Editor’s Note: Delay in printing and mailing this issue resulted from the efforts of several people to gather as much information as possible in planning the 1999 summer ISHPSSB meetings in Oaxaca, Mexico. I hope you will take extra time to look over this information and start planning now to attend. —CCY
Notes on the 1999 Meeting
Proposed Sessions To-Date for the 1999 Meeting
Committee on Education Report
ISHPSSB Website and Listserv
Jobs in the Field
Special Offers for Members
Publications of Interest
Web Sites/E-mail Lists of Interest
Membership and Renewal Information
Fall 1998 Newsletter
Behind the scenes, during the off year, pieces of the "puzzle" come together....
The 1999 meetings will definitely be held in Oaxaca, Mexico. Ana Barahona, local arrangements coordinator and her team in Mexico, visited the city early in the fall so they could address the concerns about access and facilities for the disabled. Without going into the details here, there are suitable hotels, and special arrangements are being made for the Monastery, soon to be reopened as a convention center, where the meetings will be held. This spring Keith Benson, who organized last summer’s meetings at the University of Washington, and Ana Barahona spent a couple more days in Oaxaca. They found the Monastery just wonderful and devised solutions for the remaining problems of disabled access. Ron Amundson, who has been advising us on these issues, has observed that the most important issue is that everyone know in advance what they will face, and in this regard the local arrangements team should be commended for the work they have done. Ana Barahona informs us that they are working on the hotel and meals costs with an established agency in Oaxaca; they will supply more details soon.
The tentative dates are for the meeting to start on Tuesday July 20 for registration, to have sessions on July 21 and 22, then on Friday 23 to have a break for an excursion to the ruins at Monte Alban. The remaining sessions would be on Saturday and a half-day Sunday, July 24 and 25.
Mike Dietrich, the Program Coordinator, was visiting Virginia Tech this semester. Mike, Dick Burian, and Valerie Hardcastle (the Society’s website administrator), talked over the design of some web pages to facilitate the handling of session proposals and abstract submissions. Valerie will soon put up a trial version of the web pages for the Executive and Program Committees to examine. When this is refined, all program suggestions and submissions can be handled via the web. Of course, there will also be registration materials available in the 1998-99 Newsletters for those people who do not have web access.
Dick Burian, who is chairing the Operations Committee, would like to ask everyone to forward information to him about any foreseeable problems. The committee handles any major procedural or structural glitches that might interfere with the operations of the Society.
Dick Burian and David Magnus (treasurer and membership coordinator) would also like to raise a concern (which they know others have expressed) about the interaction between site selection and the current decline in membership and apparent decline in participation in our meetings. Some members have argued that if ISHPSSB does not soon hold a meeting within easy reach from the eastern half of the USA, there is a danger of losing a significant number of members and of continuing reduced participation in its meetings from a major segment of our membership. Of course, any site decision between Europe and the USA will have both negative and positive demographic consequences. In this respect, the Society will probably face a hard choice. At the same time, whatever bids come in must be evaluated in many other dimensions. The specifics of the bids, rather than geography, may be decisive. To face such questions squarely in making a decision may require a poll of the membership, and then let the chips fall where they may.
David Magnus reports that Jane Maienschein, incoming coeditor with Gar Allen of Journal of the History of Biology, has negotiated a reduced rate for ISHPSSB members for both JHB and Biology and Philosophy with their publisher (Kluwer). We believe that the reduced rate will be $50 per year for each (less than half price of $119). There is a minor catch: in order to obtain this price, we will have to provide Kluwer with a list of people who want the deal and a lump sum payment. We are now working out the details, but we expect to add an option to receive either or both journals with membership and build a system for keeping track of who has ordered and paid for the journals. In exchange, all members who choose to use this system of payment will get the cheap rate, and Kluwer will advertise in their journals that there are reduced rates available for ISHPSSB members. We will be happy to make similar arrangements with other journals of interest to Society members if we can obtain similarly significant reductions.
Peter Taylor, Dick Burian, and Lisa Lloyd, with help from Ana Barahona
Oaxaca is the capital of the Mexican state with the same name and is about 340 miles southeast of Mexico City. It is a unique, colorful and interesting place that is located in a valley surrounded by the Sierra Madre del Sur. The city has a superb climate and a Spanish flavor with its ornate buildings, churches, elegant archways, balconies, decorative grill work and charming plazas. Oaxaca's historic center and the nearby archeological zone of Monte Alban have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Every night you'll find music of one kind or another and especially popular are the marimba bands that play several nights a week. For more information, visit the ISHPSSB website and follow the link to Oaxaca! Or surf on your own to Oaxaca! A few other websites to pique your interest include: Oaxaca and Oaxaca facts and trivia
To graduate students:
Start preparing now and plan to attend the ‘99 meeting in Mexico. As has been the case in the past, there will be some travel funds available to support graduate students presenting papers at the conference – David Magnus will have information about fund availability.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the conference and/or travel in Mexico. I am also anxious to hear your suggestions for activities or informal gatherings there that would specifically address concerns of graduate students.
