    Department of Science and Technology Studies
    Cornell University
    Ithaca, NY 14853

Alice DregerCome to Toronto

HSS’s 2017 annual meeting will be in Toronto, Ontario 9-12 November.

We are especially pleased that Alice Dreger will deliver the Elizabeth Paris Lecture for Social Engagement at the meeting. This promises to be an exciting event that you will not want to miss.

Photo courtesy of Jenny Stevenson Photography

New PhDs Receive a Free Membership to HSS

The HSS would like to celebrate recent graduates’ significant achievement and also encourage them to maintain (or begin) their membership in the HSS. The Society has thus created a free e-membership for those who received their PhD in the prior year and who are no longer eligible for student memberships.

To claim your free membership, go to subfill.uchicago.edu. You will receive all of the regular benefits, including discounted meeting registration, and if you are already a member, your membership (electronic only) will be extended by one year at no cost.

JSTOR for HSS Members

In its strategic plan, HSS identified professional development as one of our six goals. Specifically, the Society is focusing on supporting the “professional development of emerging history of science scholars in and outside the academy.” One of the ways in which the HSS can help our members advance their research and teaching is to facilitate access to the literature, and we are pleased to work with JSTOR to offer a 50% savings on a one year JPASS subscription for members. JPASS, available as monthly or yearly plans, allows you to read whatever journal article you like and enjoy up to 120 PDF downloads a year from the JSTOR archive, an archive with over 7 million articles from 2 thousand journals (including Isis and Osiris), representing some 50 academic disciplines.

In addition to past issues of Isis and Osiris (HSS members have access to the full run of both journals through the University of Chicago Press), members may find the following journals of particular interest:

  • The British Journal for the History of Science
  • Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
  • Science Progress
  • Science, Technology, & Human Values

JSTOR adds new titles to JPASS every month so you’ll have a growing collection of the world’s leading scholarly journals only a click away. HSS members save 50% on a yearly JPASS.

Travel Note

Air travel in the US may become a bit more difficult in January 2018. This is when the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) will start requiring REAL IDs from states. Most states are already in compliance with these regulations, with only four states (Montana, Minnesota, Maine, and Missouri) currently not in compliance (Minnesota offers enhanced drivers licenses, which can be used). TSA does accept other forms of identification, such as passports. For up to date travel information, visit the DHS site.

Going to Brazil?

If you are planning to attend the ISHPSSB in São Paulo and/or the ICHST in Rio de Janeiro, those traveling from the US will need a visa. If applying by mail, please be sure to apply at least 2 months prior to the conference. The fee for tourist visas is $160 US typically in the form of USPS money orders. Please check your local consulate for details.

New Reference Resource: IsisCB Cumulative

Members are reminded of a new open-access reference resource that was launched earlier this year: IsisCB Cumulative. This powerful research tool is a digitized version of the Isis Cumulative Bibliography of the History of Science, spanning sixty years from 1913 to 1975. The full text is available as seven large HTML files corresponding to the seven volumes of the Isis Cumulative Bibliography covering that period.

  • IsisCB Cumulative is a companion to IsisCB Explore, a research tool launched last year that includes data from the Isis Bibliographies from 1974 to the present.
  • IsisCB Cumulative is the result of two years of effort that included scanning, transcribing, and encoding 5000 pages of text. The files contain nearly 154,000 citation records to works in the history of science, all of which are classified by historians of science and subject bibliographers. These include citations to about 83,000 articles, 44,000 books, 20,000 reviews, and 6,000 chapters.
  • The current release of these volumes as individual HTML files is meant to provide temporary access to the digitized data, which will eventually be added to the IsisCB Explore.
  • IsisCB Cumulative and IsisCB Explore contain data accumulated and published annually and semi-annually in the journal Isis since its founding. Established by George Sarton, this bibliography has been continued by various scholars and librarians, including John Neu, Magda Whitrow, Joy Harvey, and, currently, Stephen Weldon.
  • The online publication of IsisCB Cumulative was made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the History of Science Society, the University of Oklahoma Libraries, and the University of Oklahoma History of Science Department. The digitization efforts were overseen by Stephen Weldon, Sylwester Ratowt, and Conal Tuohy. Tuohy parsed the transcribed text and created the HTML file (gitHub for the project). For more information about the Isis bibliographies see the project’s website: http://isiscb.org/. Individuals can
    also contact Stephen Weldon, editor of IsisCB, directly at spweldon@ou.edu.

Gift Card Winners

Four lucky meeting attendees who filled out the post-meeting survey for Atlanta received $25 gift cards for their efforts. Congratulations to Ann Robinson, Josh Eisenthal, Crystal Lee, and Jonathan Grunert. We are grateful for everyone who completed the survey, which helps us improve the annual meeting.

