Table of Contents

President's Corner

Although ‘pivot’ was the word of the year for many organisations way back in 2020, it seems still to be an important force in 2022. In the case of ISHPSSB, our most recent pivot has had a fabulous outcome, namely that we will be meeting in Toronto rather than London (Ontario) in 2023. London has its charms: as a child, I loved Storybook Gardens, and of course Stratford with its wonderful theatre festival is nearby, and is an historically important locale for our organisation. However Toronto is much more easily accessible particularly for those travelling internationally. It also provides numerous opportunities for tourism and other activities of interest to ISH members. Toronto was initially our first choice, but due to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) decision to censure the University of Toronto in April 2021 over academic freedom in relation to hiring, conferences were not being permitted, so we moved ISH to the University of Western Ontario in London. However, in September 2021, the CAUT censure was lifted following the University meeting a series of conditions. This change permitted us to (re)schedule the conference at Toronto, overseen by a joint committee of academics based at Toronto and Western, and to occur in a hybrid fashion. We are very grateful to all of our Canadian colleagues for their flexibility given the changing situation, and are extremely excited about our next conference. More details are available below and will be forthcoming over the coming months.

ISHPSSB’s various committees are hard at work, with details about their membership recently posted to our website. As always, if you wish to volunteer for a committee, watch for the call for members at the annual meeting or write to one of us on the Executive. We always are seeking to diversify our committee membership in all ways, including in terms of gender, career stage, geography, and disciplinary focus. The last week of May and the beginning of June is Reconciliation Week here in Australia, which is an important national time for us to all seek change. Relatedly, I am still seeking additional volunteers for an ad hoc subcommittee on ISH processes for providing acknowledgement of country/land, particularly members from countries that have protocols for this type of First Nations recognition. If you are interested, please drop a note.

In this newsletter, I want to particularly call out the excellent work by the Off-Year Workshop Committee, ably chaired by Matt Haber. For details on everything that they have accomplished, please see below. Our off-year workshops began as a way to keep in touch in between our biennial meetings but have become even more important due to limitations for many on travel for pandemic, economic, and other reasons, and as ways to bring together local clusters of scholars of the life sciences from a variety of disciplines. Check out the excellent list of workshops that we are helping to sponsor, and do consider convening one: the rolling deadline makes our processes more flexible than ever.

As usual, if you have any thoughts or concerns about ISH and its future, we would be delighted to hear from you. Just drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rachel A. Ankeny, President

ISHPSSB Meeting 2023

Save the date: 10–15 July 2023 ISHPSSB in Toronto!

Poster Ontario's LakelandsJust over 15 months until our next meeting and the Program and Local Committees are deep in planning. We are excited to return to in-person meeting, but we are also aware of the responsibilities that organizing a conference in these new, post-pandemic, climate-crisis times places on us.

The meeting that we hope to put together will celebrate the opportunity to reconnect in person as well as continue to offer online participation, allowing us to continue and expand on ISHPSSB’s commitment to inclusivity and equity. We will offer new formats such as digital poster and poster slam sessions, alongside old favourites of organized sessions and individual paper submissions. We are especially keen to promote ISH among social scientists and biologists, and we have excellent ambassadors among the Program Committee members.

We want to connect the conference with the place and the community, and we intend to do so in several ways. First, themes of the conference will reflect some of the topics of high local interest, such as indigenous knowledge, environmental and health histories and related to the Great Lakes, animal cognition, and biotechnology. Second, we want to open the conference to the city by turning keynotes into public talks and holding them in collaboration with local organizations and in places accessible to urban population.

The local committee, this time, is a collaboration between three universities, University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario, and Guelph University. While Western is managing the online side of the meeting, we are excited to hold the conference in one of the most vibrant cities of North America.

