News From the Profession – July 2020

Podcasts from the Consortium of History of Science, Technology and Medicine

The consortium shares recent podcasts with HSS members: 

In “The Global Phenomenon of Phrenology,” James Poskett (University of Warwick), author of Materials of the Mind: Phrenology, Race, and the Global History of Science, 1815-1920, draws on such diverse materials as skulls, plaster casts, books and letters, to tell the story of how phrenology changed the world, and how the world changed phrenology in the nineteenth century.

In “Polio Across the Iron Curtain,” Dóra Vargha (University of Exeter), author of Polio Across the Iron Curtain: Hungary’s Cold War with an Epidemic, discusses the history of epidemics, vaccines and public health through the lens of Hungary’s response to a series of polio epidemics during the Cold War period.

In “Frontiers of Science,” Cameron Strang (University of Nevada, Reno), author of Frontiers of Science: Imperialism and Natural Knowledge in the Gulf South Borderlands, 1500-1850, reclaims a continent for science by by recovering the history of such overlooked producers of knowledge as “Indian sages, African slaves, Spanish officials, Irishmen on the make, clearers of land and drivers of men.”

Call for Book Chapters: “Modern Theory and Metatheory of Defense Technology and Science”

Vernon Press invites book chapter proposals on the theme of modern European and Atlantic theory and metatheory of defense technology and science. A complete description of the project may be viewed on the HSS website. Please email proposals for chapters to Dr. Basil Evangelidis (vasevang@ieee.org) by August 1, 2020.

COVID-19 Teaching Resources

Teach311 + COVID-19 is a collective (www.TeachCOVID-19.org) that includes educators, researchers, artists, students, and survivors representing a wide range of countries, languages, and disciplines. Together, they focus on understanding disasters, past and unfolding, through communication and empathy. Check out this new site for COVID-19 teaching resources.

The site is an interdisciplinary resource for people who study and teach about disasters. It has diary entries, field analyses, lectures, videos, and teaching modules.  The site includes:

  • Notes from the Field (for student & general audiences, by scholars)
  • Diary Projects (by undergraduates/graduates especially those situated in the Global South)
  • Teaching Moments (Q&A, teaching reflections by educators)

To contribute or use teaching resources on COVID-19, visit www.teach311.org and get involved. Contact msb@ntu.edu.sg if you want to contribute, with the subject heading “COVID-19 Teaching.”

Two New Resources from the National Humanities Alliance

The NHA is pleased to announce two new resources designed to support the humanities community in making the case for the value of the humanities: 1) Humanities Recruitment Survey: Challenges & Audiences, which shares quantitative survey results from 397 faculty and administrators at 294 institutions and 2) Documenting the Impact of Your Humanities Program, a new toolkit that supports faculty, administrators, and project directors in capturing and communicating about their impact.

NHA staff would be pleased to discuss these resources with you. We are also available to join classes, department meetings, and virtual workshops to discuss how these resources can support case making for the humanities as the pandemic presents new financial and programmatic challenges to humanities educators and organizations.

Humanities Recruitment Survey: Challenges & Audiences

In the summer of 2019, we launched the Humanities Recruitment Survey (HRS) to better understand the challenges faculty and administrators face in attracting students to the humanities, the audiences they are engaging to overcome those challenges, and specific humanities recruitment strategies they have implemented. The first HRS report, Humanities Recruitment Survey: Challenges & Audiences, highlights opportunities for information sharing across institutions to engage additional audiences.

We are conducting additional research into the recruitment strategies surfaced through the survey and will be releasing in-depth reports featuring profiles of a range of strategies beginning this fall.

For additional information or to explore the possibility of a virtual workshop, please contact Study the Humanities project director Scott Muir at smuir@nhalliance.org.

Documenting the Impact of Your Humanities Program: A New Toolkit

Our new toolkit, Documenting the Impact of Your Humanities Program, is aimed at helping the humanities community collect data about the impact of programs such as professional development seminars, public humanities projects, and programs for students that prepare them for college and help them imagine humanities careers. These surveys are designed to support the humanities community in articulating the impact of its work and making the case for the resources to support it.

