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 General Meeting, Marie-Gérin-Lajoie Auditorium, University of Quebec at Montréal, July 9, 2015


  1. David Hull Prize awarded to Jane Maienschein (Arizona State University).
  2. Marjorie Grene Prize awarded to Jun Otsuka (Kobe University), for the 2013 paper, presented at Montpellier 2013 meeting, “Using Causal Models to Integrate Proximate and Ultimate Causation”
  3. Werner Callebaut Prize awarded to Sara Green (University of Copenhagen) for the paper, presented at Montpelier 2013 meeting, “Systems Biology and The Quest for Organizing Principles.”

President’s Report:

  1. Michel Morange: Since I am new to this role, my report is just a moment to remember the values of ISH:
    1. Interdisciplinarity
    2. Opportunities for professional growth of newer scholars, interacting with senior scholars
  2. Recognition of a mistake: The 2017 site selection process was miscommunicated in a previous ISH email, since the email (erroneously) reported that the 2017 meeting site selection process would be voted on by the members. The site-selection committee, chaired by Roger Sansom, recommended the São Paulo site. The São Paolo meeting site was voted on by the Council, in accordance with the bylaws.

Choice of 2017 Conference Site:

  1. Matthew Haber:
    Proposals received in February. In March, recommended Sao Paolo (hosted by the Institute of Biosciences at the University of Sao Paolo) to the council.
    1. The meeting will be held July 16-21, 2017
    2. The Sao Paolo meeting will help ISH engage with a growing group of Latin American scholars who are either in ISH or would be appropriate future members.
    3. The conference will run concurrently with the meeting of the Brazilian Association for Philosophy and History of Biology.
    4. One week after ISH is the International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
      • These three conferences together will draw a larger crowd.
  2. Travel to Brazil will be more costly on average than usual, since there are so many North Americans and Europeans in ISH.
  3. US and Canadian citizens will need to get tourist visas, unlike their usual experiences. ISH members not from the US or Canada are already used to these sorts of processes.
    1. Visas will be $160 for Americans, $40 for Canadians. [See contradictory note below.]
    2. Go to Brazilian consulate, or to a visa courier service that does it via mail.
    3. Timing will be important, since the visa process has to be done at the right time during the travel planning process.
  4. Brazil organizers (represented by Maria Elice Brzezinski):
    1. Yes, the visa process is hard, but there is good news:
      1. Tourist visas may end up being a little cheaper than the price quoted by Haber (who quoted the price for business visas). [Note: this information has not been confirmed.]
      2. Brazil is currently negotiating with the US about visas, and restrictions and/or costs may be lessened soon.

[[[São Paolo ISH Proposal Video plays, reviewing the benefits of holding the meeting at this venue]]]

  1. Benefits include:
    1. Direct flights arrive in São Paolo from countries across the world
    2. Lodging is inexpensive
    3. Held at a leading biology institution in the country
    4. Centralized conference venue
  2. Brazil Travel Information
      • Fill out and submit application form
      • List of Brazilian consulates & embassies
      • Illustrated guide for obtaining a visa to visit Brazil
  3. Audience question: What is the climate going to be like?
    • It will be a tropical winter. For example, today the low is 12 degrees C and the high is 21 degrees C.
  4. Michel:
    We will try to make site selection committee processes more transparent in the future. The site selection committee should present the bids and their reports, and should solicit feedback from the Society with a month for replies.

Reports of the Committees:

  1. Program Committee (Mark Borello):

    • We are preparing for the next meeting by working with the São Paolo local organizers.
  2. Local Committee Report (Christophe Malaterre and Frédéric Bouchard):

    1. 630 attendees (250 students, 68 non-members, 251 regular members, 59 visitors)
      • 3 cocktails (500 participants on average)
      • 350-person buffet dinner
      • etc.
    2. A Survey Monkey survey has been distributed, seeking feedback from attendees.
    3. Thanks to the Program Committee and Executive Committee.
      • Callebaut’s passing was a tragedy, but the work of Michel Morange and other council members kept the organization process on track.
    4. This meeting had institutional support from across Canada
  3. Executive Committee Report (Anya Plutynski):

    1. Review of membership statistics
    2. Springer Journal agreement:
      • Current policy: Go to Springer website directly and order Springer journals there after noting ISH membership
  4. Treasurer Report (Laura Perini):

    • Currently have $137,685 in accounts
      1. Proposing that we open two term deposits (staggered), at $25,000 each.
        • This would reserve funds for future student travel, accruing interest in the meantime.
      2. The Callebaut prize received generous donation from Konrad Lorenz Institute.
      3. Meetings are a big source of revenue for organization
        • Those funds are put back into the student travel funds, the primary expenditure of the society.
  5. Travel Support Committee (Laura Perini):

    1. 85 applications for Montreal meeting
      1. 76 awards (72 accepted), at $282 on average ($1,000 was highest award).
        • Calculated based on travel expenses, minus their intuitional funding, and ISH pays roughly half of the remaining expenses.
        • It is not clear if Seven Societies Travel Grant (through NSF) will be renewed next year. The History of Science Society manages it.

[[[Signup sheets passed around for interested members to participate in ISH committees]]]

  1. Publication Committee (Maria Kronfeldner):

    1. The draft website is not complete, so it is not ready to be shown.
      1. It will include the ability to synchronize with Facebook and Twitter.
      2. It is simpler to run than last website and better integrates the communication processes for the society.
      3. The website will be managed by editorial board: newsletter editor (volunteer), listserv editor (volunteer), archivist (volunteer), webmaster (hired).
        1. This is the first time the society has had a hired contractor (webmaster), but a good professional website requires the expense.
  2. Student Committee: Absent

  3. Education Committee: Absent

  4. Off-Year Workshop Committee: Absent but short written report submitted:

    • The workshop “Changing Life in Times of Crisis” was held in Woods Hole Massachusetts, May 17-21, 2014.
  5. Nominations Committee (Paul Griffiths):

    • The Nominations Committee tries to ensure a slate of diverse candidates for open positions. Sometimes that meant convincing people to be nominated.
  6. Membership Development Committee (Alan Love):

    • ISH is growing, and this committee attends to how ISH is growing.
    • Want to have diverse range of disciplinary perspectives, stages of career, geographic representation, etc.

[[[Meeting concluded]]]