Toronto skyline from river

Toronto, the capital of the Province of Ontario, is the largest Canadian city with a core population of almost three million, and regional population of six million, along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore. Long before the European settlement (17th century), the region was occupied by various indigenous communities, including the Anishinaabe Nations and the Huron-Wendat People (starting around 1000 BCE). It’s now a dynamic metropolis with soaring skyscrapers dwarfed by the iconic, free-standing CN Tower. The Greater Toronto Area has many green spaces, trails, extensive beaches, as well as cultural and sports facilities. Sightseeing options in Toronto include: the CN Tower (with the tethered EdgeWalk, confirmed by Guinness World Records as the highest altitude edge walk), Lake Ontario cruises, skyline helicopter rides, the Royal Ontario Museum, McMichael Canadian Art Collection (featuring many Indigenous artists), Broadway productions in the Theatre District, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Bata Shoe Museum, the Aga Khan Museum, Ontario Science Centre, Toronto Zoo, Ripley’s Aquarium. Toronto cultural scene is vibrant during the summer months, hosting a range of performing arts festivals. Two internationally renowned theatre festivals, The Shaw (Niagara-on-the-lake) and Stratford Shakespeare festivals are nearby. The city of Niagara Falls is located near Toronto, at the famous waterfalls of the same name, linked with the U.S. by the Rainbow Bridge.

The conference venue will be located on the St. George campus of the University of Toronto. The University of Toronto is located in the heart of downtown Toronto, easily accessible to fine dining and entertainment venues. It is close to a host of hotels, in varying price ranges. Some accommodation will be available in the University’s student residences.

The ISHPSSB 2023 website will be launched soon. We will provide details about affiliated scholarly activities and conferences, arrival in Toronto, housing and food options on campus, hotels, dining, and entertainment. Watch for updates linked from the main ISHPSSB website, and check back regularly.

Tatjana Buklijas & Eric Desjardins,
on behalf of the Program and the Local Arrangements Committees

Call for proposals for hosting the ISHPSSB 2025 Meeting

ISHPSSB Members are invited to propose potential sites for the 2025 Meeting. Our tradition of alternating sites suggests that the 2025 meeting should be held in Europe, Asia, or Africa. A location that can be easily accessed by rail, bus or car for many members is especially desirable to minimize our carbon footprint.

Proposals for hosting the 2025 meeting may be sent before November 15, 2022 to the Site Selection Committee Chair, Betty Smocovitis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She is happy to help answer questions and help with proposals for the 2025 meeting, as well as welcoming expressions of interest for the 2027 meeting.

Betty Smocovitis
Chair of the Site Selection Committee

Off-Year Workshop Committee Report

ISHPSSB off-year workshops began in 2006 as a way for members of the ISHPSSB community to meet in smaller settings outside of the general meeting. Topics and themes have ranged from professional development to focused research topics. In this cycle, the Off-Year Workshop Committee (a) clarified our committee’s goals; (b) experimented with structural changes; (c) expanded the modality of workshops we sought to encourage; and (d) approved five off-year workshops for the 2022 cycle. The Off-Year Workshop committee is still accepting proposals for 2022 workshops!


With a dynamic, diverse, and thoughtful committee, we re-visited the goals of the Off-Year Workshop Committee, aiming to ensure they are helping advance ISHPSSB’s goals. This culminated by clarifying the aims off-year workshops should seek to meet:

  • Drive new ISHPSSB membership;

  • Engage and include current ISHPSSB members;

  • Support and expand ISHPSSB diversity and inclusion goals;

  • Promote professional development and mentoring;

  • Pilot hybrid or other creative formats that might be used at general ISHPSSB meetings or other future off-year workshops; or

  • Embody and support ISHPSSB’s commitment to interdisciplinary research and community building.

Process/Structural Changes

The Off-Year Workshop Committee also introduced a few structural changes. The most notable of those are about the term limits of serving on the committee and about the proposal process. Terms on the Off-Year Workshop Committee have historically run two years, starting and ending at biennial meetings. We requested that terms on this committee shift to better reflect the off-year workshop time table, running two years but resetting in the off-years, i.e., terms will now begin and end on July 1 on even years, rather than at biennial meetings.

