October 2008

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.

‘The making of Mr Gray's Anatomy’, a talk by Ruth Richardson
Tuesday 4 November 2008, 7.00pm-8.30pm

The veins of the exterior of the head and face

The Veins of the Exterior of the Head and Face

Gray's Anatomy is probably one of the most iconic scientific books ever published: an illustrated textbook of anatomy that is still a household name 150 years since its first edition, known for its rigorously scientific text, and masterful illustrations as beautiful as they are detailed. This event will tell the story of the creation of this remarkable book, and the individuals who made it happen: Henry Gray, the bright and ambitious physiologist, poised for medical fame and fortune, who was the book's author; Carter, the brilliant young illustrator, lacking Gray's social advantages, shy and inclined to religious introspection; and the publishers - Parkers, father and son, the father eager to employ new technology, the son part of a lively circle of intellectuals. It is the story of changing attitudes in the mid-19th century; of the social impact of science, the changing status of medicine; of poverty and class; of craftsmanship and technology. And it all unfolds in the atmospheric milieu of Victorian London - taking you from the smart townhouses of Belgravia, to the dissection room of St George's Hospital, and to the workhouses and mortuaries where we meet the friendless poor who would ultimately be immortalised in Carter's engravings.

Alongside the story of the making of the book itself, Ruth Richardson reflects on what made Gray's Anatomy such a unique intellectual, artistic, and cultural achievement - how it represented a summation of a long half century's blossoming of anatomical knowledge and exploration, and how it appeared just at the right time to become the 'Doctor's Bible' for generations of medics to follow.

Tickets cost £8 standard, £6 concessions and £4 Ri members.
See http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayContent&id=2429

Tags: ,

University of Brighton, June 13th and 14th 2009.
Science and the public: uncertain pasts, presents and futures.

The relationship between science and the public has provided fruitful material for analysis from a range of academic disciplines, and an important area of policy and practice, in recent years. Studies and experience have revealed a startling complexity, past and present, in science communication, a range of channels (formal, informal, fictional) through which dialogue and debate takes place, and a wide variety of participants in these interactions. Science itself has been reconceptualised, and the complexity of science as a discourse, as practice and as a form of life raises many questions. Science has long been seen as a quest for certainty, even if that goal is unachievable, but our interactions with and examinations of science often reveal, and are characterised by, many uncertainties: what are we encountering, describing and making when we examine science in its many forms? At the same time as this critical examination of the interface between science and the public has been taking place, a dramatic proliferation in modes and amounts of public engagement with science occurred. Science museums, outreach work and edutainment for younger people have achieved new prominence while history of science and popular science texts flourish in the market. This conference will bring together academics and practitioners who have an interest in the intersection of science and non-science, be that in contemporary, past or future societies, to confront and discuss the uncertainties, and certainties, of science and the public.

Possible topics may include:

  • Scientific controversies in the media
  • Experts and expertise in public
  • The representation of science in fiction
  • Public expectations of science and technology
  • Historical analysis of the relationship between science and the public
  • The role of museums, outreach and edutainment
  • Science communication in theory and practice
  • The role of news and entertainment media (including the internet)
  • The construction of interdisciplinary projects and frameworks

Keynote Speakers (confirmed):

Dr Patricia Fara, Senior Tutor of Clare College, University of Cambridge
Professor Steve Fuller, Sociology, Warwick University

Abstract submission

Individual paper proposals for a 20 minutes presentation should be submitted by abstract (no longer than 300 words) to scienceandpublic@googlemail.com by 14th February 2009. Please include full contact details (name, affiliation, email) of all authors and four keywords.

Panel submission

The conference organizers also encourage full panel submissions and roundtable sessions. Panel proposals should include a panel abstract and individual abstracts for each of the papers on the panel as well as contact information (name, affiliation, email) of the presider (moderator) and all panel members. Roundtable proposals should be a single abstract with names and contact information for all presenters.

Conference Fee

In line with previous years the conference fee is expected to be in the region of £50 with concessions for students.

All submissions should be emailed to scienceandpublic@googlemail.com by 14th February 2008. Please send enquires to this address as well.

Tags: ,

The BSHS Annual Conference will take place at Stamford Hall, University of Leicester from 2 - 5 July 2009. The Programme Committee invites papers or sessions from historians of science, technology and medicine and their colleagues in the wider scholarly community on any theme, topic or period.