Organizer: Rivers Singleton, University of Delaware
Title/Topic: Teaching the ‘Proper Conduct of Science’
Description: Several years ago, the NIH mandated that students trained under NIH sponsorship must receive course work in "the proper conduct of science." One approach to meeting this requirement is a simple "case study" approach in which students simply explore hypothetical or actual examples of improper science conduct. Alternatively, I have developed a course that integrates some background in science history (Harvey and Darwin) and philosophy (Hull’s Science as a Process) as a context to understand both hypothetical and actual examples of improper science conduct. Such a session should ideally involve several approaches to dealing with this topic, so I am interested in hearing from individuals who may be teaching or doing research in this area.
Organizer: Rivers Singleton, University of Delaware
Title/Topic: 20th Century Disciplinary Development of Biochemistry, especially Intermediary Metabolism
Description: While the historical roots of biochemistry emerge from 19th century questions about physiology, many of the discipline’s central "consensus practices" emerged during the middle decades of this century, as biologists attempted to describe the metabolic properties of a variety of organisms. With the exception of Holmes’ study of Hans Krebs, however the area of "intermediary metabolism" is often ignored in discussing biochemistry’s disciplinary evolution. Often an intellectual leap is made from protein chemistry and enzyme theory to molecular biology of the gene, and the complex web of pathways that enzymes catalyze and genes control is ignored. I am currently studying the work of Harland Wood, who made a number of significant contributions to intermediary metabolism. I am interested in joining together with other individuals who may be studying the work to similar individuals to organize a program to explores both the nature of the complex metabolic web as well as the experimental programs that lead to its understanding.
Organizer: Kelly Smith, The College of New Jersey
Title/Topic: Building Careers
Description: WANTED: Anyone interested in helping organize or participate in a session designed to aid young scholars in building their early careers: putting together an application, interviewing, publishing, schmoozing, etc.
Organizer: Kelly Smith, University of Delaware
Title/Topic: Complex systems in Development
Description: If the current model of hierarchical control of development is inappropriate, then an alternative framework will have to be elaborated. Areas to be covered might include field theory, developmental systems theory, Kauffmanism, vitalism, organicism, etc.
Organizer: Peter Taylor, Swarthmore College
Title/Topic: Genes, Gestation, and Life Experiences: Perspectives on the Social Environment in the Age of DNA
Description: Everyone "knows" that genes and environment interact, but, in this Age of DNA, genetics is often seen as the way to expose the important or root causes of behavior and disease and as the necessary basis of effective therapeutic technologies. The dominance of genetics is also reflected within STS. Critical light has been shed on the history, semantic complexity, ethics and other dimensions of genetics, yet very little STS scholarship concerns the sciences of, for example, educational interventions or psychological development. In general, the "environment" is underexamined and construed in simple terms. Nevertheless, several scientific currents are bringing the environment, in different variants, back into the picture. In evolutionary biology, a great deal of attention is now given to the plasticity of phenotypes across a range of environments. Developmental biology, filling the gap between genes and the characters they shape, is experiencing a rennaissance. Although the field still focuses mainly on embryological or early development, the influence of the environment is now acknowledged even for those stages. Behavioral genetics, once firmly directed towards establishing the heritability of traits, now highlights the effects of "non-shared" environmental influences, i.e., those not experienced equally by members of the same family. Among such non-shared influences, Sulloway has argued that birth order may be a key factor in explaining conformity to or rebellion against authority in intellectual and other spheres of social life. In short, the stage is set for STS scholars to examine the complexities of the "environment." What meanings are given to the term, and how have these changed over time and in response to criticism? What is measured and what is explained? What methodologies are employed for collecting data and making inferences? What is the status of the different sciences and social sciences involved? How are these colored by past and present associations with political currents? With these questions in mind, this session aims to enrich scientific and popular discussion about the contribution of the environment to the development of behavioral and medical conditions over any individual’s lifetime.
Organizers: Denis Thieffry, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and Richard M. Burian, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Title/Topic: From Experimental Embryology to Developmental Biology
Description: The purpose of this session is to examine the recent extension of the molecular paradigm to the problems of embryonic development and pattern formation. We will address material, social, and cultural as well as conceptual aspects of the development of developmental biology. Individual contributions might, for example, focus on specific experimental settings, scientific networks, or propaganda strategies as well as conceptual developments or theoretical models.
We will pay special attention to discipline formation (i.e., the shaping of the new Developmental Biology) and interdisciplinary relationships (e.g., between Embryology, Genetics, and Molecular Biology). We will also focus on the delineation of important controversies and on the scientific, philosophical, and sociological factors that played a role in the ‘selection’ of competing models, theories, or visions of life. We hope to carry these issues forward to the present by including some work on the difficulties of integrating molecular and morphological findings in a number of current controversies.
Tentative list of participants (non exclusive and not yet confirmed!): Ron Amundson, Richard Burian, Sean Carroll, Soraya De Chadarevian, Bernardino Fantini, Raphael Falk, Jean-Louis Fisher, Evelyn Fox Keller, Jean-Paul Gaudilliere, Brian Hall, Charles Galperin, Scott Gilbert, Robert Kohler, Jane Maienschein, Michel Morange, Geoffrey Montgomery, Rudy Raff, Jan Sapp, Denis Thieffry, Gunter Wagner, Graig Wray.
