This is an archive of the wiki used for program submissions for the 2012 HSS Meeting in San Diego. It is simply for archival purposes, and is locked for editing. The page was created on 23 May 2012. If you have any questions, please contact

Welcome to the 2012 HSS Meeting WikiEdit

Submissions for the 2012 HSS Meeting in San Diego are now closed. Thank you to all who submitted proposals.

We hope that the wiki page was helpful. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding the wiki, please contact

Find other scholars to organize sessions for the 2012 History of Science Society Annual Meeting in San Diego. Post your interests and ideas here to find other potential participants!

Instructions: To add your topic to the list, please click on the "edit" icon to the right of the title above (Welcome to the 2012 HSS Meeting Wiki). This will open the editing screen, which will show only this opening section. You will not see the rest of the meeting entries; that's okay. You're going to be splitting this introductory section into two parts, one of which will be your session description, which will appear at the top of the session list.

To create a new session topic, press enter (return) to start a new line after "Happy sharing!" (below). Type your session title and highlight that text. In the toolbar at the top of the editing screen, you'll see a pull-down menu that says something like "normal text" or "heading 2". This controls the size of your text. Select "Heading 2". Your session title should now be written in large type and underlined with a gray divider-bar. Type your session description below that divider; make sure you type it in "normal text".

You can preview your session description by clicking the gray "Preview" icon in the upper-right corner of the editing screen. Again, this will show only this top section and the new section you have created; you won't see the full meeting list. If you like the way your text looks, close the preview window and click the green "Publish" icon.

Happy sharing!

Science and AestheticsEdit

This panel will explore the ways in which science informs aesthetics - both in terms of thematic content and/or subjective reception (that is how theories of perception inform styles of transmission.) I've described the theme very broadly to accommodate more papers, but will adapt it more narrowly to the submissions received. I am particularly interested in historicizing how late 19th century psychology contextualized communication between artist and audience in the modern novel. I am working in European psychology and psychical research but welcome the opportunity to make this panel comparative across different historical, disciplinary or geographic frameworks. Obviously, time is of the essence so please send your 250 word abstract and c.v. ASAP if you think you have a paper that might work. Email: Courtenay at

Disciplinary IdentityEdit

We are interested in organizing a session around the theme of disciplinary identity in chemistry (and/or physics) from the early 19th through the late 20th century. Our papers look at electrochemistry, the creation of a systematic nomenclature for the heavy elements, and the development of the polymer science program at an American university. We are currently looking for a fourth participant. If you are interested or would like more information, please e-mail either Ann Robinson at ann9robinson (at) gmail (dot) com, or Amy Fisher at historyfish (at) gmail (dot) com.

Technocracy, Science, and ExpertiseEdit

The diffusion of the new science in the early modern period coincided with a revolution in the theory and practice of war and a dramatic expansion and consolidation of state power. This environment created new opportunities across Europe for entrepreneurial figures who claimed to have some sort of scientific expertise that could be of use to patrons. We are interested in understanding how a wide variety of people who served rulers from the 16th-18th centuries thought about and used science, why these individuals were perceived as useful or important by rulers and their courts, and what happened to their expertise as institutions developed. We are looking for a panel chair. If you are interested, please write to Suzanne Duchacek: or Katie McDonough:

Perception and 'Experience' in History of ScienceEdit

We're two graduate students in search of another panel member and a commentator for a session on the history of perception and experience in science. Some of the questions that interest us include: In what ways has science used embodied knowledge, and how has the epistemic value of this type of knowledge changed? In what ways has science studied personal experience? How do new technologies transform perception, and how do they become invested with new values, new interpretations? How do sciences grapple with the problem of intersubjective communication? How does technology change the perceived possibilities of human perception, or change the very meaning of perception? We would be interested in a wide variety of topics, although both of our papers focus on the nineteenth and twentieth century (one on vision, the other on sound). Please write one of us if you have any questions about our particular papers, or would be interested in joining our panel. All best!

