The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) brings together scholars from diverse disciplines, including the life sciences as well as history, philosophy, and social studies of science. The biennial ISHPSSB summer meetings are known for innovative, transdisciplinary sessions, and for fostering informal, co-operative exchanges and on-going collaborations.

ISHPSSB Spring 2017 Newsletter

President’s Corner

It's a little more than three months until our next biennial meeting in São Paulo. These meetings are the most important events in the life of our Society, since they illustrate two of the motivations that led to the creation of ISHPSSB. The first motivation was to favor interdisciplinarity between the history, philosophy, and social studies of biology. And any other field of research that fruitfully interacts with these is also welcome. The second motivation was to permit these exchanges to take place in a friendly, open atmosphere. This is the raison d’être that makes our Society more necessary than ever!

The joint report of the Organizing and Program Committees makes me optimistic. The number of participants is high, many of them attending an ISH meeting for the first time, and some are from South American countries, which so far have sent few attendees to our meetings. This is a very positive sign for the future, since those who have tasted the flavor of ISH meetings become addicted to it!

Organize your trip to Brazil as early as possible. You can find all the information you need on the meeting website. Remember to check whether you need a visa and that your passport is still valid for six months after the meeting.

The program is rich. New topics are emerging with the fresh air of Latin American perspectives, and new "diverse format" sessions are proposed. A lot of posters and lectures are devoted to educational issues, what is essential when confronting the merchants of doubt.

I would like to pinpoint some initiatives and activities during the meeting that are both useful for attendees and crucial for our Society. The workshop organized by the Education Committee on Monday 17th, 15:30 – 17:00, will be of great help to all, in particular to graduate students entering a new interdisciplinary research project and facing the subtleties and difficulties of publishing interdisciplinary research. Attendance at the meeting organized by the Membership Development Committee (Wednesday 19th, over lunch) is also important to help us to diagnose what is needed and what is lacking at our meetings, and to decide how to remedy these weaknesses. This Newsletter provides more information on these various events.

A piece of advice: read the program carefully before the meeting, not once, but many times. It is so disappointing after an ISHPSSB meeting to discover that you have missed the opportunity to discuss with someone, whether your intellectual rival or the scholar you most admire!

The Awards Ceremony and the ISHPSSB General Meeting (Thursday 20th, 17:30 – 19:00) are also important for our Society. Some of you are or will be in the more or less distant future the recipients of these prizes! These two joint meetings will be the opportunity for the youngest among us to discover the different activities of the Society and of its committees. We are looking for both Officers of the Society — see the appeal for candidates in this Newsletter — and for members of the different committees, a less demanding and time-consuming function but still a highly necessary one. Participating in these committees is an excellent way to get to know the Society from within, and to interact with other members, who are often working in different disciplines. You will be asked during the meeting to become members of these committees: prepare your candidacy!

A last word to thank the generous (and anonymous) members who through their donations support the life of the Society, and in particular help many young scholars to attend our meetings. This is also a part of the spirit of our Society!

I wish you a good trip to Brazil, and a wonderful meeting!

Michel Morange
President

News about ISHPSSB 2017 São Paulo

All submitted papers have been appraised by the Program Committee, and acceptance, rejection or request-for-revision messages have been sent to all authors. We will have quite an exciting meeting, with many good papers! There are about 450 participants from more than 30 countries, with extensive participation from South America. It will be an awesome cosmopolitan conference in a cosmopolitan city and we hope you will enjoy the event!

The preliminary program is online. Please check the program right away and inform the Program Co-Chairs (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) as soon as possible about any potential problem or difficulty that would require changes. Also check if you were listed as program chair for an individual papers session; if this presents a problem for you, please inform the Program Co-Chairs as soon as possible.

On June 1st, the definitive program will be published on the website. Thus, any request to change session, schedule, etc. must be submitted to the Program Committee by May 30th.

Accommodation

We have selected some hotels and hostels in great neighborhoods to let you enjoy the city at the end of the day, with nearby options for chilling out, dinner, coffee, nightlife, breweries, concerts, theatre and more!

If you are booking other accommodation, pay attention to our suggested neighborhoods, based on walking distance to facilities and transport, as well as to security issues: Jardins (“Paulista” and “Consolação” subway stations), Pinheiros (“Faria Lima” and “Pinheiros” stations) are on the Yellow Line, which goes direct to station “Butantan”, near USP. The neighborhood Vila Madalena is also a good option to stay (station with the same name, on the Green Line of the subway).

