Author Archives: John S. Wilkins

Call for papers: History of Science in India Symposium, Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand, April 19-20 2017

Dear Colleagues,
I’m delighted to announce the upcoming international symposium “History of Science in India” which will take place April 19-20th 2017, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (see attached poster and url below).
The streams in this two-day event will include (but are not limited to) history of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and technology with three keynote speakers from India: Prof Ramasubramanian (IIT Bombay; history of mathematics), Prof Sriram (IIT Madras; history of astronomy), and Prof Rama Jayasundar (Cambridge educated medical surgeon at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; history of Ayurvedic medicine).
Registration is free but essential.  To register, or to send a title and abstract for consideration, please email me
by Friday March 17th.
Following the symposium, a 5-day workshop is planned which will mix emerging and experienced researchers to reflect  on methodology in the History of Science in Sanskrit Sources, including manuscriptology, paleography, critical editing, translation issues,  technical commentary writing, and digital humanities resources.  Please email me to register your interest for this.
This symposium is supported by a generous grant from the New Zealand India Research Institute.

Race, Sex, and Reproduction in the Global South, c.1800–2000

An international workshop at the University of Sydney, 18-19 April 2017, sponsored by Race and Ethnicity on the Global South, an ARC Laureate Research Program, and the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science.

Convenors: Warwick Anderson (Sydney); Chiara Beccalossi (Lincoln); Hans Pols (Sydney)

This workshop aims to explore medical and scientific understandings of race and reproduction in the Global South in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and to illustrate how these understandings have influenced government policies.

This medical and scientific knowledge on race and sexuality has moved across countries and continents to become global through processes of translation, hybridisation and transculturation. However, historical accounts of how science and medicine have shaped modern ideas of race and sexuality in a global context quite often refer only to Western countries in the Global North. Recent innovative histories on the Global South have shown that debates on race and reproduction in the southern hemisphere have their own history; they neither uncritically reflect ideas from the Global North nor have they been simply influenced by theories popular in the northern hemisphere. For example, we can find biomedical scientists in the southern hemisphere who showed greater interest in racial plasticity, environmental adaptation, mixing or miscegenation, and blurring of racial boundaries. Likewise sexologists in the Global South were far more interdisciplinary than their northern counterparts and incorporated criminal anthropology, psychiatry, biology, endocrinology and psychoanalysis in their studies until well into the 1970s.

Keynote speakers: Alison Bashford (Cambridge), Margaret Jolly (ANU)

Presenters: Ellen Amster (McMaster), Chiara Beccalossi (Lincoln), Shrikant Botre (Warwick), Nicole Bourbonnais (Graduate Institute Geneva), Eve Buckley (Delaware), Sarah Ferber (Wollongong), Vera Mackie (Wollongong), Daksha Parmar (Jawaharlal Nehru), Yolana Pringle (Cambridge), Lisa Todd (New Brunswick), Rebecca Williams (Exeter)

The workshop is free, but limited places are available. Registration necessary by 4 April 2017. Contact:

Dr James Dunk E T +61 2 9351 2809

More information here.

ANZSHM 15th Biennial Conference – Health, Medicine, and Society: Challenge and Change

Notification and Call for Papers for the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine’s 15th Biennial Conference, in Melbourne, July 2017.

We feel that postgraduate students in health sciences and history may be interested in attending. Travel grants are available to PG students via a competitive process. There’s also a prize for the best paper by a student. 

Abstract submissions close on Feb 20. Expression of interest may be made via the conference website (weblink below). Feel free to circulate the notices to anyone you think may be interested in attending.

Many thanks

Madonna Grehan

ANZSHM 15th Biennial Conference – Health, Medicine, and Society: Challenge and Change

11-14 July 2017, Witness Seminar 15 July  |  ACU Melbourne (Fitzroy Campus)

Tel: +61 3 9484 8076  |  Mob:  0428 220 520

Notice of conference [PDF]

Call for 2017 SHOT International Scholar (IS) Nominations

Dear Colleague

The deadline for the 2017 SHOT International Scholar (IS) Nominations is January 30, 2017.

We are calling on former SHOT International Scholars to let us know of outstanding nominees for this year’s selection.

