President's Semi-Annual Report
The July 2005 ISHPSSB meeting in Guelph was a great success, as I think everyone who attended will attest. Lynn Nyhart and the Program Committee organized a large number of diverse sessions, from revisiting the Darwinian Revolution (dedicated to the memory of Ernst Mayr) to feminist philosophy of biology, to visual representations in the life sciences. In addition, we were treated to three plenary presentations on Saturday, all dealing with aspects of scholars as political and social activists: Alice Dreger (Michigan State), Brian Wynne (University of Lancaster) and Richard Levins (Harvard University). Many thanks to Lynn and the other committee members: Douglas Allchin, Edna Suarez, Jonathan Harwood and Joao Nunes. Although the weather was warmer than most participants had expected, Guelph tuned out to be a very hospitable environment for the meeting overall. There was a pub on campus and many more in town, along with a variety of restaurants, giving ISH members the opportunity to try out local cuisine. Many thanks especially to David Castle and the Local Arrangements Committee (Keith Benson, Astrid Juette. Lynn Nyhart and Ginny Russell) for all their hard work in making the whole event run so smoothly.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have served the Society on a variety of committees with many tasks to carry out. To outgoing Council Members Ana Barahona, Christiane Groeben and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, a special thanks for serving the past four years. We have benefited from your many efforts and dedication to the Society. I would also like to extend the thanks for all of us to Mike Dietrich, who now assumes the role of Past-President. Mike has done heroic work in moving the Society forward on many fronts, not the least of which is a complete overhaul of the Operations Manual, spelling out in more careful and explicit detail, the charges of the various officers and committees. The Operations Manual has already been of great help to me as I begin to learn the procedures by which the Society operates.
I would also like to welcome incoming Council members Werner Callebaut, Sandra Mitchell, Edna Suarez, Staffan-Müller-Wille and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (who is returning to the Council)as Program Co-Chairs, and our new student representative Jason Baker, who replaces Vivette Garcia Deister. Our new President-elect is Jim Griesemer. The new members and President-elect join Joe Cain, Kathy Cooke, and Phil Sloan on the Council. Our Archivist continues to be Pam Henson, who helps keep our records and other business items in order. The ISHPSSB website, so ably constructed three years ago by Roberta Millstein, continues to be maintained by her with the additional help of Frédéric Bouchard. Thanks to both of you for outstanding service keeping us up-to-date in the electronic age.
Jim Griesemer and the new Site Selection Committee are already gearing up for the 2009 meeting. After we had explored several possible North American locations, at the Guelph meeting Paul Griffiths brought forth an extremely inviting offer to hold the meeting at the University of Queensland in Australia. There was considerable discussion about this prospect at the business meeting on July 15, with issues of travel costs being the major concern. On the other hand, there was considerable excitement about the prospects of meeting “down under,” with the added realization that if we are to remain a truly international organization we need to meet around the world wherever our constituents are located. This is an issue raised by Lenny Moss at the business meeting in Vienna, and one that we still need to address explicitly. Too often, we are reminded, “international” is taken to mean only Europe and the Americas. Jim and the Committee will be exploring those issues and making a recommendation to be reported in the spring Newsletter.
ISHPSSB Meeting, Exeter, UK, July, 2007
We are already looking forward to our next meeting in Exeter, scheduled for July 25 - 28 at the University of Exeter. Exeter is a city of around 100,000 population, in Devon, southwest England, on the Exe River. It is a major commercial and transportation center for southwest England. It is also a center for manufacturing metal and leather goods, paper and farm implements. John Dupré, with the able assistance of Cheryl Sutton, will be handling local arrangements. Cheryl has provided the following quotation from a visitors’ guide and description of the campus, city, and surrounding countryside:
“Exeter is very easy to fall in love with. It has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, in one of the most beautiful counties in Britain.” [Virgin Alternative Guide to British Universities, 2005]
“The city centre is only a short walk away from the University campus. Exeter is a friendly city which happily combines modern life with a sense of the past. Outside of the city, some of the most stunning countryside in Britain is right on the doorstep. The whole region is a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast, whether you are looking for sport or gentle relaxation, from the wild scenery of the national parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor to the gentler landscapes of rolling hills, rivers and attractive market towns and villages, to the impressive coastal areas. An extended stay before or after the conference will certainly be worthwhile.”
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger and Staffan Müller-Wille, Program Co-chairs for, remind us that is not too soon to start thinking of those sessions you would like to see in 2007. To this end we are maintaining a bulletin board for posting session ideas at:
Since we have not met in the UK before, this will mark an important milestone in the Society’s “biogeographic diversity.”
