News From the Profession – July 2021

Science History Institute Receives CLIR Grant

The Science History Institute has been awarded a $198,454 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for the project Science and Survival: Digitizing the Papers of Georg and Max Bredig. Smuggled out of Nazi Germany, these documents tell the story of this noted German Jewish scientist’s rise to prominence and his family’s struggle to survive the Holocaust. More information about this award may be seen at the Institute’s website: https://www.sciencehistory.org/news/bredig-clir-grant

NEH Makes over 200 Awards in the Humanities

In April 2021, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), announced $24 million in grants for 225 humanities projects across the country. The following projects may be of interest to HSS members:

Julia Bursten, University of Kentucky Research Foundation. $6,000 [Summer Stipends] for “Making Knowledge: Synthesis and the Aims of Science” aimed at the research and writing of a book about how the study of nanotechnology contributes to the philosophy of science.

Western New England University, $34,989 [Humanities Connections Planning Grants] for “Interdisciplinary Ethics Training for Students in the Biosciences,” a one-year planning grant to develop an ethics certificate program for students in the biosciences, under project director Valerie Racine.

Alcorn State University, $35,000 [Humanities Connections Planning Grants] for “Teaching Scholarly and Popular Science Writing through Field Research in Mycology,” a one-year planning grant to develop a science-writing curriculum, under project director Logan Wiedenfeld.

Joanna Wuest, Princeton University, $6,000 [Summer Stipends] for “Science, Citizenship, and Inequality in the LGBTQ+ Movement,” aimed at writing a book on the influence of scientific concepts of LGBTQ identity on policy debates.

Para la Naturaleza, Inc., San Juan, Puerto Rico, $290,750 [Exhibitions: Implementation] for “Flora Borinqueniana: Three Centuries of Botanical Illustration” aimed at the implementation of a traveling exhibition on the history, science, and politics of botanical illustrations of Puerto Rican flora, under project director Ivonne Sanabria.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, $35,000 [Humanities Connections Planning Grants] for “Designing a Humanistic Computing Curriculum,” aimed at planning a humanistic computing curriculum integrating the humanities and computer science, under project director Amy Elias.

Maddalena Rumor, Case Western Reserve University, [Summer Stipends] for “‘Dreckapotheke’’ in Ancient Mesopotamia and the Graeco-Roman World. Description,” with the aim of research and writing a book about how ancient Mesopotamian medical knowledge influenced later Greco-Roman scholars.

Swati Srivastava, Purdue University, [Summer Stipends] for “Algorithmic Empires: The Political and Ethical Implications of Data Extraction by Technology Companies,” aimed at writing two chapters for a book on the development and use of algorithms by big technology companies.
Gerardo Con Diaz University of California, Davis, [Summer Stipends] for “Digital Access: Copyright Law and the Birth of the Online World” proposing archival research and the writing of a book on the history of Internet copyright law.

Peter Runge, Northern Arizona University, [Humanities Collections and Reference Resources] for “Digitizing the Moving Images of the Colorado Plateau and the American Southwest” proposing the digitization of 400 rare and unique moving images documenting the human and natural history of the Colorado Plateau and the American Southwest, which would be made accessible through the Colorado Plateau Digital Archives at Northern Arizona University. The library would work with the Hopi Tribe, the Hualapai Tribe, and the Dine College on the Navajo Nation to digitize and create access to additional films that are held by these partners.

Chantal Frankenbach, University of California, Sacramento, [Summer Stipends] for “Isadora Duncan and the Popularization of Race Hygiene and Eugenics in Pre-War Germany, 1902-1905” to do research and write a book about American modern dancer Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), her early career in Germany (1902-1905) and on pre-World War I German culture and politics.

Michael McDuffie, University of California, San Marcos, [Humanities Connections Planning Grants Humanities General Education] for “A Pathway in Philosophy of Engineering Majors” to plan a general education curriculum pathway in philosophy for students enrolled in engineering degree programs.

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows

Thanks to a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. Now in its fifteenth year, the program has supported over 1,000 promising emerging scholars. The following projects may be of interest to HSS members:

Kathleen M. Burns | Doctoral Candidate, English, Duke University—Vegetal Forms: How Plants Cultivate Life in Literature and Science

Tara Suri | Doctoral Candidate, History, Princeton University—Selling Simians: Science, Empire, and the Borders of the Human in South Asia, 1925–1983

UNAM Seminar series launched

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) authorities launched their seminar series on history, philosophy, and studies of sciences and medicine (Seminario Universitario de Historia, Filosofía y Estudios de las Ciencias y la Medicina, SUHFECIM) on April 15, 2021. Coordinated by Ana Barahona, the series aims to make visible and institutionalize the reflection on science and medicine, produce new knowledge about these areas’ history and philosophy, and increase the dissemination and extension of knowledge to society to face the challenges of our time. It will be a space where discussions and studies are encouraged and enriched, necessary and relevant above all in moments like those we live in.