As you know, every year, the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) calls for nominations from non-North American scholars to join SHOT’s International Scholars Program. Nominee submissions  are reviewed by members of SHOT’s Internationalization Committee and up to four scholars are chosen each year for a two year term.

The aim of the Program is to foster the individual careers of International Scholars and to support local networks and activities for and by scholars working on the history of technology. International Scholars act as ambassadors for SHOT in their countries and regions, both by informing the Society about the state and developments of the history of technology in their regions, and by helping to disseminate information about the Society and its activities. 

To become a SHOT International Scholar, you must reside and work in underrepresented countries at the time of selection. Graduate students, post docs, and visiting scholars who are living  and working in the United States or Western Europe are not eligible to become International Scholars; however, they are eligible to apply once they return to their home countries. Of these potential  candidates, any one at any rank, from graduate student up through senior scholar, is eligible to become an International Scholar. Individuals may be nominated as International Scholars by any member of the Society, and we also encourage self nomination. For further information about the nomination and application process, as well as the benefits and support provided to International Scholars, please visit our site:

History Of Technology: International Programs

International Scholars Program. Each year the Society for the History of Technology designates up to four International Scholars for a two-year term.

MBL-ASU History of Biology Seminar May 17th – 24th, 2017

image001image002A Century of Engineering Life: Cells and Organisms

Application Deadline: February 1, 2017

Discussion of the possible wonders—and horrors—of gene editing with technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9 fill both the popular and scientific press. Gene editing involves the precise excision and replacement of specific genes. This certainly offers unprecedented potential both for experimentally altering organisms for research and also for curing genetic diseases through replacing abnormal genes with their normal counterparts, a kind of targeted eugenics.

These modern efforts are only the latest attempts to engineer life in the laboratory for the benefit of both society and science. Around 1900 scientists such as Jacques Loeb, working at the Marine Biological Laboratory, embraced the increasingly experimental emphasis in embryology. Armed with a staunchly mechanistic view of life, Loeb sought to engineer living organisms in order to understand them.  In historian Philip J. Pauly’s term, Loeb’s goal was to employ the engineering ideal with the aim of Controlling Life. Today at the MBL, Loeb casts a long shadow and remains literally central to the Laboratory because the impressive Loeb Building houses research and the star-studded education courses. The kinds of research Loeb and his MBL colleague Thomas Hunt Morgan carried out on regenerative biology finds its home in the Eugene Bell Center across the MBL courtyard. Bell was fascinated with ways that cellular engineering can help regenerate lost tissue.

Both types of research offer approaches to engineering life. Both raised questions about how much deviation from the typical is still “normal” or acceptable.

Herman Muller showed that radiation can induce mutations, further blurring lines between pathology and novelty. Later, the invention of recombinant DNA technologies introduced “genetic engineering.” In vitro fertilization engineered eggs and embryos in ways that later informed cloning and stem cell manipulations. Today, Craig Venter and George Church want to create almost new organisms by dispensing with manipulation of single genes in favor of fully synthetic genomes. Others are using engineered cells therapeutically, or combining cells with nonliving materials to create replacement tissues or organs or parts for implantation in the body, while “synthetic biologists” try to reverse-engineer cells to learn how they work or turn them into living factories.

The 2017 MBL-ASU History of Biology Seminar [ engineering-life-cells-and-organisms] will look at the history of engineering life by bringing together a mix of historians, philosophers, social scientists, and biologists for a lively and intense week of presentations, discussions, and explorations. The focus will be on engineering cells and organisms, with a follow-up seminar in 2018 to consider the engineering of populations, evolution, and the environments. This year we will ask what motivated the desire to engineer life, what techniques have been involved, who has been doing that work, where, how, and why? How have social, ethical, economic, and political factors shaped or controlled scientific research programs?  Where are we now, and what does it take to have informed and reflective responses to the latest efforts to synthesize life or manipulate genes and genomes to achieve some stated goal. What happens when we learn, or do, more than we planned?


2017 Mike Smith Student Prize for History of Australian Science or Australian Environmental History

First prize: $3000

Deadline: 9 am AEST Tuesday 4 October 2016

The National Museum of Australia and the Australian Academy of Science invite submissions for the 2017 biennial Mike Smith Student Prize for the History of Australian Science or Australian Environmental History.