Contact: Denis Thieffry, Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Wilhelmstrasse 44, 10117 Berlin, Germany, Phone: (+49-30)22-667-172, Fax: (+49-30)22-667-299, http://dbm.ulb.ac.be/~denis/denis_cv.html
Organizer: Chris Young, Mt. Angel Seminary/Oregon State University
Title/Topic: Field Science and Changing Technology
Description: In studying the history of ecology and wildlife biology, I have become intrigued by changing technologies used by scientists as they attempt to follow and quantify their research subjects. I have noticed parallel developments in other field sciences, including primatology, behavioral ecology, archaeology, and anthropology, to name a few. This session would combine historical, philosophical, and sociological studies of field sciences in an attempt to understand the interaction between technological change in methodology and conceptual change in science. The session would include an interdisciplinary approach to understanding changes in several disciplines. I welcome comments on this idea.
"ISHPSSB and Education," Peter Taylor
Over the last decade many initiatives have responded to the challenge of integrating science into the liberal arts curriculum (McNeal and D’Avanzo 1997; see also Gilbert 1997). Innovations include courses and texts that enliven the the facts and theories by presenting the historical and social context in which they were established (Paul 1995, Hagen et al. 1996). At the same time, newspaper journalism, television documentaries, and book publishing about science have flourished. Scientific developments and their potential implications, particularly in the life sciences, have been made more accessible to an educated public. Scientists themselves are paying more attention to humanistsic and social scientific studies of "Science, Technology and Society" (STS). Most notably, the initiators of the Human Genome Project reserved a small, but significant fraction of the Project’s budget for studies of the ethical, legal and social implications of genetics.
Notwithstanding some highly publicized claims that interpretive studies of science lack intellectual rigor and contribute to "anti-science" sentiments (e.g., Gross and Leavitt 1994, Sokal 1996; but see Martin 1996 and Hilgartner 1997), critical analyses of science can influence the practice and applications of science in constructive ways. STS scholars have often formulated perspectives unavailable to, or underdeveloped by, scientists, and, on this basis, made contributions valued by scientists to discussions about scientific and technical developments. To select an example I recently read, let me summarize Paul (1997), which provides a history of newborn phenylketonuria (PKU) screening in the United States commissioned for the NIH-DOE Task Force on Genetic Testing. Proponents of genetic sequencing and screening should find much food for thought in the complexity she reveals. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, PKU screening was promoted as an important step towards reducing the incidence and social burden of mental retardation. Screening was routinized before systematic studies were available of the accuracy of the tests, the optimal level of phenylalanine to aim for, and of the necessary duration of the special diet. Early detection of PKU, which is often invoked to make the in principle point that genetic does not mean unchangeable, in practice allows the certainty of severe mental retardation to be replaced by a difficult chronic disease. The dietary regime for individuals with PKU is expensive and rarely covered by health insurance, and the peer/community support that enhances compliance is not common. Moreover, it is now evident in particular that, without good dietary control by PKU mothers during pregnancy, there is a significant risk of birth defects for their non-PKU offspring. In short, even though PKU is the most clear cut case of a genetically determined and treatable metabolic defect, the social environment, in different and complex ways, has determined how society makes use of knowledge about that condition.
The challenge – one many ISHPSSBers already work hard to address – is to promote further the constructively critical analysis of science among students, practicing scientists, and the wider public as well as among STS scholars. In this spirit, the Society’s general meeting in Seattle endorsed the idea of connecting with other educational initiatives in the life sciences. An educational committee was established – myself as chair, Douglas Allchin, John Jungck, Marilia Countinho, and Jane Maienschein. To date we can report the following actions:
1. Douglas Allchin is ISHPSSB representative to the Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences (http://www.wisc.edu/cels/). The executive has recently agreed (with some reservations about spending money) to pay for official affiliation to CELS.
2. A site on the ISHPSSB web site is in development. This will include links to teaching materials of ISHPSSB members, and to sites considered by the education committee to be of interest to ISHPSSB members developing their teaching. I am accumulating suggested links and will consult with the commitee when I have doubts about the appropriateness of any link. Please feel encouraged to suggest links to your own work, or to send files by email attachment that could be included on the site. Please send bibliographic references to supplement the small and unrepresentative set I have included in this short piece. Future newsletters will include summaries of what is on the education website for those not able to browse.
Gross, P. R. and N. Levitt (1994). Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Gilbert, S. F. (1997). "Bodies of Knowledge: Biology and the Intercultural University," in P. J. Taylor, S. E. Halfon and P. E. Edwards (Eds.), Changing Life: Genomes-Ecologies-Bodies-Commodities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 36-55.
Hagen, J., D. Allchin and F. Singer (1996). Doing Biology. New York: Harper Collins.
Hilgartner, S. (1997). "The Sokal affair in context." Science, Technology and Human Values 22(4): 506-522.
Martin, B. (1996). "Social construction of an ‘Attack on Science’ (Review of Gross & levitt, Higher Superstition)." Social Studies of Science 26(1): 161-173.
McNeal, A. P. and C. D’Avanzo (Eds.) (1997). Student-Active Science: Models of Innovation in College Science Teaching. Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing.
Paul, D. (1995). Controlling Human Heredity, 1865 to the Present. Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press.
Paul, D. (1997). "The history of newborn phenylketonuria screening in the U.S.," Appendix 5 in N. A. Holtzman and M. S. Watson (Eds.), Promoting Safe and Effective Genetic Testing in the United States. Washington, DC: NIH-DOE Working Group on the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Human Genome Research, 137-159.