This toolkit builds on work over the past three years to document the impact of NEH-funded projects. In partnership with directors of public humanities projects, we’ve designed and implemented pre- and post-program surveys that take into account the programs’ immediate goals and their broader social impacts, including impacts on trust, empathy, community connection, and appreciation for and pride in local culture and heritage. Our goal has been to help these partners collect information that makes the case for their work to a range of stakeholders, including funders, organizational leadership, and policymakers. The surveys are designed to be broadly useful for humanities faculty and practitioners in highlighting and evaluating their programs.

For additional information or to arrange a virtual workshop, please contact Cecily Hill, director of community initiatives, at chill@nhalliance.org.

Dissertation Abstracts 79-04 A and B

Here is the latest batch of recent doctoral dissertations harvested from the issues 79-04 A and B of Dissertation Abstracts related to your subject area of the history of science and medicine.

Announcing the 2020-2021 Lemelson Center Fellows and Travel Grantees

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020-2021 fellowships and travel grants!

Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship

  • Kara W. Swanson, JD, PhD
    Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of History, Northeastern University
    Project: Inventing Citizens: Race, Gender, and Patents

Lemelson Center Fellowships

  • Harry Burson
    PhD candidate, Film & Media, University of California, Berkeley
    Project: The World in Stereo: Sound, Space, and Immersion, 1879-1959
  • Ann Daly
    PhD candidate, History, Brown University
    Project: Minting America: Money, Value, and the Federal State, 1784-1858
  • Grace Lees-Maffei, PhD
    Professor, Design History, University of Hertfordshire
    Project: The Hand Book
  • Pallavi R. Podapati
    PhD Candidate, History of Science, Princeton University
    Project: Beyond Boundaries: A History of Paralympic Design and Practice

Lemelson Center Travel Grants

  • Sarah Barnes, PhD
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Sport, Society & Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Project: Investigating the new frontier of human performance: Sleep inventions and innovations in sport
  • Hayley Brazier
    PhD candidate, History, University of Oregon
    Project: The Seafloor and Society: Technological Innovation on the Pacific Seabed since 1898
  • Vivien Hamilton, PhD
    Associate Professor, History of Science, Harvey Mudd College
    Project: Mechanical Womb and Artificial Mother: Designing the Infant Incubator 1900-1950s
  • Sarah Pickman
    PhD candidate, History of Science and Medicine, Yale University
    Project: The Veneer of Outside Things: Objects and the Making of Extreme Environments, 1820-1950
  • Benjamin Siegel, PhD
    Assistant Professor, History, Boston University
    Project: Innovation in the American Narcotic Pharmaceutical Industry

Secrets of Craft and Nature, M&K Edition 640

The Making and Knowing Project celebrates the publication of Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640, a remarkable sixteenth-century manuscript held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). The manuscript contains over 900 recipes for making art objects, medical remedies, and materials for the household and workshop. Its observations on craft workshop practices record extensive first-hand experimentation with natural materials, and provide unique insights into the material, technical, and intellectual world of the late sixteenth century. It sheds light on how and why nature was investigated, collected, and used in art in early modern Europe and on the origins of the natural sciences in the creative labors of Renaissance artists and artisans’ workshops. The digital critical edition is openly accessible.

Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France presents the text of the manuscript in French transcription and English translation for the first time. Over 100 essays written by students and scholars explore the manuscript’s material and historical context and discuss the hands-on reconstruction of its processes in the Making and Knowing Laboratory. Since its inception in 2014 by Pamela H. Smith (History, Columbia University), an intensive series of workshops, courses, and conferences have brought together students, craft practitioners, artists, scholars of the humanities and social sciences, natural and computer scientists, and practitioner-scholars from the digital humanities to transcribe, translate, research, and reconstruct the contents of the manuscript. The project is an experiment in intensive collaboration, grad- and crowd-sourcing, the integration of pedagogy and original research, the intertwining of matter and texts, and hands-on work in laboratories, kitchens, and classrooms. We are dedicated to exploring the intersections between historical craft making and scientific knowing. As a research and pedagogical initiative in the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University, it seeks to reimagine the 21st-century university through interdisciplinary collaborations, hands-on techniques in the humanities, and new questions about the past and present.

Read the manuscript and research essays here.  