Marjorie Grene Prize
Congratulations to Tania Munz, winner of this year’s Marjorie Grene Prize for her paper titled: “The Bee Battles: Karl von Frisch, Adrian Wenner and the Honey Bee Dance Language Controversy.” Many thanks also to Kathy Cooke and the Grene Prize Committee (Mike Bradie, Joe Cain and Judy Johns Schloegel) for their hard work in choosing among a number of excellent entries.
ISHPSSB and the Editorship of History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
As most of you are aware by now, Keith Benson brought forward a proposal at the Guelph meeting that ISHPSSB take over editorship of the journal History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, in partnership with the Stazione Zoologica in Naples, the journal’s current owner. The project would involve financial input from both organizations for a two-year trial period, after which either organization could withdraw. Keith generously offered to serve as Interim Editor until a permanent editor could be found. The permanent editor would be chosen by ISHPSSB, subject to approval by an Advisory Board made up of representatives from each organization (3 apiece, with the Interim Editor, or whoever is the current editor in the future, as a seventh member). A larger Editorial Board (12) would also have equal representation from the two organizations. The proposal was very exciting in that it would give the Society an official face in the broader community of historians, philosophers and sociologists of science, and could provide a significant outlet for papers given at ISHPSSB meetings. But it also raised many questions that members and the Council thought needed to be addressed before making any formal commitment. These included: the long-term prospects for the journal’s survival, legal and structural issues regarding joint operation of the journal between ISHPSSB and the Stazione, choice of publishers, how managing a journal would impact the Society’s overall mission, and a number of other more detailed issues. Since the proposal of having an official society journal was new, many members felt we needed more time to think through the long-range implications. Many felt the trend away from publishing hard-copy journals suggested we should consider alternative publication prospects (for example, on-line only), of which there are now several models in existence, especially within the scientific community.
Because of the many questions raised by this proposal, the Council voted at its meeting of Saturday, July 16, to appoint an Ad Hoc Committee on Publications to review the matter and take an e-mail poll of all ISHPSSB members in September about whether to explore this possibility seriously. Many thanks to Phil Sloan, who agreed to chair the new committee, to committee members Jason Baker, Soraya de Chadarevian, Kathy Cooke, Astrid Juette,
Staffan Müller-Wille, Lynn Nyhart and to all of you who responded to the questionnaire (more than one-third of the total membership not only answered the questionnaire but aired their views and concerns to the committee; many have continued to do so in the intervening months and your input has been very helpful). With a vote of 116 to 22 in favor of further negotiations with the Stazione and with potential publishers, Keith and I met with Giorgio Bernardi, Director of the Stazione, in London October 13 and 14. We hammered out a tentative structure for the Advisory and Editorial Boards, general editorial policy, operating procedures and other details. The matter became more complicated in selecting publishers, however. We had three proposals at the time of the meeting, one from Taylor and Francis (the current publishers), one from Elsevier and one from Springer. Because Taylor and Francis had been very lax with the journal in the past, letting it get almost a year behind schedule, and because the Stazione had already informed them (prior to Keith bringing the proposal to the Society in July) that they would terminate the contract in December, 2005, this proposal was not a viable option. The Stazione favored Elsevier, in large part because Elsevier publish the Stazione’s high profile scientific journal, Gene, and they have had good relations with the company. The Springer proposal only arrived a day before we left for the meeting and we did not have ample opportunity to consider it carefully. The result was that we tentatively agreed to the Elsevier proposal, with the caveat that we knew some members of the Society and their respective university librarians had strong reservations about the company’s high prices and practice of selling journals only in batches rather than individually. I explained the results of the London meeting in a memo to the Council on October 24, and to the general membership ten days later.