Sokal, A. (1996). "A physicist experiments with cultural studies." Lingua Franca (May-June): 62-64.
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Michigan State University invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position as an assistant professor in Lyman Briggs School, an undergraduate, residential science program in the College of Natural Science, beginning Fall 1999 (or Spring 1999). Candidates must have a PhD with a specialization in the social study of science, medicine, or technology. Teaching experience and a research program expected. The successful candidate will work closely with undergraduates, teaching four courses per year which may include an introduction to Science and Technology Studies (STS) with an emphasis on freshman composition, upper level courses in sociology of science, medicine, or technology, and a senior seminar. Possibility exists of a joint or adjunct appointment with the Department of Sociology. Salary commensurate with experience, but in the range of $40,000 to $45,000. Underrepresented minorities and women are especially encouraged to apply. Letters of application, accompanied by a curriculum vitae, writing sample, and letters from three references, should be sent by July 31, 1998 to Director, Lyman Briggs School, E-27 Holmes Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48825-1107.
Blackwell Publishers are pleased to announce a special reduced rate for Metascience for ISHPSSB members!
Metascience is a review journal which publishes high quality, comprehensive reviews of books in history and philosophy of science, science and technology studies and related fields. Metascience, edited by John Forge, specializes in innovative styles of reviewing including standard, essay, CD-ROM, non-anglophone, and discipline survey reviews and "round-table" or review symposia in which up to four reviewers provide independent essay reviews of one book. Metascience is non-specialist as all reviews are accessible to a wide cross-section of the HPS/STS community.
Special Reduced Personal Rate: $40.00 (North America), £25.00 (Europe and Rest of World); Institutional Rate: $123.00 (North America), £75.00 (Europe and Rest of World)
Journals Marketing, Blackwell Publishers, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
is offering a special introductory subscription rate to ISHPSSB members. Perspectives is an international and interdisciplinary journal published by the University of Chicago Press. The journal publishes essays that place biological and medical topics in a broader historical, philosophical, or cultural context. Future issues of Perspectives will contain a number of articles by ISHPSSB members. Regularly $39.00 for a one-year subscription, the special rate for new subscribers is only $33.15. (For subscriptions mailed outside USA, please add $4.00 for postage.)
Members are invited to request a copy of the ISHPSSB Directory by sending a request to David Magnus, the Society secretary. The first copy is free. Members who would like a second copy of the directory are asked to forward a check for $3.00 payable to the Society to cover copying and mailing costs. The directory is updated at the beginning of each year; members submitting requests after February 1 will receive a copy of the latest directory.
The Fall 1997 ISHPSSB Newsletter contained a brief item (on page 9) about how BioScience would welcome manuscripts on the history and philosophy of biology. This fact is certainly accurate, but unfortunately the contact info in the item is a bit out of date...not only is Julie Miller no longer the editor (she left over two years ago) but, more important, the address and e-mail given for AIBS are incorrect.
Rebecca Chasan, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, BioScience, American Institute of Biological Sciences, 1444 I St NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005, Phone: (202) 628-1500, x243, Fax: (202)628-1509
Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology Names Resident, Visiting, Postdoctoral, and Graduate Fellows for 1998-1999
The following thirteen persons have been appointed as Dibner Institute Resident Fellows: Xiang Chen, Kelly DeVries, Moritz Epple, Juliet Floyd, Alan Franklin, Kostas Gavroglu, Alexander Jones, Andrew Pickering, Nicolas Rasmussen, Leonard S. Reich, Katherine Rinne, Friedrich Steinle, and Nicolas Wey-Gomez.
Lis Brack-Bernsen has been appointed as a Dibner Institute Visiting Fellow.
The Dibner Institute has made the following seven Postdoctoral Fellowship appointments: Arne Hessenbruch, Christophe Lecuyer, Reviel Netz, Richard Sorrenson, Klaus Staubermann, John Michael Steele, and Benno van Dalen. In addition, Noah Efron, Tal Golan, David McGee, and James Voelkel have been reappointed to a second year as Postdoctoral Fellows.
The Dibner Institute has awarded Graduate Fellowships to eleven Ph.D. candidates at three consortium-member institutions. The fellows are: Peder Anker, Harvard University; Babak Ashrafi, MIT; Rosalind Carey, Boston University; Edward A. Eigen, MIT; Gregory J. Galer, MIT; Diane Greco, MIT; and Hannah Landecker, MIT.
Ernst Florey, 1927-1997
By Antje Radeck, Secretary of Hans-Joerg Rheinberger, member of the Board of the German Society for the History and Philosophy of Science
Professor Ernst Florey, who was elected president of the "German Society for the History and Philosophy of Biology" in June 1997, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on September 26, 1997. Florey was born in 1927 in Salzburg, Austria. He studied philosophy, zoology and botany in Salzburg and Vienna. After research visits at the California Institute of Technology and other American research institutions, he became professor for general and comparative physiology at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1956. In 1969, he moved to the newly founded University of Konstanz in Germany, where he remained until his retirement in 1992, conducting research on the biochemical processes in nerve synapses, the mode of action of drugs, and the history of the life sciences. Florey was the author of several books, among them Introduction to General and Comparative Animal Physiology, 1966; Animal Physiology, 1970, 1975; Comparative Aspects of Neuropeptide Function (with G. B. Stefano), 1992; The Brain – Organ of the Soul? (with O. Breidbach), 1993. His last book was dedicated to the enigmatic physician, magnetizer, and enlightened thinker Franz Anton Mesmer (1995). With Ernst Florey’s death, the field of biology as well as history of science has lost one of the rare universalist scholars of our day, as well as a noble person.
