Table of Contents

President's Corner

As we prepare to travel to Toronto, I have been reflecting on the last two years which have been very intense ones for many of us for a variety of reasons. But I am extremely proud that we are able to organize what looks to be a robust and exciting meeting together, and of the other accomplishments of the society over these past few years.

We recently have formalized our processes in association with ISHPSSB's Policy on Respectful Behavior. I invite you to look over the details and also to join me in thanking the Ad Hoc Committee on Operationalizing Respectful Behavior Policy that devised it and presented it to the Council. These types of issues are always difficult but we are thankful to have a policy and attached set of processes in place to ensure transparency and equity in alignment with ISHPSSB's values. We are also grateful to those who have agreed to serve in order to operationalize the policy, Marsha Richmond and Matt Haber as our new ombudspersons (contact details available on our website and in the conference program), and Abigail Nieves-Delgado, Don Opitz, and Ana Soto on the Respectful Behavior Committee.

In addition, I convened an Ad Hoc Committee on Land Acknowledgment, and the ISHPSSB Council approved the Guidelines on Indigenous Land Acknowledgment as proposed by this committee (to whom I am very grateful) in May 2023. Our text was adapted with permission from the History of Science Society's Committee for Land Acknowledgement proposal, and we are especially grateful to Marissa Petrou of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for her advice and support.

As legal scholar Chelsea Vowel (Métis) and other Native scholars suggest, land acknowledgement should constitute the first step in a process of opening dialogue with Indigenous communities about acknowledgments and welcomes, as well as other practices. Thus you will notice at the Toronto conference that the program includes issues of direct relevance to local communities as well as Indigenous speakers. These efforts represent one small step for our organization toward greater awareness, education, and inclusion in line with our new policy, and additional initiatives will follow in line with the policy which addresses the need for ongoing work as a community on these critical topics.

ISHPSSB always has been a welcoming and inclusive society, recognized as much for its informality and discussions as for its formal sessions. I am so looking forward to catching up with colleagues and friends, and learning about their latest scholarly efforts and ongoing projects. We continue to consider a range of ways in which ISHPSSB can promote increased inclusiveness including representation of the range of disciplinary approaches included in our remit as well as scholars from various geographic locales and at a variety of career stages. I look forward to handing the mantle over to the incoming President and Council on this point in particular, as these efforts require longer-term investment and ongoing strategies.

Finally I am extremely grateful to Denis Walsh (University of Toronto) and Eric Desjardins (Western University) who are serving as our Local Co-Chairs, and who have valiantly organized this conference through moves of the site from Toronto to London (Ontario) and back again to Toronto, and many other obstacles. Our program chairs Tatjana Buklijas and Jan Baedke together with the Program Committee have done outstanding work in shaping and organizing a fantastic program. The only complaint that I have is the usual with ISHPSSB: I want to be at too many sessions that are in conflict with each other! I hope you enjoy the conference in person or virtually as much as I am sure that I will.

Rachel A. Ankeny, President

ISHPSSB Toronto 2023 is just around the corner

Registrations for the ISHPPSB 2023 closed on 7 June and the registered participants will be receiving information about the conference program through email and the conference website. Online participants will be receiving links and other technical information shortly before the start of the conference.

During the conference, we will be organizing a number of community- and discipline-building events, such as the mentoring group meeting organized by Charbel El-Hani and Isabella Sarto-Jackson (Tuesday lunchtime, Myhal Centre-MY 360); membership development meeting (organized by Vivette García and Ingo Brigandt, more info below), and graduate student meeting (organized by Jacqueline Wallis, Myhal Centre-MY 380). You are warmly encouraged to attend one or more of these meetings.

Tatjana Buklijas and Jan Baedke,
Program Co-Chairs

Membership Development Committee Report

The Membership Development Committee has been working toward the 2023 Interdisciplinary Organized Session Prize. We have struck an adjudication committee of 7 persons, who among all organized sessions submitted have selected a shortlist of 6 organized sessions — to be featured on the program as still in the running for the prize. During the 2023 conference, we will be visiting these sessions to decide on the winning session and announce the award at the July 13 Assembly General Meeting (AGM) and Awards Ceremony.