Shortly after this, we received a more favorable bid from Springer. We also received comments from a number of ISH members about the whole publishing venue, some expressing a desire to have non-traditional forms of publishing (such as a pay-per-article electronic only format), and others, while favoring a journal were concerned about Elsevier and its apparently negative reputation in some quarters. Several members raised an about one of the parent company’s subsidiaries (not the publishing division itself), which organized exhibitions, some of which promoted military hardware, including weapons outlawed by the U.N. As a result of these developments I asked the Ad Hoc Committee to review the entire issue and prepare a recommendation to the Council
The Ad Hoc Committee reviewed the entire question of taking over editorship of HPLS: The publisher’s proposals as well as the preliminary Joint Management Agreement we had drawn up in London. I asked the Committee to make recommendations on the follwing issues: (1) Should the Society sponsor an official journal or not? (2) If the answer is yes, then should that journal be HPLS, a journal we start ourselves, or some other alternative venues for publishing, including on-line only? (3) Should we accept the Elsevier proposal, the Springer (modified) proposal, or begin a systematic search for other publishers? The recommendations the Ad Hoc Committee passed on to me and the Council were as follows:
(1) There was strong support for supporting a journal;
(2) We should take on the editorship of HPLS (many felt that starting a new journal would be costly and time-consuming, and that there were many advantages to taking over a well-respected journal in partnership with a major biological research institution);
(3) The Committee found the Elsevier proposal to be more detailed and complete than the Springer (even in its revised state). For example, the Elsevier proposal specified the cost of individual as well as institutional subscriptions, the advertisement policy, the rights of contract termination and the like, which were not spelled out in the Springer contract. The Committee therefore recommended that we go with Elsevier, despite some of the expressed reservations. I forwarded this recommendation to the Council on December 8, 2005, asking for a full Council review and vote (the Council also had access to the Springer and Elsevier proposals if they wanted more specifics). The Council voted to accept Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations, emphasizing the earlier understanding that this was for a 2-year trial period only (January 1, 2006 – December 31, 2007). The Council also voted to ask Keith to act as Interim Editor until a permanent editor can be found. We recognize the distinct possibility that it would be difficult to identify and have a new editor in operation before the Society had decided whether to continue editing the journal or not.
I also asked the Council to consider two related issues: (1) The wording and legal status of the Joint Management Agreement between ISH and the Stazione, and (2) More systematic oversight of expenses, now that we have added a significant new item to our budget (ie., the journal).
(1) The Council voted to ask a committee to review and revise aspects of the draft Joint Management Agreement and submit it to the Council before any further negotiations are carried out with the Stazione. This does not reflect any doubts about the viability of the partnership with the Stazione, but is simply sound business and legal procedures for any sort of agreement or contract. The Joint Management Agreement is now being revised by Keith, Jim Griesemer and myself, and will be reviewed by the Council and by a lawyer before Keith meets with the Stazione representatives in Naples in February. The finalized agreement will then be ratified by the Council at the earliest possible date. We will also subject the Elsevier contract to similar review (including legal).
(2) Regarding review of expenses, the Councilvoted to require approval by the full Council of all checks over $ 1,000 written by the Treasurer. This would be done in writing (i.e., e-mail) and the records preserved for reporting to the membership or possible future audit.
I want to thank everyone on the Ad Hoc Committee on Publication, the Council, and a variety of Society members who have made suggestions or helped us through the complexities of making these decisions. I am confident that, while some members have expressed some very reasonable and heart-felt doubts about undertaking editing a journal (that will become, if we continue, our official face to the scholarly world), this is a great opportunity for the Society. We can take the journal in directions that will be commensurate with the Society’s mission (to foster integrated studies of the history, philosophy and social studies of biology) and we will have the opportunity to be as innovative as possible. I urge ISHPSSB members to begin thinking of articles they could write, or have their students write that would exemplify the best that we think “ISH” has to offer.
New and Upcoming Issues
As for the future: Other issues that I would like for us to consider in the next year include: (1) updating our member and non-member address list files, and (2) moving toward an annual membership renewal process, replacing what has now become standard, namely renewal for two years at a time. For (1), we now keep several e-mail address files, one for actual members, and another for former members, friends or those who simply want to be keep informed about the Society’s activities. I would like to find some ways to help our ever hardworking Secretary, Chris Young, with the formidable task of updating these lists. Regarding issue (2), some years ago the Society switched to a system where most memberships were renewed for a two-year period at the annual meeting. While this had a certain convenience to it, it has tended to tie membership to meeting attendance, with no regular reminder system for those who happen not to attend the summer meeting. It also tended to deflate our known membership rolls in off-meeting years. An annual renewal system with reminders would help stabilize this process and make record-keeping by the Secretary and Treasurer much more systematic (an especially important change if those registered as members are to receive the journal on an annual basis).
ISHPSSB 2005 General Membership Meeting Minutes
July 15, 2005
There was a motion to suspend the rules to allow us to proceed in the order of the agenda: moved and seconded.
Many thanks were offered to the volunteers who make the society run, and particularly as we gathered in Guelph, those who had served on the Local Arrangements Committee chaired by David Castle.