Making People: The Normal and Abnormal in Constructions of Personhood
When: April 24-26, 1998
Where: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Scholars in the fields of science and technology studies, history, literature, and psychology will examine how the concepts of normality and pathology are generated out of and in turn regulate science and its social relations. Panels include "Our Genes, Our Selves?"; "Myths of the Normal"; "(M)othering"; "Blood, Brains, Bodies"; and "Deviance Under Law."
When: May 7-10
Where: Banff, Alberta
Scheduled participants include: Elizabeth Hodge, Wendy Pearson, Marilyn Myerson & Michael Mann, Leticia Heras, David Strangway, Arjo Klamer, Robert Newman, Deborah Bowen, Peter Brown, Kieran Bonner, James Horley, Patrick Colfer, Dale Breitkreutz, James Kow, Peg Tittle, Bruce Janz, Stanley Raffel, Rick Szostak, Peter Caws, Anna Bernhardt, Susan Knabe, Larry Vandervert, Julie Thompson Klein, Milton Schlosser, Frederick Rzewski, Gregory Baum, Margaret Ann Armour & Dorothy Tovell, Dave O’Reilly, Mike Emme, Bruce Krajewski, Claire Polster, Ross Emmett, Arjo Klamer, Emma LaRocque, Jan Clarke, Anne Gatensby, Frank B. Hawkinshire, David Shumway, Mohammed Dore & C. Hayes, Murray Smith, Richard Husfloen
The Second Wave: Southern Industrialization, 1940-1970
When: June 5-6, 1998
Where: Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech’s School of History, Technology, and Society invites paper proposals for a conference focused on the second wave of southern industrialization, spurred by World War Two era spending and developing broadly in the postwar decades through federal and private sector regional investments. Key "New South" manufacturing sectors (textiles, steel, tobacco) had experienced slowed growth or stagnation in the interwar decades. Then, war demands and peacetime opportunities triggered a fresh round of infrastructure, military, and industrial investments which gradually reshaped the landscape of production from the Carolinas to Texas, while transforming the construction, finance and service segments of the southern economy. We welcome proposals from historians, sociologists, geographers, urban or rural studies researchers, and public policy analysts which examine this broad regional dynamic – at the level of the firm, the sector, the urban/rural district, or in statewide or regional terms.
Travel and local expenses for presenters will be reimbursed, thanks to a University System of Georgia grant. Proposals should be limited to one page, accompanied by a short vita (two page maximum). As we will seek university press publication for a set of the conference papers, essays already published or in press should not be submitted for consideration.
Mail, email or fax submissions will be accepted. Due date for receipt of proposals: March 1, 1998 (Notification date: March 16, 1998)
South Scandinavian Consortium for Science Studies, Summer School 1998
History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, Mols Laboratory, Femmoller (Jutland), Denmark, July 30-August 5, 1998
The theme of the Third South Scandinavian Summer School in Science Studies is the history, philosophy, and social studies of biology. The particular topics to be treated this year are best explained with reference to the following faculty: Claus Emmeche, Associate Professor in Natural Philosophy and Science Studies, Copenhagen University. He has published, among other things, The Garden in the Machine: The Emerging Science of Artificial Life (Princeton, 1994); Hans-Jorg Rheinberger, director of the Max-Planck-Institut fur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin. His latest book is Toward a History of Epistemic Things: Synthesizing Proteins in the Test Tube (Stanford, 1997); Judy Johns Schloegel, Postdoctoral Fellow, Max-Planck-Institut fur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin. She is writing about protozoology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and a book, "Intimate Biology," on protozoan genetics in the United States; Vissiliki B. Smocovitis, Associate Professor in History of Science, University of Florida. She has published, among other things, Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology (Princeton, 1996); Marcel Weber, Assistant at the Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science, University of Hanover. He is the author of several articles on the philosophy of biology and of the forthcoming book, Die Architectur der Synthese, Entstehung und Philosophie der modernen Evolutionstheorie (Berlin, 1998); Thomas Soderqvist, Research Council Professor in Science Studies, Roskilde University. He has written, among other things, The Ecologists (Stockholm, 1986) and his biography of the immunologist and Nobel Prize winner Niels K. Jerne, Hvilken kamp for at undslippe (Copenhagen, 1998), will be published in May.
The program consists of lectures, tutorials, and group discussions. Ph. D. students are encouraged to prepare short presentation of their dissertation projects in plenary sessions.
The Mols Laboratory is beautifully situated in a hilly area called "The Mols Mountains" in eastern Jutland, Denmark. There are ample opportunities for swimming in Kattegat and for walks in the surrounding forests and heaths.