The Programme Committee welcomes proposals for sessions or individual papers from researchers of all nationalities at all stages of their careers. Participation is in no way limited to members of the Society although members will receive a discount on the registration fee.

Session proposals should normally consist of three or four papers, with or without a commentator. Sessions will be 90 minutes to 2 hours long. If you wish to depart from this rule or wish to submit a session of a different type, eg. round-table, witness seminar please discuss this with us in advance of the Call for Papers deadline.

Proposals for individual papers should include an abstract of no more than 250 words with no footnotes and comprehensible to a non-specialist audience.
Full details on how to submit your session proposal or individual abstract are available on the BSHS website.

The deadline for submitting a session or abstract is 23 January 2009.

Enquiries concerning this conference should be directed to bshsLeicester2009@bshs.org.uk

Tags: ,

People Power for the Third Millennium:Technology, Democracy and Human Rights

BioCentre is pleased to announce the fourth symposium of the series:
Arts & Technology: The Role of the Arts in Democratic Policy Making, Tuesday 14th October 2008 at the National Theatre, Southbank, 2-5pm, followed by drinks reception.

When it comes to developments in science and technology, public perceptions on these issues are influenced largely by the various sources in the public square including the media and the arts. When it comes to the particular issue of emerging technologies, developments in this field have been at best met with caution, at worst with a negative response. Yet where has the real conversation concerning these issues taken place?

Speakers include:

Science Museum and Tate Modern, London, 23-24 January 2009

On 7 May 1959, C. P. Snow delivered the Rede Lecture in Cambridge on the subject of The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. A failed scientist and a moderately successful novelist, C. P. Snow drew on his experience as a Civil Service Commissioner to consider what seemed to him to be an increasing fissure between 'literary intellectuals' and 'natural scientists'. In part an attack on the perceived insularity, decadence and political sterility of the London literary scene, in part a complaint about the poverty of a humanities education and a demand for curriculum reform in schools and universities, the lecture was, most fundamentally, a critique of the lack of mutually intelligible exchange between the two cultures. As the 1950s drew to a close, Snow believed that only a national culture as aware of the importance of knowing the second law of thermodynamics as of knowing the plays of Shakespeare, would be fit to offer developing countries the scientific and technological solutions to poverty and deprivation that were so urgently required.

The London Consortium is bringing together the Science Museum and Tate Modern in a two-day conference to mark fifty years of the two cultures. Divided into a more specialised academic event and a more public occasion, it will consider the history of this debate, asking whether Snow's critique has been addressed by the increase in multi-disciplinary research, alongside the expansion of educational curricula and provision within science and the humanities. But in a world of increasing disciplinary specialisation in which there has been exponential growth of sub-disciplines in both science and the humanities, it will also ask whether the distinctions between and indeed within the two cultures might have become further entrenched. The most fundamental question this celebration of 50 years since Snow's lecture will ask, though, is how the terms of the debate may have changed.

We invite papers for a conference at the Science Museum on 23rd January 2009, that consider questions such as the following: How have new technologies such as the internet and new resources like Wikipedia reconfigured our sense of disciplinary boundaries, hierarchies of knowledge and the places where cultural capital is held? Has the new dominance within general culture of ideas drawn from the 'life sciences' ? molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry, ecology, epidemiology ? and their unpredictable pressings upon fundamental questions of how and why humans and other organisms should find themselves and their relationships defined in particular ways, led to an ever more complex and porous boundary between science and the humanities? How are Snow's notions of disciplinary and national cultures to be rethought through the paradigms and politics of globalisation?

Please send 200-word abstracts for papers (20 minutes maximum) by November 1st to Dr. Laura Salisbury, School of English and Humanities, Birkbeck, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX or l.salisbury@bbk.ac.uk.

Tags:

A one-day colloquium on Charles Darwin in Europe will be held at Darwin's college Christ's, Cambridge, on Thursday 26 February 2009 to celebrate the bicentenary of his birth as well as the launch of *The Reception of Charles Darwin in Europe*, edited by Eve-Marie Engels and Thomas F. Glick. The colloquium will continue the discussions begun in its pages. All are welcome to attend.