Members observed a moment of silence for deceased members: Sylvia Culp; Ernst Mayr.
There was a motion to dispense with Reading of Minutes of the 2003 meeting in Vienna: moved and seconded. (These minutes are available in Fall 2003 newsletter.)
- Nominations and Elections committee: Lindley Darden thanked individuals on the committee and announced the following results:
- Students elected a new Student Representative at their meeting earlier in the day: Jason Baker, Indiana University
President-elect: James Griesemer
- Program co-chairs: Hans-Joerg Rheinberger and Staffan Mueller-Wille
- Secretary: Chris Young
- Treasurer: Keith Benson
- Council members (2005-2009): Werner Callebaut, Sandra Mitchell, and Edna Suarez (In accordance with the Society By-Laws, a runoff election was conducted at the meeting.)
- Students elected a new Student Representative at their meeting earlier in the day: Jason Baker, Indiana University
- Education Committee: Joe Cain submitted a report indicating that the committee had co-sponsored a session on teaching evolution but had no other activity to report. He encouraged members interested in education to get involved in the committee.
- Grene Prize Committee: Kathy Cooke announced Tania Munz, Princeton University, as the winner of the Grene Prize. There were 16 submissions, more than in any previous year.
- Membership Development Committee: Christiane Groeben explained that the committee had investigated the creation of regional representatives, but that the idea was dropped due to lack of interest and a lack of perceived need by active members. She recommended that the Nominations Committee actively recruit officers from diverse regions. A leaflet was created and distributed by the committee to promote the Guelph meeting.
- Off Year Workshop Committee: Chris Young acknowledged the successful running of the FDISH Workshop. Members of the Society interested in running an off-year workshop are encouraged to contact the next committee chair.
- Secretary’s Report: Chris Young reported that membership numbers continue to reflect the attendance trends at biennial meetings. A membership drive in the fall will target members who did not attend this year’s meeting. The Society has 338 members in good standing and 330 members with dues delinquent (through 2004).
- Operations Committee: Garland Allen thanked Mike Dietrich for assembling an operations manual over the past two years.
- Site Selection Committee: Garland Allen explained that only one full proposal for 2009 has been received, from Paul Griffiths in Brisbane, Australia. Other possible venues in North America are preparing proposals for consideration.
- Program Committee: Lynn Nyhart thanked participants for the approximately 300 submissions. She especially thanked Roberta Millstein for her assistance in gathering submissions via the internet and converting those into the program.
- Student Advisory Committee: Vivette Garcia-Deister thanked the ISHPSSB community for their ongoing support of graduate student involvement in the Society. She emphasized the important role ISHPSSB plays in the development of professional scholars.
- Travel Award Committee: Keith Benson announced that approximately $15,000 was available for student travel awards. The Student Advisory Committee created criteria for awarding that money. For Guelph, 42 students received support ranging from 65 to 75 percent of their travel costs.
- Treasurer’s Report: Keith Benson thanked David Castle for finding funding for numerous costs related to the meeting. With 356 registered, Guelph became the Society’s second-largest meeting. Specific details of the Society’s account balances are available upon request.
Items brought forward from Council
Paper acceptance guidelines:
Lynn Nyhart summarized the Paper Acceptance Guidelines proposed for approval. These are attached to these minutes. A motion was made to accept the guidelines as established. After being seconded, the motion passed with two nay votes and no abstentions.
Site Selection for 2009:
Mike Deitrich led a discussion to solicit input from the general membership about the proposal for a meeting in Brisbane, Australia. A question about the contents of the proposal prompted a brief presentation by Paul Griffiths. A complete .pdf version of the proposal will be available online. Response to this proposal included enthusiasm for the possibility of attracting new members from many parts of Asia and Australia. Statements of making a serious attempt to emphasize the “International” in ISHPSSB came from various members. Concern about travel to Australia, particularly from North America and Europe, prompted encouragement that the Society be creative about providing opportunities to secure outside funding.
Association with History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences:
Garland Allen introduced a proposal to associate the Society with HPLS. The first question to be addressed by the membership would be to decide whether it is desirable to associate with a journal. If yes, is this the current offer from the Naples Station a suitable opportunity. The offer involves a two-year trial period during which ISHPSSB members would receive a subscription of the journal as a part of the membership. The Society would have significant editorial oversight, and the journal would experience growth in its subscriber base sufficient to ensure its ongoing viability. Financial and editorial details would still need to be worked out. Christiane Groeben suggested that taking advantage of the current opportunity with HPLS would cost less and take much less time than starting a new journal, should the Society decide to proceed. A tentative estimate from Springer Publications led to the suggestion from Keith Benson that an outlay of $12,500 from the Society’s retained earnings in 2006 would secure the association between ISHPSSB and HPLS with no increase in dues. During 2007-2008, an increase of $20 per year for regular members for subscription to the journal, along with an optional $10 annual subscription for student members would secure the association with an additional $4,000 contribution from the Society’s retained earnings. These numbers represent certain worst-case-scenario assumptions.