Meeting Website

Take some time to look through the meeting website. There you will find plenty of information about the conference as well as about travel. if you will need a visa, start that process early with the Official Acceptance Letter which has already been sent to participants that need visa; and have a look at the section about Visa requirements of the meeting website too for more details.

Also, remember to visit our online conference store for advance purchase of souvenirs with historical images, at a special price on the website. We have porcelain mugs, calendars and T-shirts with different charming designs! You’ll love them all!

Tourism

On the meeting website, also have a look at pages about São Paulo and Brazil. If you would like to spend more time in natural environments outside the big city, we remind you that our ISHPSSB colleagues offer a great opportunity for bird watching in wonderful Brazilian spots with experts Edson Endrigo and André de Luca.

And remember that the afternoon of Friday, 21st, is reserved for tourism in São Paulo. Soon, we will send proposals of guided visits to museums and parks of the city. They will be unmissable!

Looking forward to meeting you in São Paulo at the ISHPSSB & ABFHiB 2017 Meeting!

Local Arrangements & Program Committees

News from the Nominations Committee

The Nominations Committee calls for nominations for the following positions on the Board of Directors of the Society:

  • President Elect (2017-2019). The successful candidate for this position will become the Society's President at the end of the 2019 General Business meeting, serving until 2021, and then as Past President and Chair of the Nominating Committee 2021-2023.
  • Secretary, for a term of two years
  • Treasurer, for a term of two years
  • Program Officer for the 2019 meeting, for a term of two years
  • Three positions for at-large Directors (Council Members), each for a term of four years

Further information about the roles of these officers can be found in the bylaws of ISHPSSB.

Candidates for each office may be nominated by the committee or by any two Members of The Society. Members wishing to nominate a candidate directly should seek that candidate’s permission and then write to the Chair of the Nominating Committee (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with the name of the candidate, the office for which they are being nominated, and the names of the two nominating members.

Paul Griffiths on behalf of the Nominations Committee

News from the Membership Development Committee

The Membership Development Committee has been discussing about how to make our efforts last beyond temporary pushes for more diversity that inevitably become salient after our biennial meetings. In order to increase disciplinary, institutional, and international diversity, no single strategy will be adequate. Therefore, we are developing a 8-10 year multifaceted plan for membership development based on the input of the committee's fourteen current members. In São Paulo, on Wednesday July 19th (over lunch), we will hold a meeting to present an early draft of this plan for discussion and to gather additional input. Therefore we welcome all who can join us in Brazil for the discussion and welcome any input members have in this regard, including how this committee can work together better with other ISHPSSB committees. Suggestions and ideas can be sent to Alan Love (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and/or Emily Schultz (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), ideally before the meeting in July. See you in São Paulo!

Alan Love & Emily Schultz on behalf of the Membership Development Committee

News from the Education Committee

The ISHPSSB Education Committee organizes a Hands-on Workshop on "Historical, Philosophical, and Interdisciplinary Writing & Publishing" that will take place during the ISHPSSB 2017 Meeting in São Paulo.

This session is scheduled for Monday July 17th, 2017, 15:30 – 17:00.

The aim of this workshop is to familiarize PhD students and young scholars with the requirements for publishing in an academic journal. Workshop participants are invited to send paper excerpts (abstract and a maximum of three pages of their paper) via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the plenary discussion.

Please read more details in the following session plan.

“Hands-on” Workshop on Historical, Philosophical, and Interdisciplinary Writing & Publishing

Discussants / Speakers

  • Gregory Radick (Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences)
  • Michael Dietrich (Journal of the History of Biology)
  • Staffan Mueller-Wille (History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences)

Chair

Isabella Sarto-Jackson (Biological Theory)

Organizer

ISHPSSB Education Committee

Aim

The aim of this workshop is to familiarize PhD students and young scholars with the requirements for publishing in an academic journal. Participants should receive information about the reviewing and publishing process.

Firstly, young scholars should get acquainted with the idea that publishing their work is an eminent part of communicating their ideas. Secondly, information conveyed in this workshop should encourage young historians and philosophers to deal early in their career with the subject of how to get their work published and installing an appropriate workflow for publishing their work. Thirdly, tips and recommendations from the editors should help to reduce the putative threshold fear of submitting one´s work.