Registration costs £35 (£40 on the day); concessions £20. Because of limited capacity early registration is advised. Registration forms and further details are available from the Reception of British and Irish Authors in Europe Project Office: RBAE@clarehall.cam.ac.uk.

Tags:

The following statement is being printed in the editorial pages of many of the major journals in science studies:

Journals under Threat: A Joint Response from History of Science, Technology and Medicine Editors

We live in an age of metrics. All around us, things are being standardized, quantified, measured. Scholars concerned with the work of science and technology must regard this as a fascinating and crucial practical, cultural and intellectual phenomenon. Analysis of the roots and meaning
of metrics and metrology has been a preoccupation of much of the best work in our field for the past quarter century at least. As practitioners of the interconnected disciplines that make up the field of science studies we understand how significant, contingent and uncertain can be the process of rendering nature and society in grades, classes and numbers. We now confront a situation in which our own research work is being subjected to putatively precise accountancy by arbitrary and unaccountable agencies. Some may already be aware of the proposed European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH), an initiative originating with the European Science Foundation. The ERIH is an attempt to grade journals in the humanities - including "history and philosophy of science". The initiative proposes a league table of academic journals, with premier, second and third divisions. According to the European Science Foundation, ERIH "aims initially to identify, and gain more visibility for, top-quality European Humanities research published in academic journals in, potentially, all European languages". It is hoped "that ERIH will form the backbone of a fully-fledged research information system for the Humanities". What is meant, however, is that ERIH will provide funding bodies and other agencies in Europe and elsewhere with an allegedly exact measure of research quality. In short, if research is published in a premier league journal it will be recognized as first rate; if it appears somewhere in the lower divisions, it will be rated (and not funded) accordingly. This initiative is entirely defective in conception and execution. Consider the major issues of accountability and transparency. The process of producing the graded list of journals in science studies was overseen by a committee of four (panel member's details). This committee cannot be considered representative. It was not
selected in consultation with any of the various disciplinary organizations that currently represent our field such as the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, the Society for the Social History of Medicine, the British Society for the History of Science, the History of Science Society, the Philosophy of Science Association, the Society for the History of Technology or the Society for Social Studies of Science. Journal editors were only belatedly informed of the process and its relevant criteria or asked to provide any information regarding their publications.

No indication hgiven of the means through which the list was compiled; nor how it might be maintained in the future. The ERIH depends on a fundamental misunderstanding of conduct and publication of research in our field, and in the humanities in general. Journals' quality cannot be
separated from their contents and their review processes. Great research may be published anywhere and in any language. Truly ground-breaking work may be more likely to appear from marginal, dissident or unexpected sources, rather than from a well-established and entrenched mainstream. Our journals are various, heterogeneous and distinct. Some are aimed at a broad, general and international readership, others are more specialized in their content and implied audience. Their scope and readership say nothing about the quality of their intellectual content. The ERIH, on the other hand, confuses internationality with quality in a way that is particularly prejudicial to specialist and non-English language journals. In a recent report, the British Academy, with judicious understatement, concludes that "the European Reference Index for the Humanities as presently conceived does not represent a reliable way in which metrics of peer-reviewed publications can be constructed" (Peer Review: the Challenges for the Humanities and Social Sciences, September 2007: http://www.britac.ac.uk/reports/peer-review). Such exercises as ERIH can become self- fulfilling prophecies. If such measures as ERIH are adopted as metrics by funding and other agencies, then many in our field will conclude that they have little choice other than to limit their publications to journals in the premier division. We will sustain fewer journals, much less diversity and impoverish our discipline. Along with many others in our field, this Journal has concluded that we want no part of this dangerous and misguided exercise. This joint Editorial is being published in journals across the fields of history of science and science studies as an expression of our collective dissent and our refusal to allow our field to be managed and appraised in this fashion. We have asked the compilers of the ERIH to remove our journals' titles from their lists.