AAAS Fellows through Section L for the History and Philosophy of Science

The newly elected fellows are: 

  • Don Ihde, Stony Brook University
  • Margaret Jacob, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Nicolas Rasmussen, University of New South Wales (Australia)
  • Zuoyue Wang, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

NEH Grants in History of Science, Technology, or Medicine 2020

Our warmest congratulations to the following for receiving these grants and keeping the voice of our discipline and profession alive and well:

Costanza Dopfel: $6,000 Outright [Summer Stipends] Saint Mary’s College of California

  • Project Title: Fertile Florence: How a Demographic Disaster Shaped the Italian Renaissance.
  • Project Description: Research for a book on the connection between the Black Death and the origins of the Italian Renaissance.

National Geographic Society: $350,000 Outright [Humanities Collections and Reference Resources] Project Director: Sara Manco

  • Project Title: The Early Color Photography Conservation and Digitization Project.
  • Project Description: The cataloging and digitization of 15,030 early color glass slides created by explorers and researchers between 1914 and 1944, covering the Arctic regions, Greenland, and Alaska. An accompanying finding aid would include not only description of the photographs but also some 3,000 textual objects that document the content and the creation of the collection.

Dana Tulodziecki: $6,000 Outright [Summer Stipends] Purdue University

  • Project Title: Expanding the Notion of Epistemic Success in Science.
  • Project Description: Writing one chapter of a book that will argue for a new way of thinking about scientific progress. 

Purdue University: $35,000 Outright [Humanities Connections Planning Grants]

  • Project Director: Lori Czerwionka; Eric Nauman (co-project director)
  • Project Title: Integrating the Humanities and Global Engineering.
  • Project Description: A curricular development project integrating the humanities with global engineering through an expanded program of language and cultural study.

Newman University: $35,000 Outright [Humanities Connections Planning Grants]

  • Project Director: Cheryl Golden
  • Project Title: Emphasis in Technology and Human Values.
  • Project Description: The development of a new Emphasis in Technology and Human Values program integrating humanities study into pre-professional pathways.

Peter Der Manuelian: $6,000 Outright [Summer Stipends] Harvard University

  • Project Title: A Biography of American Egyptologist George A. Reisner (1867–1942).
  • Project Description: Research and writing leading to a biography of the influential American Egyptologist George A. Reisner (1867–1942).

John Shank: $6,000 Outright [Summer Stipends] Regents of the University of Minnesota

  • Project Title: A History of the French Académie Royale des Sciences, 1495–1746.
  • Project Description: Research and writing leading to publication of the first volume of a planned three-volume history of the French Royal Academy of Sciences from 1495 to 1746.

Nathan Vedal: $6,000 Outright [Summer Stipends] Washington University in St. Louis

  • Project Title: The Category of Everything: Ordering and Circulating Knowledge in Early Modern China.
  • Project Description: Research leading to a book on the organization of knowledge in sixteenth- to eighteenth-century China, based on the digital analysis of reference works such as encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Doane University: $100,000 Outright [Humanities Connections Implementation Grants]

  • Project Director: Kathleen Hanggi
  • Project Title: Implementing a Certificate in Integrated Humanities Program.
  • Project Description: A three-year project to implement a new general education certificate program in integrated humanities for psychology and biology majors.

Corning Museum of Glass: $75,000 Outright [Exhibitions: Planning]

  • Project Director: Carole Ann Fabian
  • Project Title: Reimagining 35 Centuries of Glass.
  • Project Description: Planning for the reinterpretation of an encyclopedic glass exhibition.

Grant Bollmer: $6,000 Outright [Summer Stipends] North Carolina State University

  • Project Title: Measurement and Technological Inscription in the Psychology of Emotions, 1850 to the Present.
  • Project Description: Completion of a book on the history of technologies used to measure human emotions.

John Eicher: $6,000 Outright [Summer Stipends] Pennsylvania State University, Altoona Campus

  • Project Title: Influenza, War, and Religion in Rural Europe, 1918–1920.
  • Project Description: Researching a history of the 1918 influenza epidemic in rural Europe, investigating the social, political, and religious factors shaping responses to the medical crisis.