The other notable change was experimenting with a rolling deadline for workshop proposals. The committee introduced a soft deadline by which any funded proposal would be considered. Additionally, we introduced a rolling deadline, where funded proposals would still be considered as long as funds remain, and unfunded proposals will be considered through the end of 2022.

Workshop Modalities

The Off-Year Workshop Committee sought to encourage a wide range of workshop modalities, in part to help organizers meet committee and ISHPSSB goals in a diverse set of ways. This was reflected in the 2022 CFP, which listed the following workshop modalities:

  • Traditional workshops;

  • Add-on workshops that might be held concurrently with or adjacent to other meetings of cognate societies;

  • Professional development workshops;

  • Workshops focusing on expanding ISHPSSB’s reach, e.g., expanding regional or disciplinary inclusion;

  • Experimental workshops that pilot new modalities, new formats, or use of new technologies.

The Off-Year Workshop Committee also encouraged organizers to consider in-person, hybrid, or virtual formats for their workshops.

Approved Workshops

The Off-Year Workshop Committee approved five workshops for the 2022 cycle. The committee was pleased to see workshops from a wide geographical range, covering a diverse set of topics, with a multiplicity of modalities. Several organizers sought to build off successful elements of the 2021 virtual meeting, e.g., incorporating GatherTown into virtual meeting and hybrid meetings. The approved workshops are, in order of start dates:

For details, please see the ISHPSSB meetings web page.

Matt Haber
Chair of the Off-Year Workshop Committee

ISHPSSB/PSA Cognate Session

For the upcoming Philosophy of Science Association (PSA) biennial meeting in Pittsburgh (10–13 November 2022), ISHPSSB has been invited to submit a symposium proposal for the Cognate Society sessions. The idea is to promote broader representation of work in philosophy of biology than has traditionally been represented on the regular program of the PSA conference.

The Cognate Society sessions will take place on Thursday November 10th. Each cognate society whose proposal is approved will be allotted 90 minutes. PSA will provide meeting rooms and AV equipment. Sessions and participants will be listed on the official conference program and on-line schedules, and all session participants must register for the conference.

If you would like submit a proposal for consideration, please note:

  1. No previously published paper may be presented at the PSA meeting.

  2. No one will be permitted to present more than once at PSA2022. A scholar may appear as co-author on more than one paper or symposium talk, but may present at PSA2022 only once (excluding presentations at the poster forum).

  3. Any individual can be part of only one cognate society symposium proposal for submission to the PSA in which they are a presenting author.

Proposals must include:

  1. The title of the proposed session

  2. Session topic(s)

  3. Society name (ISHPSSB)

  4. Session organizer (leader or official representative of the cognate society)

  5. Session chair (can be the session organizer or someone different)

  6. A list of participants with name, affiliation, and contact email, including any non-presenting co-authors.

  7. A short descriptive summary of the proposal (100–200 words)

  8. A description of the topic and a justification of its current importance to the discipline (up to 1-2pp. or 1000 words)

Please send complete session proposals (a single pdf file) by email to ISHPSSB Secretary, Sarah Roe (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by 1 June 2022. A decision will be made by the ISHPSSB Executive Committee and forwarded to PSA by July 1st.

Sarah Roe
ISHPSSB Secretary

ISHPSSB statement on the situation in Ukraine

The Council of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology have approved the following statement on the Ukraine crisis:

We stand with our sibling international societies whose missions support our members, including the EPSA, ESHS, HSS, IUPHST/DHST, and national scientific societies worldwide, as well as the KLI; and we endorse their condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and their support of scholars everywhere who are suffering during the war. We encourage our members to support relief efforts. The International Science Council offers a listing of calls and offers for assistance.


This newsletter was edited by David Suárez Pascal employing GNU Emacs and Scribus (both open source and freely available). I thank Rachel Ankeny for proofreading it, and all the ISH members who kindly contributed to this issue with their texts.

Submissions for the newsletter should be addressed at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.