Hanne Andersen (Centaurus)
Roger Ariew & Moti Feingold (Perspectives on Science)
A. K. Bag (Indian Journal of History of Science)
June Barrow-Green & Benno van Dalen (Historia mathematica)
Keith Benson (History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences)
Marco Beretta (Nuncius)
Michel Blay (Revue d'Histoire des Sciences)
Cornelius Borck (Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte)
Geof Bowker and Susan Leigh Star (Science, Technology and Human Values)
Massimo Bucciantini & Michele Camerota (Galilaeana: Journal of Galilean
Studies)
Jed Buchwald and Jeremy Gray (Archive for History of Exacft Sciences)
Vincenzo Cappelletti & Guido Cimino (Physis)
Roger Cline (International Journal for the History of Engineering &
Technology)
Stephen Clucas & Stephen Gaukroger (Intellectual History Review)
Hal Cook & Anne Hardy (Medical History)
Leo Corry, Alexandre Métraux & Jürgen Renn (Science in Context)
D.Diecks & J.Uffink (Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics)
Brian Dolan & Bill Luckin (Social History of Medicine)
Hilmar Duerbeck & Wayne Orchiston (Journal of Astronomical History &
Heritage)
Moritz Epple, Mikael Hård, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger & Volker Roelcke (NTM:
Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin)
Steven French (Metascience)
Willem Hackmann (Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society)
Bosse Holmqvist (Lychnos) Paul Farber (Journal of the History of Biology)
Mary Fissell & Randall Packard (Bulletin of the History of Medicine)
Robert Fox (Notes & Records of the Royal Society)
Jim Good (History of the Human Sciences)
Michael Hoskin (Journal for the History of Astronomy)
Ian Inkster (History of Technology)
Marina Frasca Spada (Studies in History and Philosophy of Science)
Nick Jardine (Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical
Sciences)
Trevor Levere (Annals of Science)
Bernard Lightman (Isis)
Christoph Lüthy (Early Science and Medicine)
Michael Lynch (Social Studies of Science)
Stephen McCluskey & Clive Ruggles (Archaeostronomy: the Journal of
Astronomy in Culture)
Peter Morris (Ambix)
E. Charles Nelson (Archives of Natural History)
Ian Nicholson (Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences)
Iwan Rhys Morus (History of Science)
John Rigden & Roger H Stuewer (Physics in Perspective)
Simon Schaffer (British Journal for the History of Science)
Paul Unschuld (Sudhoffs Archiv)
Peter Weingart (Minerva)
Stefan Zamecki (Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki)

Tags:

‘Phobia’ Constructing the Phenomenology of Chronic Fear, 1789 to the Present

Glamorgan Research Centre for Literature, Arts and Science
University of Glamorgan | The ATRiuM Campus Cardiff
8-9 May 2009

Keynote Speakers: Laura Otis (Emory University) | Andrew Thacker (De Montfort University)

CALL FOR PAPERS

The history of phobias as disease entities is intimately connected to the phenomenology of modernity. Whereas the emergence of spatial phobias such as agoraphobia (Carl Otto Westphal, 1871) and claustrophobia (Benjamin Ball, 1879) coincided with growing urbanisation and the development of the modern metropolis, Sigmund Freud’s modern subject theory situated phobia at the heart of his psychoanalytical practice (‘Little Hans’, Totem and Taboo, Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety). The fin de siècle was rife with cultural and social fears about the present and the future, and the twentieth century—with its two global conflicts, its natural disasters and the threat of terrorism—has ushered in a period of postmodern panic. Fear and anxiety are omnipresent in the modern age. But when, how and why does fear become chronic, morbid or abnormal? And in what ways has fear been conceptualised by medical practitioners, cultural theorists and artists?

This interdisciplinary conference looks at the different ways in which writers, artists, historians, art historians, cultural and human geographers, scientists and medical practitioners have constructed, represented and theorised phobia and chronic fear.

We welcome proposals for papers on any aspect of phobias and anxiety disorders in the period from 1789 to the present. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • spatial phobias
  • biophobias
  • social phobias
  • phobia and the Gothic
  • the fin de siècle
  • phobia, modernisation and modernity
  • phobia and psychoanalysis
  • phobia and cultural geography
  • fear of science and technology
  • phobia, the senses and physical sensations
  • phobophobia

Abstracts of 300 words and a short CV should be sent to Dr Vike Martina Plock and Dr Martin Willis via email at rclas@glam.ac.uk by 1 December 2008. Proposals for panels (comprising three speakers) are also welcome—please submit the title and a brief description of the panel as well as abstracts for the individual papers.

Tags:

css.php