Misericordia University: $33,964 Outright [Humanities Connections Planning Grants]

  • Project Director: Melanie Shephard; Cosima Wiese (co-project director)
  • Project Title: Environmental Humanities Curriculum.
  • Project Description: Planning for a new interdisciplinary major and minor in environmental studies, with a specific humanities focus.

Vanderbilt University: $33,375 Outright [Humanities Connections Planning Grants]

  • Project Director: Bonnie Dow; David Wright (co-project director)
  • Project Title: Integrating the Humanities in the Communication of Science and Technology.
  • Project Description: Faculty and curriculum development to create new core courses for an undergraduate program in communication of science and technology.

Norwich University: $100,000 Outright [Humanities Connections Implementation Grants]

  • Project Director: Amy Woodbury Tease; Tara Kulkarni (co-project director)
  • Project Title: Building a Humanities-Centered Interdisciplinary Curriculum to Foster Citizen Scholars.
  • Project Description: A three-year project to implement a new team-taught curriculum integrating humanities with the sciences and professional fields.

George Mason University: $334,720 Outright [Humanities Collections and Reference Resources]

  • Project Director: Lynn Eaton
  • Project Title: Preserving the Legacy of James M. Buchanan.
  • Project Description: Arrangement and description of 282 linear feet of archival material, including correspondence, memos, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and ephemera related to the career of James M. Buchanan, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1986 for his development of Public Choice Theory.

Museum of Flight Foundation: $236,824 Outright [Humanities Collections and Reference Resources]

  • Project Director: Nicole Davis
  • Project Title: Processing the William P. and Moya Olsen Lear Papers.
  • Project Description: The arrangement, description, cataloging, and selected digitization of 170 cubic feet of archival materials and 260 objects from the William P. and Moya Olsen Lear Collection, including correspondence, photographs, model planes, invention prototypes, and 33 audio recordings and 18 films related to groundbreaking discoveries in aviation and radio that span the twentieth century.

Anat Schechtman: $6,000 Outright [Summer Stipends] University of Wisconsin, Madison

  • Project Title: Non-Quantitative Notions of Infinity in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy.
  • Project Description: Writing two chapters of a book on the concept of infinity in the writings of philosophers of the seventeenth century.

2020 Fellows of the American Council of Learned Societies

Accolades are also due to the following fellows of the ACLS whose projects represent a very broad range of interests from within our discipline:

  • Javier Patino Loira, Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Los Angeles—Sharp Minds: Metaphor and the Cult of Ingenuity in an Age of Science (1639-1654)
  • Jon T. Coleman, Professor, History, University of Notre Dame—The Mighty Kankakee: History Against the Current
  • Samira Sheikh, Associate Professor, History, Vanderbilt University—Landscapes of Conflict: Geographical Mapping in Early Modern Gujarat, India
  • Arjun Guneratne, Professor, Anthropology, Macalester College—Ornithology at the Margins: The Social History of a Field Science in Sri Lanka
  • Shelley Streeby, Professor, Literature and Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego—Speculative Archives: Hidden Histories and Ecologies of Science Fiction World-Making
  • Nathan Vedal, Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Washington University in St. Louis—The Category of Everything: Ordering and Circulating Knowledge in Early Modern China

Why the Sciences of the Ancient World Matter: A New Book Series by Springer

Springer has the pleasure to inform you of the launch of a new book series titled: “Why the Sciences of the Ancient World Matter.”

Four titles have already been published, a fifth, Mathematics, Administrative and Economic Activities in Ancient Worlds (Editors: Cécile Michel and Karine Chemla), is forthcoming shortly: and other titles are in preparation.

Should you wish to submit a project, or even a manuscript, to this collection, you are welcome to get in touch with any of us, or, alternatively, to download and fill out a form from the webpage of the book series.

Series Editors:
Karine Chemla (chemla@univ-paris-diderot.fr), Agathe Keller (kellera@univ-paris-diderot.fr) and Christine Proust (christine.proust@wanadoo.fr).

