Abstracts Archive

In 1871, an unmarried twenty-five year old woman in Mexico City reportedly "fell prisoner to an emotional suffering that drowned her in a state of indescribable distress." According to the obstetricians of Mexico City's National Medical School, the señorita had become hysterical after having been impregnated and subsequently abandoned by her seduc...

Medicine and HealthPart of Organized Session

This paper argues that the out of Africa hypothesis is an expression of Euro-American cultural beliefs that are, paradoxically, anti-social. These commitments can be traced back to the influence of Christian scholasticism on early modern naturalist thinking, where reverence for order and God's impersonal design took precedent over our obligation to...

HistoriographyPart of Organized Session

The common names of insects in use in Europe from the late Middle Ages through the middle of the eighteenth century did a poor job of capturing their immense diversity. While folk names for culturally relevant plants and vertebrates generally name a Linnaean genus, many insect folk names designate a family (such as “ant”) or even an order (“b...

Life SciencesPart of Organized Session

On the night of June 16, 1933, Dr. Haim Arlosoroff, head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency was shot while strolling along a Tel Aviv beach with his wife. Speculation was rife concerning the identity of the murderers: was this a sexual assault or robbery attempt or was this a political assassination? If the latter, were these Arab nat...

Human and Social SciencesPart of Organized Session

The Science Service, a news agency for the popularization of science, was established in 1921 by newspaper magnate, E.W. Scripps and scientist William E. Ritter. In 1929 the Service hired a young female writer, Marjorie Van de Water, to cover social science for its Science News-Letter and other Science Service publications. Van de Water f...

Human and Social SciencesIndividual Paper

Historical memory has served as an important analytical category in social and political history. In contests over the meaning and memorialization of war, genocide, revolution, and national identity, rival groups have often constructed versions of history to advance competing agendas. Collective stories about the past are an essential part of moder...

HistoriographyOrganized Session

My talk will explore the interdependence of exactitude in scholarly as well as scientific contexts in nineteenth-century Prussia. Focusing on the influential historiographic work of August Boeckh (1785-1867) on ancient metrology I will sound out the different notions of accuracy, exactitude and precision and how they are differentiated and adopted ...

Practical KnowledgePart of Organized Session

Every member of the species Cyprinodon diabolis, the Devils Hole pupfish, lives and reproduces in a desert pool ten-feet across by sixty-feet long. In recent years, managers from Death Valley National Park have observed as few as thirty-five individual fish in this habitat. The whole species could fit in a pint glass and lives a habitat the size ...

Life SciencesIndividual Paper

Hardly anything seems more ordinary than the extended, concrete bodies populating the world of experience.  Yet in explaining their manifest properties, physicists must appeal to entities radically unlike the bodies of our experience.  Medieval Aristotelians too struggled to resolve tensions between the characteristics of the bodies we ex...

HistoriographyOrganized Session

This roundtable explores several key issues relating to communicating the history of science beyond the community of historians. Historians of science typically report on scientific research, largely for an audience of other historians. Some have reached larger audiences, of course, but those who have are few and far between. We are interested...

HistoriographyRoundtable

 Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903) is required reading in high school and college classes, and those who read past the first chapter know that the book is based in part on his sociological research in Georgia and elsewhere. Moreover, it has recently been demonstrated by Earl Wright II and Aldon Morris that Du Bois, through his pioneering ...

Human and Social SciencesIndividual Paper

Diagrams are ubiquitous today, and we learn already at school how to read and make them. Their epistemic status is, however, curiously ill-defined. This was already the case when the term was first introduced from ancient Greek into Renaissance Latin and into the vernacular languages. In the period 1550-1650, the term “diagram” underwent a comp...

HistoriographyIndividual Paper

All historians of science engage in storytelling. But what about when the science we investigate is itself a science of stories? Examples of narrative abound in natural history, geology, psychology, and in knowledge practices common to many sciences, such as modelling or diagrams. Examining the terrain of HPS from the perspective of ‘narrative’...

HistoriographyRoundtable

This paper will provide a short overview of the emergence of history of science courses in Japanese colleges after World War II. The postwar reform of the Japanese education system was performed under the control of the occupying General Headquarters of the Allied Forces (GHQ). The Civil Information and Education Section (CIE) of GHQ organized the ...

Non-Western ScienceIndividual Paper

In the late 1940s and 1950s the emerging field of cybernetics raised the possibility that machines might match humans in their cognitive abilities. Especially in Britain, where cybernetics enjoyed a close institutional relationship with neurology, figures like William Grey Walter constructed machines in order to mimic the functioning of the brain. ...

Life SciencesPart of Organized Session