Date

Monday July 17th, 2017, at the ISHPSSB 2017 meeting in São Paulo 15:30 – 17:00

Format

90 minutes workshop open to all participants of the ISHPSSB 2017 meeting, especially targeted at PhD students and early Post-docs.

Panel: about 45 minutes

Plenary (“hands-on” part for the audience): about 45 minutes following the panel

Topics

  1. Panel:
  • Introduction to the journal by the EiC
  • The reviewing process
  • How are reviewers chosen
  • Open versus single versus double blind reviews
  • Acceptance/rejection rates
  • Reasons for rejection
  • From submission to publication: duration, pitfalls, etc.

Tips for authors:

  • How to select the appropriate journal for your paper
  • Differences between writing for philosophical or biological readers
  • How to deal with rejections
  1. Plenary (“hands-on” part):

Workshop participants are invited to send paper excerpts via email to the ISHPSSB Education Committee (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); papers that can be sent should be either in a final stage (ready for submission to a journal) or have already been submitted and rejected.

  • the authors of the paper excerpts may remain anonymous
  • all invited editors of the workshop will have access to the submitted paper excerpts
  • paper excerpts will be discussed in the plenary; editors will give recommendations to the authors

Gregory Radick & Isabella Sarto-Jackson on behalf of the Education Committee

Acknowledgement for ISHPSSB Donors

The ISHPSSB would like to thank the many donors who have kindly made contributions, in addition to their membership dues. These donations allow ISHPSSB to make student travel more affordable, to offer prizes for outstanding scholarship (in the spirits of Werner Callebaut, Marjorie Grene, and David Hull), and to generally defray the expenses of keeping ISHPSSB running. We owe special thanks to Dick Burian for his recent very generous donations to the Callebaut, Grene and Hull Prizes, and to the general society funds. Thank you, donors—you make ISH possible!

Sean Valles
Secretary

In Defense of Science Studies and Humanities in Hungary and Mexico

The council of ISHPSSB has authorized the President to submit letters on behalf of the Society to declare our support for the continued funding of the two Institutions described below, which both provide valuable benefit to HPS.

Central European University

The Central European University is a graduate-level “crossroads” university where faculty and students from more than 100 countries come to engage in interdisciplinary education, pursue advanced scholarship, and address some of society’s most vexing problems.

On April 4, 2017 the Hungarian Parliament passed amendments to Hungary’s law on national higher education that put at risk the academic freedom not only of CEU but of other Hungarian research and academic institutions and, therefore, raises serious constitutional issues.

With approximately 1,400 students and 370 faculty members from more than 130 countries, CEU is one of the most densely international universities in the world. Its rare mix of nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures creates an ideal environment for examining subjects around science and society.

It does not have natural science departments, but it has a small but vibrant history and philosophy of science community, with a Science Studies Certificate Program that also includes a graduate-run journal “Pulse: A History, Sociology and Philosophy of Science Journal“ and many courses that study ISHPSSB-topics.

For how to support (signatures, letters, etc) CEU, details and up-to-date information, see: https://www.ceu.edu/category/istandwithceu

Centro Lombardo

For more than 40 years, the Centro Lombardo in Mexico City has been deeply committed to advancing social and life sciences studies, as well as cognitive sciences. This research center also publishes an open-access journal, Ludus Vitalis, and offers library services to the public with diverse media and cultural resources.

It is with great alarm that we inform that the Ministry of Education of Mexico (Secretaría de Educación Pública) has decided to cut the center's funding completely. This decision threatens the continued existence of the Centro Lombardo and also contravenes the 1972 presidential decree that created this research center. Furthermore, the center's employees have not been paid since past January. This irregularity represents not only a transgression against human rights but also an affront to culture, education, and science. We therefore invite you to join our cause, demanding that the Mexican authorities solve the current unfortunate situation the Centro Lombardo is going through. This is a necessary condition for us to be able to continue working, as we have diligently been doing for over 40 years.

If you would like to lend your support, please write a small paragraph, or even a sentence, subscribing yourself to the cause of restoring the government funding of the Centro Lombardo. Your letter should be addressed to the Education Minister (Secretario de Educación Pública), Aurelio Nuño Mayer, to the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please also send a copy of your letter of support to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Lastly, we would be very grateful if you could help us identify other people or institutions that would be interested in giving their support as well.

The Employees of the Centro Lombardo

Credits

This newsletter was edited by David Suárez Pascal. I thank Michel Morange and Sean Valles for all their help, as well as to the ISHPSSB members who contributed with their texts to this newsletter.