Questions about editorial costs and editorial control have not been answered in detail. Initial discussions with the Naples Station president have led to the suggestion that an interim editor with institutional support could absorb editorial costs. Establishment of an Advisory Board that would assist in the creation of an Editorial Committee would place significant representation from ISHPSSB in oversight positions.
A motion to create a more detailed proposal and elicit additional input from the membership was seconded, discussed briefly, and passed, with five abstentions; no votes opposed.
MOTION: Council should create a proposal and circulate it via email to the Society membership for input. The proposal should include, initially, the question of whether the Society desires to be associated with a journal. Secondarily, the question of whether we want to take this opportunity to associate ISHPSSB with HPLS should be answered.
Following this input, Council will make a decision in advance of an October 1 deadline that would allow the Naples Station to continue its support of the association and HPLS to be published without interruption.
Invitation to the Exeter Meeting in 2007: John Dupré issued an enthusiastic invitation to attend the 2007 ISHPSSB meeting in Exeter, England. Local arrangements will be managed in detail by Cheryl Sutton, and members should contact her with their suggestions.
ISHPSSB BIENNIAL BUDGET, 2004-05
|Membership and Meeting||69,206.16|
|Interest and dividend||1,671.51|
|Credits and refunds||2.60|
|Graduate Student Travel||12,749.04|
|Off-season Meeting Support||1,245.00|
|Site Inspection (Guelph)||414.24|
Once again, it is a pleasure to report the strong and healthy financial picture of the Society. Despite a fairly expensive meeting in Guelph (we were fortunate to have a favorable exchange rate, which helped our bottom line; additionally, David Castle superbly arranged some local donations, which also helped our cause), we managed the clear the 2004-05 biennial cycle with added funds in excess of $13,000 to our retained earnings (balance carried forward from the past). We were also able to provide more than $12,000 in travel assistance for graduate students in addition to this positive balance so ISHPSSB is very healthy financially.
Given the impending arrangement to jointly publish History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences with the Stazione Zoologica, this is especially good news. I would be remiss not to note that the added funds will more than cover the costs associated with the first year’s publication of the journal, with no additional costs to Society members. Given the size of our membership, a modest subscription rate addition to the dues will make up for this Society contribution in the future(beginning in 2007). It is also anticipated that a stronger institutional subscription list will help offset any costs to the Society.
A few other details are in order to help explain this report. Subscription costs are a “pass-through,” except that the Society covers the cost of handling the subscription rate (bank fees). Additionally, I will be requesting the Council to approve discontinuing the use of credit cards by the Society. This past biennium, these charges amounted to more than $1,300; the activity was extremely low as most of our members are now paying directly or via PayPal. We will also discontinue one of the bank accounts at Sea Island Bank, our long-time banker, because the PayPal account offers a money market rate in excess of the interest offered by the bank.
Thanks to your support and the dedication of many volunteers in the Society, we are a “mean and lean” organization, with a strong financial profile.
Yet Another History of “Ishkabibble”
A dismissive statement
This slang expression came into existence in the USA quite suddenly around 1913 with the ostensible meaning “I should worry!”, which means, of course, “Don’t worry!” or “Who cares?”. It had quite a vogue for a decade or two and was the name of a character played by Merwyn Bogue on a 1930s radio show called Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge (they don’t make titles like that any more).
Those of us who sift the detritus of language for fun and profit are intrigued by it. It looks and sounds Yiddish and the phrases nish gefidlt, nicht gefiedelt, and ich gebliebte have all been suggested as sources. The idea of a Jewish connection was reinforced in 1914 when Harry Hershfield began his cartoon strip Abie the Agent in Hearst newspapers, which featured the car salesman Abraham (“Abie”) Kabibble.
Many people at the time certainly thought it was Yiddish, and it’s notable that some Anglicised it to “I should bibble” or “we should bibble”. But it was equally firmly said by contemporaries that no Yiddish connection existed at all. And the slang term bibble is recorded a few years earlier, albeit with the meaning of nonsense talk. It’s a shortened form of bibble-babble, a reduplication of babble, which goes right back to the sixteenth century and turns up in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: “Endeavour thy selfe to sleepe, and leave thy vain bibble babble.”