When: July 30-August 2, 1998
Where: The University of California – Santa Cruz
Information: The University of California will host a four-day public conference: "Green and Gold: California’s Environments-Memories and Visions." Held on the beautiful Santa Cruz campus, with its redwoods, fields, and ocean views, it will recapture California’s past environments, explore their transformation, and imagine their future. Through an examination of the "green culture" of the pre-Gold Rush era and the formation of the Golden State and its culture of gold, participants will explore the unique blend of nature and culture that defines California’s past and its future prospects. Exploring the implications of the 150th anniversary of the 1848 discovery of gold in California and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the conference will culminate by looking at the co-mingling of the green and gold cultures as the millennium approaches. It will be sponsored in part by the California Council for the Humanities, the American Society for Environmental History, U.C. Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, U.C. Santa Cruz’s Divisions of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Winslow Foundation.
Teaching College Biology: Roles for Professional Societies
When: August 2, 1998
Where: Baltimore, Maryland
AIBS, ESA and CELS are using the occasion of the 1998 joint, annual meeting of several professional societies to convene a special education workshop on August 2, 1998, the opening day of the 1998 Annual Meeting. Participants will need to register for this workshop, but they need not register for the annual meeting. The cost for this three-hour workshop is $15. Information and a registration form is posted on the AIBS website: http://www.aibs.org/
"Teaching College Biology: Roles for Professional Societies" is designed especially for those who want to promote quality undergraduate education in their professional societies. Participants will: (1) Learn about success stories from representatives of AIBS, ESA and other professional societies that actively support undergraduate teaching faculty; (2) Generate ideas for disseminating high-quality instructional materials and other active roles for professional societies in supporting the "teaching scholarship" of undergraduate biology facutly; and (3) Receive and discuss a CELS monograph on professional societies as communities for faculty scholars.
Workshop organizers: Alan Berkowitz, Vice President for Education and Human Resources, Ecological Society of America (ESA); Louise Liao, Program Director, Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences (CELS); and Gordon Uno, Education Committee Chair, American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).
Defining the Prairies: A Multidisciplinary Conference on the Canadian Prairies
When: September 24-26, 1998
Where: St. John’s College, University of Manitoba
Information: This conference will bring together analysists from around the world to consider the importance and meaning of the Canadian Prairies. It will be a broad discussion that will draw upon views from such disciplines as agriculture, anthropology, architecture, art, economics, geography, history, literature, philosophy, political studies, religious studies, and sociology. Subject to funding, a collection of the papers will be published. Highlights of the conference will be be keynote speakers Gerald Friesen and Robert Kroetsch, and in addition to the presentation of papers, there will be readings performed by Prairie writers.
The conference organizers welcome a wide variety of presenations. Papers might address such topics on literature as the said and the unsaid; voices and voicings; memory and invention; the long poem; names and naming; symbols; the ludic and the didactic; myths and narratives; prophets and prophecy; liminality – borders, boundaries, shorelines; possession and dispossession; the oral and the written. Other proposals could include the usefulness of Prairie as an analytical tool; Prairie as region; the Canadian vs. the American West; the Prairie in global context; the construction of a Prairie identity; Native Peoples; Utopianism; the land; language; the Arts; rural-urban; vegetation; alienation; archives; ‘the Wild West’; culture and leisure; ethnicity; climate; provincialism; immigration and emigration; oral and local histories; radicalism; gender; cultural imperialism and postcolonialism; transportation; the North; time; technology.
Environmental History across Boundaries: American Society for Environmental History Biennial Meeting
When: April 14-18, 1999
Where: Tucson, Arizona
The American Society for Environmental History invites proposals for its 1999 biennial meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Paper and session proposals that examine any aspect of human interaction with the physical environment over time are welcome. The program committee especially encourages proposals that draw comparisons across time, space, and disciplines (scholars from other fields welcome) and are for complete panels (although individual paper proposals will be accepted).
Details: Proposals should contain six (6) copies of the following: (1) cover sheet with the full name and affiliation of each panel participant and the title of the session and/or of each paper; (2) a 100-word maximum abstract describing the purpose of the session; (3) a 250-word maximum abstract of each paper; and (4) a two-page maximum c.v. for each participant that includes telephone numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses, and fax numbers.
Please do not send additional materials or exceed word limits. Proposals should be postmarked no later than July 15, 1998. All six copies should be sent to: Edmund Russell, Technology, Culture, and Communication, SEAS, Thornton Hall A-237, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903.
Summary of the First Global Cyberconference on Public Understanding of Science
The aim of the conference was to canvass the different meanings attached to the expression ‘public understanding of science’, and the extent to which these meanings represent convergent, parallel or conflicting agendas. Some of the discussion focussed on issues relevant to distinct regions of the world, including the following: "The relationship between science and development in Latin American settings," "The manipulation of scientific uncertainty in Australian environmental politics," "The compatibility of science and religion in Christianity (especially in the US) and Islam," "The difficulty of motivating the ‘public understanding of science’ as a project in France and East Asia," "The role of ‘public understanding of science’ in fostering racial integration in South Africa," and "Public decision-making on the future of genetic engineering research in Switzerland."