A Special Issue of Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology 

Serving as the first Guest Editor of Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology (CAHST), Danian Hu (The City College of New York), in collaboration with Zhang Baichun, Professor and Director of the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IHNS, CAS), organized an IHNS-sponsored workshop in July 2019 at the IHNS in Beijing,. Six invited contributors participated in this workshop where they discussed and exchanged comments on the pre-circulated papers. The outcome of this workshop was a special issue of CAHST (Volume 3, Number 2) titled “The Transnational Dimensions of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Modern China” published in December 2019. 

In this special issue, Danian Hu, Grace Yen Shen, Chen-Pang Yeang, Zuoyue Wang, Guo Jinhai, Fang Xiaoping, and Sigrid Schmalzer present six fresh and original case studies concerning twentieth-century Chinese developments, covering diverse topics such as the emergence of modern physics research in China, gender in science, innovative mechanical study of phonetics, mathematicians and mathematics at the juncture of the country’s great historical transition, politics and medical knowledge transmission, and knowledge exchanges under the Chinese political system respectively. Guest Editor Hu hopes that this special issue will attract more historians to devote their attention to the field, leading to more profound historical studies of relevant Chinese developments over the twentieth century.

The CAHST is a peer reviewed bi-annual journal published in English, which was co-founded by the IHNS, CAS, and the Science Press in Beijing in 2017. It is China’s first English academic journal on the history of science and technology with a mission to offer a broad platform for the exchange of research results between Chinese and non-Chinese speaking historians. Its co-editors-in-chief are Prof. Zhang Baichun (IHNS, CAS) and Prof. Jürgen Renn (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science). When the CAHST’s website is launched later this year, all the articles published in the back issues will be made available online. The journal’s editorial office can be reached at cahst@ihns.ac.cn.

2020 Partington Prize Winner of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry 

The Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry recently named Dr. Mike A. Zuber, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities of the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia, as the 2020 winner of their Partington Prize. Established in the 1970s in honor of the society’s first chairman, Prof. James Riddick Partington, the prize is awarded every three years for an original, unpublished essay on any aspect of the history of alchemy or chemistry. Zuber’s article, “Alchemical Promise, the Fraud Narrative, and the History of Science from Below: A German Adept’s Encounter with Robert Boyle and Ambrose Godfrey” will be published in a future issue of the society’s journal Ambix.

New CHSTM Working Group

Penelope Hardy, Daniella McCahey, and Katharina Steiner are pleased to announce the formation of a new working group in the history of ocean science, technology, and medicine under the aegis of the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Philadelphia. The group will meet monthly beginning in Fall 2020 to discuss recent publications and workshop papers in progress. The conveners invite anyone interested in participating to sign up at https://www.chstm.org/oceanshstm.

EUI Announces Winners of Best Theses

The  European University Institute named 2 recipients of their 2020 James Kaye Memorial Prize for the Best Thesis in History and Visuality, which is awarded every two years for the best theses from their students: Déborah S. Dubald wrote “Capital nature: a history of French municipal museums of natural history, 1795-1870,” and Catherine Gibson wrote “Nations on the drawing board: ethnographic map-making in the Russian Empire’s Baltic provinces, 1840-1920.”

ACLS Digital Extension Grant

Jessica Otis, Kelly Schrum, and Nate Sleeter of George Mason University recently received an ACLS Digital Extension Grant for their project: Expanding the Commons: Supporting Emerging World History Scholars and Community Colleges through the World History Commons OER. This grant extends the reach and impact of “World History Commons” which provides such valuable resources as scholarly essays, teaching materials, historical thinking strategies, and curated primary sources.to teachers, students, and researchers. “Expanding the Commons” extends this scholarly digital project in two key ways: First, by recruiting early career scholars to write new scholarly essays and incorporating their cutting-edge historical research into the Commons; and second, is by partnering with experienced community college faculty to connect the Commons to the community college curriculum and to promote its use among community college world history teachers and students, increasing both access and visibility.

Project Ayuryog Complete

The ERC Horizon 2020 project Ayuryog has come to the end of its five-year funding period.  Because of the pandemic, the project had to forego its planned closing conference at the U. of Vienna and is instead releasing a series of interviews and commissioned videos about the history of alchemy in South Asia, complete with reconstructions of medieval alchemical apparatuses and processes. See the project website and the YouTube recording for more details. (Information provided by Dominik Wujastyk, University of Alberta)

More From Our July 2020 Newsletter