Might ish-ge-bibble—as it was often written in the early days—have been a fake Yiddishism? It could have been based on German ich for I (often said by natives as ish), the ge prefix for the past participles of German verbs, plus bibble.
In his autobiography, Merwyn Bogue said that he took his stage name from a song he used to sing on the radio show, Isch Gabibble (I Should Worry), words by Sam M Lewis, music by George W Meyer, dated 1913. Bogue said he changed the spelling to make it easier to say. This song seems to have been the immediate source for the sudden arrival and popularity of the term. But did George W Meyer invent it or borrow it in his turn? It would be nice to know.
Reprinted with permission from Michael Quinion, Editor, World Wide Words. Page created 27 August 2005. Retrieved 6 February 2006 from http://www.worldwidewords.org/ weirdwords/ww-ish1.htm
ISHPSSB COMMITTEES 2005-2007
Other Committees: Chairs and Key Contacts
For full Committee lists, contact Chris Young, secretary, or visit our website: www.ishpssb.org
|Local Arrangements Committee|
|Site Selection Committee (2009)|
|Student Advisory Committee|
|Travel Support Committee|
|Committee on Publications|
History of Science Society Call for Papers
The History of Science Society will hold its 2006 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia 2 - 5, November 2006. This will be a joint meeting with the Philosophy of Science Association and the Society for Social Studies of Science. Submissions on all topics are requested. Particularly encouraged are session proposals that include: a mix of men and women; a diversity of institutional affiliations; and/or a balance of professional ranks (e.g. mixing senior scholars and graduate students). Only one proposal per person may be submitted. It is hoped that we will be able to offer travel grants to graduate students, independent scholars and junior scholars who appear on the program.
Proposals for sessions and contributed papers are due by 3 April 2006. Electronic submissions are strongly encouraged. Forms are available at http://www.hssonline.org/2006%20Meeting/2006mainframe.html. For additional information, please contact the HSS Executive Office.
HSS Executive Office
PO Box 117360, University of Florida
phone: 352-392-1677; fax: 352-392-2795
Meetings of Interest: Workshop
Collaborative generation of environmental knowledge and inquiry
How do we make sense of the growing attention to the collaborative generation of environmental knowledge and inquiry? All research is collaborative-even solitary scientists have to secure audiences if their findings are to become established as knowledge-so why emphasize collaboration in environmental research? The reasons put forward are diverse: from “Environmental complexity requires ongoing assessment (as against a one-time analysis)” to “self-conscious exemplification of what sociologists of science and technology have called ‘heterogeneous engineering’.” How are different angles on collaboration related in theory and practice? In what ways can scientists, science educators, and scholars in history, philosophy, and social studies of science conceptualize, interpret, teach about, and engage in the collaborative generation of environmental knowledge and inquiry? What can we learn reflexively from our own experience in an interaction-intensive workshop around these questions?
Applications are sought from teachers and researchers (including graduate students) who are interested in promoting the social contextualization of science through interdisciplinary education and outreach activities beyond their current disciplinary and academic boundaries.
Deadline for applications:
December 31, 2006.
Location: Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole MA, USA Dates 9am April 19 - 2pm April 22, 2007 (subject to confirmation)
For more details, see http://www.stv.umb.edu/newssc07.html
For arrangements & application process, see
Publications of Interest
Special Issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences announces the June 2005 special issue dedicated to “Mechanisms in Biology,” with guest editors Carl F. Craver and Lindley Darden.
Philosophers of biology increasingly recognize that explanations in many areas of biology describe mechanisms. Yet there are disputes about what mechanisms are, how mechanistic explanations differ from other explanations, which areas of biology use or require mechanistic explanations, and how the current enthusiasm in biology for mechanisms relates to historical forms of mechanism in biology and elsewhere. This issue combines historical and philosophical perspectives on these and related questions. Some earlier versions of the papers were presented at the Second Reichenbach Conference, “Fashioning a Mechanistic Philosophy of Science,” held at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 7-9 November, 2003. Other papers were solicited to round out the focus on specifically biological mechanisms.