Broader issues that attracted cross-cultural discussion included: "Would ‘public understanding of science’ be regarded as an interesting area of research and funding without the belief that some group or other – either scientists or non-scientists – is suffering from a ‘deficit’ in their understanding of something or other? What would a non-deficit-based ‘public understanding of science’ look like?" "Is ‘public understanding of science’ something that should be integrated into the education of scientists, the general public, and/or expert specialists in ‘science communication’?" "Does it first require mastery of the technical content of some science?" "To what extent can it be instilled outside the classroom?" "Should the ‘public understanding of science’ stress the limits of science so as to enable people to recognize its various abuses and misues?" "Or should it stress the power of science to produce, say, beneficial medical and technological change?" "Should one of the principal aims of the ‘public understanding of science’ be to increase people’s acceptance of science in their lives or to make people more self-conscious and critical of science?" "Does science itself pose certain obstacles to the ‘public understanding of science’?" "Are these obstacles generic to the institution of science or specific to particular settings?" "In what contexts are the public expected to act upon their understanding of science?" "Participation in science policy decisions?" "More scientifically informed lifestyles?" "Attendance at scientific events?" "Recruitment into the scientific ranks?" "Are the communicative processes involved in ‘public understanding of science’ themselves part of how scientific knowledge is constituted?" "Is there a need for a ‘public understanding of social science’ akin to one or more conceptions of ‘public understanding of science’?"
In the coming months, the above issues will be analyzed in more detail for purposes of presenting a comprehensive account of the emergent features of this field. Preliminary findings will be published toward the end of the year in the journal, Public Understanding of Science.
Nature’s Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design in Biology
, edited by Colin Allen, Marc Bekoff, and George Lauder
Within the natural sciences, only biologists take seriously teleological statements about design, purpose, and adaptive function. Some biologists claim that to understand the complex morphological and behavioral traits of organisms we must say what they are for, which is to give a teleological explanation of why organisms have them. Others argue that the theory of natural selection, in providing statistical explanations for the same phenomena, obviates any need for teleological thinking. If teleology cannot be eliminated from biology, it raises fundamental questions about the nature of biological explanation and about the relationship of biology to the rest of science.
To account for "Nature's purposes" is arguably the most important basic issue in the philosophy of biology. This volume provides a guide to the discussion among biologists and philosophers about the role of concepts such as function and design in an evolutionary understanding of life. All of the contributors examine biological teleology from a naturalistic perspective. Most of them maintain that teleological claims in biology both describe and explain something – but opinions vary as to exactly what is explained and how.
Colin Allen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Texas A & M University. Marc Bekoff is Professor in the Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. George Lauder is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine.
Contributors: Fred Adams, Colin Allen, Ron Amundson, Francisco J. Ayala, Mark Bedau, Marc Bekoff, John Bigelow, Walter J. Bock, Robert N. Brandon, Robert Cummins, Carl Gans, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Stephen Jay Gould, Paul E. Griffiths, R. A. Hinde, Philip Kitcher, George V. Lauder, Ruth Garrett Millikan, S. D. Mitchell, Ernest Nagel, Karen Neander, Robert Pargetter, M. J. S. Rudwick, Gerd von Wahlert, Elisabeth S. Vrba, Larry Wright.
A Bradford Book, April 1998, $30.00 paper, ISBN 0-262-51097-9, $55.00 cloth, ISBN 0-262-01168-9
Science as Culture,
Vol. 7 Part 1, has now appeared.
The editors hope that members of this forum will subscribe to the journal, which has a unique point of view in a world where most commentators on science, technology, medicine and other forms of expertise suffer from a remarkable timidity. They also invite submissions on any aspect of the cultural dimensions of science and of the history and philosophy of science and other forms of expertise.
Contents: Peter Taylor, "Natural Selection: A Heavy Hand in Biological and Social Thought;" Laurie Anne Whitt, "Biocolonialism and the Commodification of Knowledge;" Matthew R. Davis, "Biomedical Control and Diabetes Care;" Mark Elam and Oskar Juhlin, "When Harry Met Sandra: An Alternative Engagement after the Science Wars."
Reviews: Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace, edited by Lynn Cherny and Elizabeth R Weise, reviewed by Tiziana Terranova; Colonial Technology: Science and the Transfer of Innovation to Australia, by Jan Todd, reviewed by David Mercer; Minds for the Making: The Role of Science in American Education, 1750-1990, by Scott L. Montgomery, reviewed by Daniel Dunlap.
During 1998 Science as Culture will publish two special issues: Strategising Counter-Expertise, guest editors Kim Fortun and Todd Cherkasky; and Natural Contradictions, guest editors Yrjo Haila and Peter Taylor.
The Center for History of Recent Science, George Washington University, announces its website.
Features of the site include: 1) Information about the Center, including how to apply for postdoctoral fellowships; 2) Current research projects of Center staff; 3) Search capability–search all of the pages of the RecSci website including calendar pages, items, people, and events related to your area of interest; 4) Add-an-event form–it is now easy to add events to the RecSci calendar, just use the online form; 5) The calendar also has many new events listed and is growing rapidly; 6) Messageboard–post messages related to the field–job notices, rideshares and roomshares for meetings, news of the field, queries to colleagues; 7) List of links–professional societies, archives, and other scholarly resources on the web; 8) Crickboard–an electronic corkboard with pictures of the Center staff tacked up to it, with links to our home pages; and 9) Around George Washington–people and courses at George Washington University relevant to the history of recent science.
We hope this site will prove to be a useful contribution to the history of science community and of interest to anyone interested in recent science.