Carmine Grimaldi Joy Wattawa

Surgery, Surgeons, Empirics, ArtisansEdit

Pamela Long's recent study of artisans begins with editions of Vitruvius as the occasion for knowledge transfer between humanists and artisans, an exchange that was multiplied in various trading zones in the sixteenth century. I am interested in histories of surgery and the intersections between surgeons and other medical practitioners and artisans. Like artisans, surgeons began to elaborate the relationship between learning and practice, developing strategies for that elaboration and often doing so to respond to competition (from upstart barbers and empirics, for example). If you work on these or related topics, please email me. Cindy Klestinec:

Medical PopulismEdit

We invite proposals for the intersection of medicine with populism: the occasions when patients' preferences for particular health practices is a political statement or an act of broad social solidarity. The proponents of many alternative medical traditions have adopted anti-elitist rhetoric in their outreach to potential patients, and indigenous medicine has often competed successfully with Western medicine in colonial settings even when other traditional practices have been suppressed. Yet not all "low" medicine reflects populist sensibilities: patients' rejection of "elite" medicine in any given context may instead reflect doubts about its efficacy, or its availability.

We welcome abstracts from scholars in any national context or period whose work explores the effect of populist sentiments on the practice of medicine (or vice versa). Please contact Matthew Lavine at with questions or proposals.

Poisoned LandscapesEdit

We are two graduate students seeking a third panelist and a commentator for a panel on contaminated urban spaces. Work related to cemeteries, slaughterhouses, sewers, parks, epidemics, and many other topics fit our theme. We are particularly interested in American cities during the nineteenth century. Our proposed papers cover quarantine laws in early 19th c. New York and urban dairy farms in mid 19th c. New York. Together these papers illustrate processes by which urban landscape was segmented (through law industry, or culture) into a collage of healthy and contaminated spaces. We seek others who shares our interest in the connection between corporeal sickness and pollution in spatial terms. For further information, please contact me at Thank you.

"Occult" EpistemologiesEdit

I am hoping to put together a session on the knowledge systems motivating medieval and early modern magic and natural philosophy. These disciplines are frequently lumped together as "occult," but that term has become so broadly used as to be meaningless. I would like to invite papers addressing any of the intellectual frameworks used by specific alchemists, astrologers, magicians, physicians, charlatans or shared within the discplines. My paper will address the magical epistemology proposed by Agrippa's De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres. Please contact me at

Human Specimens: Freakery or Science?Edit

Human specimens have been displayed in various venues for various purposes. I am interested in organizing a session on how these specimens have been viewed by the various publics and by "professional" science. Who were the entrepeneurs behind this industry and how has it changed with new technologies? How does the exhibition of humans differ from that of celebrity animals? Please contact me if you would be interested in contributing to such a session: Ruthann Dyer (rdyer@ yorku. ca)

Amateur ScienceEdit

How do we tell stories about amateurs in the history of science? Do we position amateurs in opposition to professionals? Or experts? Where do we turn for evidence? My research involves the history of amateur computing (computer clubs in the 60s and 70s), but there's a larger narrative here about amateurs, hobbyists, tinkerers, and obsessive geeks. If you're interested, email me, Kevin Gotkin, at

Teratology, Disability, DeformityEdit

If your research involves teratology, disability, and/or deformity (especially in relation to gender, ethnicity, race, generational identity, or developmental status) and you are interested in a session, please contact me:

Comedy, SeriouslyEdit

Can the history of science be funny? What would it look like if not cast in the heroic mode? How about environmental literature that is not tragic or declensionist? Can you give or have your heard a talk that borders on stand-up comedy? Do you use irony, paradox, and humor in your work? Please contact me well before April 2 with offers of papers or possible roundtable participation. Jim Fleming,

Trans-Atlantic CrossingsEdit

What happens when science goes into exile? Papers are sought that address how established projects in science (any field) were mutated when their leaders were forced to leave their home institutions, usually for political reasons. I am particularly interested in putting together a panel that addresses European science in North American contexts (e.g. experimental psychology at Harvard under Münsterberg, Monism as practiced by the biologist Ernst Haeckel at The Monist, etc.). Contact Katie Arens @ by March 15 to see if we can incubate a panel.