Update from the Forum for the History of Human Science (FHHS)

On 7 November 2016, the Forum elected officers and thanked its outgoing officers for their service. Laura Stark (Vanderbilt University) was elected chair, replacing Jill Morawski. Deborah Weinstein (Brown University) was elected vicechair, replacing Laura Stark. Dana Simmons (University of California-Riverside) was elected Representative One, and Jeremy Blatter (NYU) was elected Representative Three. Earlier in the year, Jacy Young (York University) accepted the position of Treasurer-Secretary, filling the enormous shoes left by Nadine Weidman (Harvard University), who transitioned out after years of steadfast service.

The Forum announced its call for prize nominations. FHHS and the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Science (JHBS) encourage researchers in their early careers to submit unpublished manuscripts for the annual John C. Burnham Early Career Award, named in honor of this prominent historian of the human sciences and past-editor of JHBS. The publisher provides the author of the paper an honorarium of US $500

The Forum also awards a biennial prize (a nonmonetary honor) for the best article published recently on some aspect of the history of the human sciences. The article prize is awarded in odd-numbered years, and the winner of the prize is announced at the annual History of Science Society meeting. Entries are encouraged from authors in any discipline, as long as the work is related to the history of the human sciences, broadly construed, and is in English. To be eligible, the article must have been published within the three years previous to the year of the award. Preference will be given to authors who have not won the award previously.

On the subject of prizes, the Forum celebrated Whitney Laemmli, who recently finished a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania and who won the Forum’s 2016 Dissertation Prize for her submission, “The Choreography of Everyday Life: Rudolf Laban and the Making of Modern Movement.” Prize Committee members Joy Rohde (chair), Dennis Bryson, and Susan Lamb shared their admiration for Laemmli’s work with audience members in Atlanta. In her work, Laemmli follows Labanotation—an inscription technology originally designed to record bodily movements in dance—from its origins in Weimar Germany through its surprising manifestations in the US human sciences in the second half of the twentieth century. Developed by Hungarian choreographer Rudolf Laban in the 1920s, Labanotation was originally created to record and preserve the ephemeral movements of dancers in a standardized symbolic language. But because it promised to use the visible movement of bodies to reveal the invisible content of human psyches, scholars from fields ranging from corporate management to psychology to folklore found it a valuable research tool. In the hands of management consultants, Labanotation became a device for reading prospective employees’ body language and identifying the ideal corporate citizen. Psychologists drew on the method to lay bare the maladies of damaged, uncommunicative minds, and rehabilitate them through movement therapy. And anthropologists and folklorists used Labanotation to reveal the traces of human migration and cultural origins hidden in the dance movements of ethnic minorities endangered by the culturally oppressive modern world. The committee was particularly impressed by the scope and depth of Laemmli’s analysis. As she ranges across Labanotation’s unexpected multi-disciplinary career, she attends carefully to its sociopolitical implications. In particular, she explores the tensions between individual agency and social harmony, autonomy and surveillance, and the freedom and control that Labanotation’s users sought to reconcile through their efforts to choreograph modern life. The result is an insightful and strikingly original dissertation that calls attention to the persistence of the body and embodiment as salient factors in the twentieth century human sciences.

HSS, the Humanities, and Washington DC

HSS Executive Director Jay Malone represented the Society at the annual meeting of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) on 13 March 2017. The NHA, of which HSS is a member, was formed in the 1980s to advocate on behalf of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and other humanities efforts funded by the federal government. The keynote speaker was American Association for the Advancement of Science Director Rush Holt. Dr. Holt began by saying that he treasures the saying “History: Now More than Ever,” and recognizes the importance of a historical understanding of science. He spoke of the Flexner Report and the usefulness of “useless” knowledge and that legislators need to hear arguments that emphasize hope, the future, and the respect for evidence. He encouraged those in the audience to relay to government officials and the public the narrative of evidence, rather than making simple assertions. He pointed out that the US is an empirical culture and that the word “experiment” appears in the Federalist Papers more often than the word “democracy.” Our task, he claimed, is to show the public the origins of evidence, how it has been subjected to review, and what it means to have reliable knowledge.

Taking these ideas to heart, scholars and directors from 45 states descended on Capitol Hill the following day, undeterred by forecasts of heavy snowfall to make these arguments in legislators’ offices. Malone, who is based at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, visited the offices of both of Indiana’s senators and most of the offices for the congressional districts (the storm called Stella affected most of the morning appointments). He was pleased that the aides with whom he met were receptive and positive about the value of the humanities and the work done by the NEH, by Title VI and Fulbright-Hays, by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Congress, rather than the Executive Branch, controls the purse strings in the US).

Such advocacy would not be possible without our members, and such advocacy is a little noticed but important byproduct of your membership in the HSS. Thank you!

Friday Harbor 2017

True to its long-standing custom, the Columbia History of Science Group met at the Friday Harbor Marine Lab in the beautiful San Juan Islands, Washington, US (a meeting venue that is unsurpassed in its beauty). HSS President Janet Browne gave the Nancy and Norman Benson keynote lecture on 3 March: “Rethinking the Darwinian Revolution.” The talk was followed by a full day of papers, good food, and great camaraderie. The Friday Harbor meeting should be on every historian of science’s bucket list.

Attendees at the 2017 Columbia History of Science Group

Attendees at the 2017 Columbia History of Science Group