Topics include comparison of historical and contemporary ideas about mechanisms (Carl Craver and Lindley Darden); seventeenth century views of mechanisms (Dennis Des Chene); nineteenth and early twentieth century views of mechanism (Garland Allen); Darwin’s non-use of the term “mechanism” in the Origin but his use in describing contrivances in orchids (Michael Ruse); mechanisms of speciation and the possible adaptedness of isolating mechanisms (Jason Baker); analysis of natural selection as a mechanism (Rob Skipper and Roberta Millstein); interfield relations, not reduction, between mechanisms in classical genetics and molecular biology (Lindley Darden); multifield, multilevel descriptions of mechanisms, not reduction, in neuroscience (Carl Craver); critique of the regularity view of causation in favor of the productivity view and an assessment of the roles of generalizations in neuroscience (Jim Bogen); a critique of nomological explanations and the advantages of mechanistic explanations (William Bechtel and Adele Abrahamsen); the nature of mechanical models and their testing (Stuart Glennan).
Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, V. 31, No. 2, June 2005
For information on purchasing this individual issue see: http:// www.elsevier.com/wps/find/ journalconditionsofsale.cws_home/600658/ conditionsofsale#conditionsofsale
Werner Callebaut, Editor-in-Chief
Linnda R. Caporael, Peter Hammerstein, Manfred D. Laubichler, and Gerd B. Müller, Associate Editors
Devoted to theoretical advances in the fields of evolution and cognition with an emphasis on the conceptual integration afforded by evolutionary and developmental approaches, Biological Theory aims to include a wide audience of scientists, social scientists, and scholars from the humanities, in particular philosophers and historians of biology, among its readership.
Many of the major challenges for today’s life sciences revolve around Body and Mind — their origins, development, evolution, structures, functions, and interrelations. These challenges are met by new disciplinary and methodological alignments that are the focus of Biological Theory. Within biology, the current merger of the fields of genetics, developmental biology, and evolutionary biology in many ways evokes the picture of a “selfextending symbiosis” that enhances robustness. As regards cognition, the behavioral sciences (from psychology to economics) and neurobiology are also converging as more naturalistic approaches displace the computational paradigm. Furthermore, recent historical research has shown that concerns in evolutionary developmental biology or “EvoDevo” in fact produce results that blend in an intriguing way with those of the mid-20th century debates between behaviorist and cognitive psychological theories.
Contents of the inaugural issue will include:
- Statements by Ronald Amundson, Gerald Edelman, Vittorio Gallese & Maria Alessandra Umiltà, James Griesemer, William Harms, David Hull, Jonas Langer, Mihajlo Mesarovic & Sree N. Sreenath, Stuart Newman, Don Ross, Michael Ruse, DanSperber & Nicolas Claidière, and Stephen Stearns on how they think development, evolution, and cognition will and should interrelate in the future
- Longer articles by Fred Bookstein, Ronald Giere, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, and Hiroaki Kitano
- The concept of Robustness, by Peter Hammerstein et al.
- Profiles of John Maynard Smith (by Eörs Szathmáry) andEsther Thelen (by Linda Smith)
- A trend review of Cognitive Neuroscience by Wayne Christensen and Luca Tommasi
- A topical essay review on modularity by Sandra Mitchell
- A historical essay review on the middle stages of EvoDevo’s ontogeny by Alan Love
Print with Electronic Access: Individual $ 65 / Institution $ 190
Electronic Only: Individual $ 58.50 / Institution $ 171
Outside USA and Canada add $ 25.00 postage and handling.
-The Inside Story: DNA to RNA to Protein
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press has published a new book edited by Jan Witkowski. The Inside Story: DNA to RNA to Protein is a collection of history articles which first appeared in the Elsevier journal Trends in Biochemical Sciences. Authors include scientists who carried out the research (for example Jean Brachet, Marshall NIrenberg and Ed Southern) and historians of science (Including Richard Burian, Larry Holmes, Bob Olby and Hans-Jorg Rheinberger). http://www.cshlpress.com/
-Unruly Complexity: A reflection on the Ishkabibblishness of a book, by Peter Taylor
The cover of my book (released at the end of summer 2005 from University of Chicago Press) reads:
"How does science deal with situations that lack definite boundaries, where what goes on “outside” continually restructures what is “inside,” and where diverse processes come together to produce change? In a model of interdisciplinary exploration, Peter J. Taylor makes issues about the unruliness of complexity accessible to a diverse range of readers through case studies that move from theoretical ecology and socio-environmental studies to history and sociology of science to environmental education."