Spiritual Geographies: UPDATED!Edit

We are close to finalizing a strong session proposal on "spiritual geographies." The aim of the session is to flesh out the concepts of "spiritual landscapes," "moral geography," and "sacred space" with a panel of papers that touch on a variety of periods and places.

Current participants: Dr. Nicolas Wey-Gomez will be presenting on the connection between Columbus's theology and the techno-scientific tradition that informed his exploration of the Americas, Nick Jacobson and Meridith Beck Sayre of UW-Madison will be co-presenting a paper on how spirituality was inextricably tied to Jesuit astronomy and cartographic representations of the moon during the 17th century, and Leandra Swanner of Harvard will be examining competing cultural, environmental, scientific, and religous claims to Mt. Graham, Arizona between Jesuit astronomers and the San Carlos Apache.

We are interested in connecting with one more established scholar to round out our panel. We are Meridith Beck Sayre and Nick Jacobson in History of Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison; if you’re interested in participating please contact Meridith at:

Discovery Processes in MedicineEdit

There are numerous "discoveries" of a practical nature in medicine which were anticipated years earlier but not then formally introduced into practice. These include among many well known episodes, inhalation anesthesia, and handwashing to prevent puerperal sepsis. What can a fine grained historical analysis of such episodes offer to explain these phenomena? Examples of these or analogous events, e.g.those discoveries with consequences not limited to medical practice, but in public health , such as contagion or environmental causes of cancer, etc. would also be welcome for a similar analysis as to what accounted for "delay" in application. Kindly communicate with Ernie Hook:

Science and Human RightsEdit

Looking for participants (panelist(s), chair, commentator) for a panel proposal related to a) science and human rights, broadly defined, and/ or b) U.S.-Soviet scientific relations. One paper looks at U.S. scientists' attempts to aid repressed scientists in the Soviet Union and the Third World during the 1970s; a second looks at the reception in the Soviet Union of sci-fi authors active in human rights causes. Contact with any questions/ thoughts/ ideas/ expressions of interest, etc.

Medicine for the PoorEdit

Anyone interested in healthcare for the poor in history is welcome to send me their research. I am currently working on a book dealing with healthcare and the poor in 17th and 18th century Europe. Modern proposals are welcome across all geographic boundaries. Please send your proposals to if you are interested!

Whose specimen is it anyway? The evolution of natural history heritageEdit

As the eighteenth century drew to a close, many European and North American academic institutions began to acquire extensive natural history collections, assembled out of all the strange objects that a rapidly expanding new world provided, and the detritus of the curiosity cabinets of the old world. But the scientific profession has changed dramatically since those days. Many collections and exhibits that arose out of the need for academic study material have remained the property of academic institutions - even in age in which they are no longer the focus of academic investigation and have, as such, been replaced by newer and more advanced methods. Did these collections and, the exhibitions attached to them, acquire new and different scientific relevance, were they abandoned altogether or did their scientific orphaning make them become part of cultural heritage? And can scientific exhibits ignore their own cultural status as science evolves? Anyone with thoughts about these questions, and the willingness to turn them into a presentation, is kindly asked to contact Ilja Nieuwland.
Category: Discovery Processes in Medicine: [[Category:Medicine for the Poor: Anyone interested in healthcare for the poor in history is welcome to send me their research. I am currently working on a book dealing with healthcare and the poor in 17th and 18th century Europe. Modern proposals are welcome across all geographic boundaries. Please send your proposals to if you are interested! ]] [[Category:Medicine for the Poor: Anyone interested in healthcare for the poor in history is welcome to send me their research. I am currently working on a book dealing with healthcare and the poor in 17th and 18th century Europe. Modern proposals are welcome across all geographic boundaries. Please send your proposals to if you are interested! ]]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.