New online Omeka exhibit on stigma at the Oskar Diethelm Library

The Oskar Diethelm Librarypart of the DeWitt Wallace Institute of Psychiatry: History, Policy, & the Arts at Weill Cornell Medical College, is pleased to announce the release of a new exhibit on stigma. Made possible through the wonderful curation and assistance of Jaina Shaw, who completed her Advanced Certification in Archives and Records Management at the Palmer School at Long Island University in December of 2020, the exhibit focuses on the works of Erving Goffman and feature items from the collection, such as the library’s 1492 copy of Malleus Maleficarum, which describes how to identify witches and people with witches’ marks similar to stigmata, and advertisements on asylum tourism in 19th century New York. In addition, the library recently updated its book catalog, and has continued to add many new finding aids to the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative. Last but not least, the Richardson History of Psychiatry Research Seminars recorded through Zoom over the past year can be viewed online. To attend the seminars, please contact Dr. Megan Wolff at mew2008@med.cornell.edu.

Da Vinci in Berlin

What works did Leonardo da Vinci read? What knowledge did he possess when he set out on his own studies? The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) along with the Museo Galileo and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin organized Leonardo’s Intellectual Cosmos, an exhibit which was on view at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin from May 11 to June 28, 2021. The exhibit offered a new look and new insights into Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most fascinating historical figures to date. The re-creation of his library and how it developed over the course of his life offers a new perspective, showing Leonardo as an intellectual who strove to see the connections between the microcosm and macrocosm in all aspects of nature and human existence. Since his own library is lost, the exhibition presents comparable contemporary works made available by various Berlin libraries. In addition to books, visitors can also see various objects that provide a unique insight into Leonardo’s working environment and the world in which he lived.

JAS-Bio 2021 “at” Philadelphia

Personal and lively despite its virtual format, the delayed 55th annual Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of Biology was held April 9-10, 2021. Organized by Susan Lindee and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, and with the help of Babak Ashrafi and staff at the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, the meeting came close to its usual in-person conviviality. All speakers slated by Sharon Kingsland at Johns Hopkins University for the cancelled April 2020 meeting were invited back, and some new participants were added for 2021.

Topics were wide ranging and provocative, with stimulating sessions on Darwin and evolution, environmental sciences, extinction, animals as research subjects, stress and the human mind, and biological ideas about race. The Consortium’s web access permitted the 22 presenters to upload talks a week early for viewing, and they were kept up online for one week afterward. Our enthusiastic discussions reflected the promise of the new work.

Recent PhDs and current students usually come to JAS-BIO from institutions in the Northeastern US, but due to the virtual format this year’s seminar included presenters from the University of Queensland, University of Copenhagen, University of California, San Diego, and University of Chicago. Faculty participants were also broader than usual, with participants in New Mexico, Michigan, Ohio and other places. Among the special pleasures was welcoming Polly Winsor back to the JAS.

Winsor, who had been involved in the seminar since its earliest days, had not traveled from Toronto to the meetings in many years. The chance to hear so many exciting papers by junior scholars reminded her of why the meeting is so special. She told me after the meeting “It made me excited about the future of our discipline.”

Next year’s Joint Atlantic Seminar (probably not virtual?) will be hosted by Janet Browne at Harvard University and Robin Scheffler at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This report was provided by meeting organizer M. Susan Lindee (University of Pennsylvania).

The Midwest Junto Goes Virtual

The Midwest Junto for the History of Science convened its first-ever virtual meeting on April 24, 2021. This online event marked a return to form for America’s oldest regional history of science organization, whose 2020 meeting was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the Junto’s leadership team had hoped that the increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccines might facilitate an in-person conference, they ultimately decided to err on the side of caution by hosting the entire event on Zoom.

Teleconferencing software could not fully replicate the informal atmosphere of previous Junto meetings, but it enabled people who might otherwise be unable to travel with the opportunity to participate in a full day’s worth of presentations. The program began with a series of talks exploring the history of science in higher education. The remainder of the morning was divided between two sessions exploring the history of medicine and the life sciences, which considered earthquakes and disease in the early modern Atlantic world, the origins of Robert Koch’s eponymous postulates, and endocrinology in 19th-century France.

Following a brief lunch break, the Junto held its annual business meeting and selected officers for the coming academic year, listed at the bottom of this page. The business meeting concluded with a group photograph, and then it was time for the afternoon sessions.

After a full day of presentations, Junto participants were given some time to mingle with colleagues or step away from their screens for a few minutes before the Stuart Pierson Memorial Lecture. Our speakers, Leila McNeil and Anna Reser, are the founders and editors-in-chief of Lady Science, an online magazine devoted to women and gender in the history of science. Their presentation focused on their new book, Forces of Nature: The Women Who Changed Science (Frances Lincoln, 2021), which seeks to move beyond extolling “female firsts” toward a broader appreciation of how women have shaped our knowledge of the natural world.

The 2021 Midwest Junto confirmed the benefits of embracing new technologies to facilitate access to academic conferences, as well as the logistical challenges associated with virtual programming. The Junto officers will certainly reflect upon this year’s experiences as they consider how to make next year’s meeting at Iowa State University accessible to broader audiences. Further updates about the 2022 Junto and the programs from previous meetings can be found on the Junto website.

This report was provided by Benjamin Gross, Vice President for Research and Scholarship, Linda Hall Library for Science, Engineering & Technology

More from the July 2021 Newsletter