Our Membership Development Committee meeting during the ISHPSSB 2023 conference is scheduled for Wednesday, 12 July at 7:30am (Myhal Centre; MY 380). There will be breakfast and coffee provided at our meeting on campus, before the sessions get started. At the meeting, we will take stock of ongoing committee initiatives and consider what future actions are needed to maintain and augment the diversity of our membership, especially in terms of global region, academic discipline, career stage, and other demographic factors. Everyone is welcome to attend our meeting — especially if you are potentially interested in joining the Membership Development Committee or simply want to raise an issue.

Please email us (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.) if you won't be at ISHPSSB but would like to participate remotely in our Membership Development Committee meeting. You can also email us to convey suggestions before the meeting.

In addition to the above activities related to the ISHPSSB 2023 meeting, during the last year our committee has been working on four additional tasks, some of which are still in progress:

  1. With an eye toward the merits of hybrid meetings regarding the participation of ISHPSSB members from underrepresented countries and global regions, we prepared a report that analyzes the data for the 2015 (Montréal), 2017 (São Paulo), 2019 (Oslo), and 2021 (online) meetings, and discusses the merits and drawbacks of in-person and hybrid meetings.
  1. We have started to set up a list of relevant societies (and their email lists) worldwide, to be able to distribute future ISHPSSB conference calls for abstracts to various countries/global regions and to different disciplines.
  2. We have begun drafting guidelines for presentations and discussions in English that are inclusive for non-native speakers, to be included in future conference programs. Considering that the society is taking concrete steps towards inclusion, such as the creation of ISH Included and the support of Off-year multilingual sessions (one of which took place this year at UNAM in Mexico City), we are currently proposing the 10 rules provided by Joo et al. (2022) as a starting point for further elaboration.

These 10 rules are:

Rule 1: Set a vision for diversity and inclusion
Rule 2: Create a safe and welcoming environment
Rule 3: Gather an inclusive and diverse organizing team
Rule 4: Consciously counteract bias in the conference program
Rule 5: Design a strong online component (hybrid/virtual option)
Rule 6: Make conference accessible
Rule 7: Make room for linguistic and cultural diversity
Rule 8: Build an inclusive communication strategy
Rule 9: Allocate financial resources to support inclusion goals
Rule 10: Make the conference part of a long-term process of inclusion

We have set up survey questions on multilingual sessions, which is to inquire about the interests in multilingual sessions (especially among non-native English speakers), what languages to permit, and how to handle submission, title/abstract in the program, verbal discussions, and slides for such sessions. The survey is yet to be launched for the whole ISHPSSB membership, to then provide suggestions for the Program Committees of future conferences.

Ingo Brigandt and Vivette García Deister,
Co-Chairs of the Membership Development Committee

Call for proposals for hosting the ISHPSSB 2027 Meeting

The site selection committee is still accepting proposals to host the 2027 ISHPSSB meetings. Our tradition of alternating sites suggests that the 2027 meeting should be held outside of Western Europe, and we particularly encourage bids from locations where we have not been previously or recently, such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific, or Africa. A locale that can be easily accessed by rail, bus, or car for many members is especially desirable to minimize our carbon footprint.

Proposals may be sent to Sabina Leonelli, Chair of the Site Selection Committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by October 1, 2023. She is happy to help answer questions about hosting the 2027 Meeting.

Betty Smocovitis
Chair of the Site Selection Committee

Please check changes to the ISHPSSB Bylaws

Dear ISHPSSB Member,

This is an official notification in accordance with our bylaws that the ISHPSSB Council has approved by vote a series of changes to the ISHPSSB Bylaws.