The prize is awarded for an essay based on original unpublished research undertaken while enrolled as a student (postgraduate or undergraduate) at any tertiary educational institution in the world.

Essays may deal with any aspect of the history of Australian science (including medicine and technology) or Australian environmental history, including essays that focus on the Australian region, broadly defined, including Oceania. Essays that compare issues and subjects associated with Australia with those of other places also are welcomed. The winning entry may be considered for publication in Historical Records of Australian Science, if it is in a suitable subject area.

More information and full eligibility and submission requires may be found at:

For more information please contact: Australian Academy of Science
02 6201 9456

Call for abstracts: The science of evolution and the evolution of the sciences

We invite submissions for papers to be presented at a two-day conference on The science of evolution and the evolution of the sciences, which will be held in Leuven, Belgium on the 12th and 13th October 2016.

Submissions should take the form of a 500-word abstract. Submissions on any aspect of the evolution of scientific theories are welcome, but contributions with a clear link to digital humanities are especially encouraged.

Aims and scope of the conference:

One of the longstanding debates in history and philosophy of science concerns how the sciences develop. Thomas Kuhn famously emphasized the role of scientific revolutions and so-called paradigm shifts. Other philosophers, including Karl Popper and David Hull, have offered a Darwinian account of the process of science. In their view, scientists create conjectures about the way the world works, and these conjectures undergo a process of selection as they are tested against the world. This is analogized with biological evolution: mutation and recombination creates novelty in the biological world, which then undergoes natural selection, driving adaptive evolution. In this conference, we will reexamine these ideas using new tools from cultural evolutionary theory and the digital humanities.

This conference explores recent attempts to move beyond mere qualitative theorizing about scientific cultures and their evolution and centers on the the question of the extent to which we can make quantitative predictions, extract quantitative data, or build quantitative models of and about scientific evolution over time. In addition to numerical models of cultural evolution drawn from the evolutionary sciences, quantitative data are also being extracted in the digital humanities. Cultural products like academic journal articles can be algorithmically mined in order to understand this body of work in a new light, offering data to help test hypothesis about scientific changes. By bringing together researchers with a common interest but with different disciplinary backgrounds and toolboxes, we hope to inspire cross-fertilization and new collaborations.

Questions addressed at this conference include:

  *  What novel predictions do Darwinian accounts of science offer?

  *  How can we test these predictions?

  *  Can new work in the digital humanities, such as the automated mining and analysis of the scientific literature, shed light on Darwinian accounts of science?

  *  Do formal evolutionary models or (quantitative) textual analyses permit a systematic approach to empirical issues in the realism-instrumentalism debate?

Keynote speakers:

Charles Pence (Louisiana State University)

Kimmo Eriksson (Mälardalen University and Stockholm University)

Mia Ridge (British Library)

Simon DeDeo (Indiana University & the Santa Fe Institute)

Abstracts must be received no later than June 7. Inquiries and abstracts should be directed to the conference organizers, Andreas De Block and Grant Ramsey, at the following addresses: and 

The conference receives financial support from the Institute of Philosophy (KU Leuven) and the FWO (Flemish Research Council). 


Grant Ramsey

+1 574.344.0284

East European Network for Philosophy of Science

Announcing the launch of the East European Network for Philosophy of Science (EENPS) (founded in the aftermath of the EPSA2015 conference in Dusseldorf  & the EPSA research-fellowships initiative for East Europeans).