In the prologue I ask rhetorically:
"Why undertake a project that addresses complexity and change across the different realms of science, interpretation of science, and critical reflection on practice? One answer would be that the realms are already always connected, but concepts and practice are shaped to make the realms seem separate. This is a position that can only emerge after the book has worked its way through many steps. A shorter answer… derives from the project’s historical origins, which can be located in the intersection of two kinds of ecology during the 1970s,"
which I call ecology-the-science and ecology-as-social-action. In brief, I observe that
"ecology-as-social-action challenged ecological researchers not only to attend to ecological concerns through technical assistance, analysis for planning, or general theories, but also to shape their scientific practices and products self-consciously so as to contribute to transforming the dominant structure of social and environmental relations. In retrospect, I would read in the broad terms of the critique of science an overoptimistic assessment of the potential, on one hand, for the social movements of the 1960s and 70s to bring about radical restructuring of social (crelations and, on the other hand, for people to transform their lives accordingly—including, in this context, for scientists to redirect their research. Yet the 1970s critique of science was a key aspect of the context in which I first began to engage with the complexities of environmental, scientific, and social change together, as part of one project."
But if the project began in that 70s context, the form of the book owes a lot to ISHPSSB since the mid-1980s. I was enticed to attend the 1985 meetings at St. Mary’s College by Michael Bradie, one of the many philosophers of biology who spent time in Dick Lewontin’s lab at Harvard, where I had almost finished my doctorate in theoretical ecology (providing the cases for chapter 1). Lisa Lloyd also visited the lab and her doctoral work on confirmation of models drew me more self-consciously into the philosophy of biology (chapter 2). My talk on H. T. Odum at the ’85 meetings was my first foray into history of biology (chapter 3) and Clarke and Fujimura’s symposium in ’89 on “The Right Tool for the Job” gave me a chance to speak (somewhat) sociologically (chapter 4 and part of 5). Several other ISHPSSB sessions elicited papers that have worked their way into the book’s various chapters. For example, while serving on the program committee for the same meetings, I noticed a theme emerging on pictorial representation and ended up organizing sessions on this topic to which I contributed a paper on Odum’s diagrams (written with Ann Blum; and now part of chapter 3).
You’ll have to read the book (or at least the narrative that bridges the chapters) to see the framework and open questions that emerge from all these pieces in the last chapter and epilogue. However, in terms of the concept of “intersecting processes” that I develop, ISHPSSB not only gave license to the disposition I had to cross disciplinary boundaries—from the B, to the P, H, and SS of ISHPSSB and beyond—but also connected me with publishing opportunities (especially Biology & Philosophy) and influential and supportive people (see the book’s acknowledgements).
My new work on the intellectual and practical responses of social epidemiologists to complexity and change may or may not fit under the shape-changing umbrella of ISHPSSB, but let me thank everyone who has kept the group lively for the many years it took Unruly Complexity to appear. Let me acknowledge here the contribution of Susan Abrams at the University of Chicago Press. She kept faith that a manuscript would appear on her desk, but, by the time it did, her declining health left her unable to complete the editorial “midwoofery” or live to see the final product of this and many other of her projects.
Jobs in the Field
McGill University: The Department of Social Studies of Medicine, in connection with the Department of Anthropology, invites applications for a tenure track position at the rank of assistant professor to commence 1 January 2007. The successful candidate will be appointed primarily in the Faculty of Medicine (Social Studies of Medicine) but is expected to obtain a joint appointment in the Faculty of Arts (Department of Anthropology). We seek a social or cultural anthropologist with significant publications and current research interests in one or more of the following fields: the anthropology of biomedical science, epistemic and material cultures of medical science research, epistemic and material cultures of clinical science, science and technology studies, science policy. Geographical areas open. The Department of Social Studies of Medicine is a multidisciplinary department (anthropology, history, sociology). Teaching responsibilities will include primarily undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Anthropology (cross-listed in Social Studies of Medicine) and some teaching in the Faculty of Medicine. The language of instruction at McGill University is English; competence in French is desirable but not required. Priority will be given to applications received by 30 April 2006; the review of applications will continue until 31 May 2006. Ph.D. at the time of application is required, postdoctoral experience and a substantial set of publications are a major asset.
Applicants should send a curriculum vitae; a cover letter that indicates completed research, current research program, and teaching experience; copies of up to three publications representing the applicant’s current research; and the names, addresses, e-mail coordinates, and phone numbers of three references. Applications should be sent to Search Committee, Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University, 3647 Peel St., Montreal, Qc. H3A 1X1, Canada. McGill University is committed to academic excellence and scholarly achievement, and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. In accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, priority will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. McGill University is committed to equity in employment.
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