Nathaniel Comfort, Center for History of Recent Science, Dept of History, 801 22d St NW, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, Phone: (202) 994-3957
Essays by C. Gordon Winder, University of Western Ontario: Science Christianity United – The Bottom Line
1) Science and Christianity – The Positive Attitudel 2) God’s Compatibility Triangle; 3) Earth’s Old Age evidence Confronts the Young Earth Myth; 4) Niagara and the Age of the Earth; 5) What is LIFE? Define LIFE; and 6) Conclusions, Musings, and the Bottom Line
The essay about the definition of LIFE was discussed at the ISHPSSB meeting at Brandeis University in 1993.
Essays by Robert M. Young, "Malthus on Man – In Animals No Moral Restraint"
Thirty years ago I wrote an article on the common context of biological and social theory, using Malthus as a key text and exploring how various writers had read him and had come up with very different conclusions: William Paley, Thomas Chalmers, Darwin, Wallace, Spencer, Marx and Engels. This article generated a number of commentaries and refutations, primarily seeking to disprove my conclusions about the connection between Darwin and Malthus and the role of Malthus in the origination of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. I have stood my ground and have argued that quite a lot hangs on the connection. On the occasion of the first invitation I have ever had to deliver a paper to a conference of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (an ideologically and personally antagonistic director having been forcibly retired), I took the opportinity to reflect on this controversy, bring in some new evidence and draw philosophical conclusions about the role of praxis in human nature, as sanctioned by the first professional social scientist and the founder of modern evolutionary theory. I also urge modern Darwinians to emulate these eminent forbearers in granting a role for praxis in human nature. The paper was presented to a conference on "Malthus, Medicine and Science" organised by Roy Porter at the Wellcome Institute, London, on 20 March 1998.
Recent writings on science and ideology, the science wars, postmodernism and the limits – if any – to the explanatory power of Darwinism all lead me to feel that I have been here before, in particular, in the debates at the beginning of the radical science movement in the New Left in the wake of the events of 1968 and the intellectual ferment which followed. In that period I wrote a number of essays, some for very public audiences (e.g., the BBC Third Programme). I have just put one of them on the web: "Darwinism and the Division of Labour," http://www.shef.ac.uk/~psysc/staff/rmyoung/papers/pap109.html which is closely allied to some others (e.g., "Evolutionary Biology and Ideology: Then and Now," "The Anthropology of Science," "The Naturalization of Value Systems in the Human Sciences," and "Darwinism is Social").
There are a number of other essays and a couple of books on matters Darwinian and Malthusian at the site, as well, including: "Marxism and the History of Science," http://www.shef.ac.uk/uni/academic/N-Q/psysc/staff/rmyoung/papers/pap104.html; "Science, Alienation and Oppression," http://www.shef.ac.uk/uni/academic/N-Q/psysc/staff/rmyoung/papers/pap103.html; "The Mind-Body Problem," http://www.shef.ac.uk/uni/academic/N-Q/psysc/staff/rmyoung/papers/pap102.html
To join ISHPSSB or renew your membership contact Society Treasurer David Magnus or fill out the form on the Society’s Website:
Existing members need to renew if the mailing label on the most recent newsletter has 1997 or earlier on the top line. If you think the information in the membership files is out of date (e-mail addresses seem especially volatile), please provide the new information to the society treasurer/membership secretary.
Graduate students qualify for a reduced membership fee – only US$ 10 for two years. Emeritus members pay no fee. Otherwise a regular membership is US$ 35 for two years.
All checks must be in US$; payment by Visa/Mastercard is welcome. Credit card payments can be sent electronically. (As far as we understand this is relatively safe – as safe as the postal service, maybe safer – since everything is automatically encrypted.) Receipts for payment will be sent out, but to reduce administrative costs, this will be done only if requested. If paying by credit card, your monthly credit card statement should serve as your receipt.
ISHPSSB President 1997-99
6350 Arlington Boulevard
Richmond CA 94805 USA
Phone: (510) 642-4597; Fax: (510) 642-4164
Peter Taylor, Chair
Department of Biology
Swarthmore, PA 19081
Department of Philosophy
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0126
Phone: (540) 231-6760; Fax: (540) 231-6367
Program Chair, 1999 Meetings
History and Philosophy of Science Program
University of California at Davis
Davis, CA 95616-8673
Zapate # 6 - 9
Col. Miguel Hidalgo
Treasurer and Membership Secretary
University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics
3401 Market Street, Room 320
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 898-7136
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Student Representative History of Science and Technology
435 Walter Library
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Chris Young, Newsletter Editor
History of Science/Natural Philosophy
Mt. Angel Seminary
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Phone: (503) 845-3557; Fax: (503) 845-3126
ISHPSSB WWW Site
The Santo Domingo Temple in Oaxaca will serve as the site of the 1999 ISHPSSB meetings. The 17th century building is being beautifully restored to include as many as 30 small meeting rooms and five larger rooms for sessions. Also part of the restoration is the establishment of a museum for the preservation of artifacts from nearby ruins including Monte Alban.
The ruins of several ancient civilizations surround Oaxaca. Monte Alban, shown here, dates back to 700 BC. The town of Oaxaca is in the upper part of this photo.
A range of choices for lodging will be available to members through a local travel agency in Oaxaca. The Camino Real, a hotel converted from a 16th century convent, is a cherished landmark in Mexico.
Last updated: 23 June 1998.