The EENPS is open to everyone working in philosophy of science, not just to the philosophers from the region, and we encourage everyone to join us

You can get more info and also contact us through the website and e-mail, and you can also find us on Facebook and Twitter:

Its inaugural conference will take place in Sofia (Bulgaria) in June 2016, so stay tuned for further announcements.

the call for the conference is below the message

thank you & best wishes

Richard David-Rus

The Inaugural Conference of the East European Network for Philosophy of Science Sofia, 24-26 June 2016

Hosted by New Bulgarian University

Local Organizing Committee: Lilia Gurova (Chair), Veselina Kadreva, Anton Donchev, Rosen Lutskanov, Dimitar Ivanov


EENPS 2016: The Inaugural Conference of the East European Network for Philosophy of Science Sofia, 24-26 June 2016

Hosted by New Bulgarian University

The newly founded East European Network for Philosophy of Science (EENPS) invites submission of contributed papers and proposals for symposia in the following sections:

A General philosophy of science

B Philosophy of natural sciences

C Philosophy of cognitive and behavioral sciences

D Philosophy of social sciences

E Historical and social studies in philosophy of science

Submission of contributed papers

An abstract of up to 1000 words, prepared for blind review, should be sent as an attached doc or pdf  file to no later than the 1st of March, 2016. The e-mail message should contain  in the subject line and the author’s names, affiliation and an e-mail address for contact in the main body. The attached abstract should contain the title of the relevant section, the title of the contributed paper and a short resume of the paper.

Submission of proposals for symposia

The proposals for symposia should be sent as an attached doc or pdf file to no later than the 1st of March, 2016. The e-mail message should contain  in the subject line. The attached proposal for a symposium should contain the title of the relevant section, the title of the proposed symposium, the names and the contact details (affiliation, e-mail addresses) of the organizers and the participants, a general description of the topic and its significance for the philosophy of science (up to 1000 words), and short descriptions (up to 300 words) of each contributed talk. Short CVs (up to 1 page) of the organizers and the participants should be attached to the same e-mail.

Keynote speakers: Roman Frigg (LSE), Stathis Psillos (University of Athens) and Stephan Hartmann (MCMP/LMU Munich).

Important dates and deadlines

1 March: Deadline for the submission of abstracts and proposals of symposia

15 April: Notification of acceptance

15 June: Deadline for the registration for the conference (There will be no registration fees but registration is required due to the limited number of places in the conference rooms.)

24-26 June: Conference

Information about the venue, accommodation, registration, and other practical matters will be available soon at:

HPS Sydney Updates

s200_raffaele-pisanoAAHPSSS members will be interested in two pieces of news.

First we at the Unit for HPS, Sydney are happy to welcome a new overseas Affiliate, Dr Raffaele ‘Raf’ Pisano, University of Lille. He is a prolific publisher in the history of physics, 16th to 19th century, with well established historiographical/epistemological views about history of physics. He is well connected in the HPS profession. For example he is Vice President of the Joint Teaching Commission of the History of Science and Philosophy of Science International Unions.

Secondly, Raf informs me that he and his colleague Paolo Bussotti now have a contract with OUP to produce an English translation and critical edition of the so-called ‘Jesuit Edition’ of Newton’s Principia. This work, originally published in four volumes in Geneva in 1739-42, sits at a crossroads in the evolution of mathematics and mathematical physics in the two generations after the Principia first edition. It is full of revealing commentaries and essays explicating Newton’s mathematical physics.

Pisano and Bussotti plan to add a fifth volume with a detailed historical/epistemological analysis and commentary of their own. By the way, it is the Jesuit Edition ‘so-called’ because the Editors, Thomas Le Seur (1703–1770) and Francois Jacquier (1711–1788) and  Jean Louis Calandrini (1703–1758) were not actually Jesuits. Pisano and Bussotti’s fifth volume will also explore the biographies, contexts and motives of these little known but important early 18th century exponents of Newtonian mechanics.

Since history of physical science is alive and well in Oz, let us hope that we will soon see Raf here for a history and historical epistemology of physics fun fest.

John Schuster

Society for the History of Technology Conference, Singapore, 2016

Calls for papers are now open for SHOT’s forthcoming conference in Singapore between 22-26 June 2016.

SHOT conferences have in the past featured papers on a diverse range of subjects, including the history of medicine, health, mobility, the environment, biotechnology, digital technology, electrification, climate change policy and renewable energy technologies, and we welcome contributions from scholars who have not been previously engaged with SHOT and its scholarly community.

Calls for papers opened on 15 October and close on 15 December 2015. There are also funds available through SHOT for conference travel, applications for which close on 15 February 2016. Please follow the link below for further information:

We also encourage scholars from outside North America to participate in SHOT’s International Scholars Program:

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