These changes were proposed by the Ad-hoc Bylaws Committee, led by Marsha Richmond, with additional members Lindley Darden and Jim Griesemer. As per the charge to this Committee, the changes aim to bring the original 1990 Bylaws up to date by regularizing the practices and organizational structures that have evolved and/or that the Society has adopted without formalization over the past three decades. The collective leadership knowledge of this group of former ISH presidents and the current Operations Manual were used as the basis for the review. In addition, as ISHPSSB is incorporated in Virginia, several changes are based on the Code of Virginia in order to comply with the state’s guidelines for non-profit, non-stock corporations: several comments refer to specific sections in the Code (see:

Please see the linked document which highlights the proposed changes. We will be asking our membership to vote (approve or not approve) these changes as a bundle at our members' meeting in Toronto.

Marsha Richmond
on behalf of the Ad-hoc Bylaws Committee

Garland E. Allen, III (1936–2023)

Allen Garland IMGar Allen, the ninth President of ISHPSSB, passed away on February 10th, 2023. Gar was part of a founding generation of historians of biology that came of age in the later half of the twentieth century. He will be warmly remembered for his kindness and generosity, as well as for a distinguished career as a scholar and leader.

Born in Kentucky, Gar attended the University of Louisville as an undergraduate and then earned a master's degree in education and a doctorate in the history of science from Harvard University. With his training in education, he taught biology at the Northfield Mount Hermon School for a few years before turning to history of biology. Nevertheless, his interest in teaching biology remained and he co-authored a series of biology textbooks with Jeff Baker and remained an committed and exceptional teacher throughout his career. Under the direct of Everett Mendelsohn as a PhD student, Gar decided to focus on another famous Kentuckian, Thomas Hunt Morgan. Gar's dissertation and later biography of Morgan expertly describes how an American trained in a German tradition of embryology would end up transforming genetics with a new theory of the gene and a new experimental system, the fruit fly Drosophila. When he completed his PhD in 1966, Gar joined the faculty at Washington University, St. Louis where he remained until he retired in 2014.

Gar's intellectual interests were broad, and, in an accomplished career, he published extensively on the history of genetics, eugenics, conservation, agriculture, and developmental biology. His 1975 textbook Life Sciences in the Twentieth Century argued persuasively that the hallmark of twentieth century biology was the rise of experimentation. He systematically made his case by leading his readers through transformations in the history of physiology, biochemistry, genetics, development, and so on. Textbooks rarely cover new ground, but Gar's organized and set an agenda for an emerging field. Even as the next generation of historians disputed Gar's claims about the “revolt from morphology,” it was clear that the questions he posed regarding observation and experiment, reduction and holism, and the interplay between the material and intellectual were going to occupy a central place for historians, philosophers, and sociologists who followed.

Gar's emphasis on the role of dialectical materialism in the history of biology reflected his lifelong commitment to social justice through a life of activism. He marched in Selma with Martin Luther King, Jr., cut sugar cane in Cuba, organized with Students for a Democratic Society, protested sociobiology, and never shied from exploring the complex interconnections between science and society. Gar's scholarship on eugenics in the United States reflects his political interests well. In a series of influential articles, he sought to understand the creation of institutions such as the Eugenics Record Office and the pervasive reach of eugenic racism into mental testing and even the conservation movement.

Although Gar had few graduate students of his own, his kindness and helpfulness was freely extended to many of us as we developed as scholars and human beings. When Everett Mendelsohn was ready to turn over leadership of the Journal of the History of Biology, Gar agreed to take on the task if he could be joined by Jane Maienschein. Together, they helped JHB develop and mature before making sure that it was ready to be passed on to future editors. Gar's support as an editor was invaluable to many scholars who saw their first publications appear in JHB. Gar was also co-founder of the History of Biology Seminar at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole. His presence there every summer actively encouraged hundreds of participants and supported a strong relationship between history and biology. Given his commitment to service and his standing in the field, it was not surprising when Gar was voted President-Elect of ISHPSSB in 2003. He served as President from 2005 to 2007, during which time ISH was actively discussing whether to launch a journal of its own. Although trained as a historian, Gar's interests were never narrow, and he actively supported the open and congenial interdisciplinary mix that ISHPSSB has always fostered.

Gar's achievements were widely recognized during his lifetime. In 2009, he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 2014 the History of Science Society awarded him the Sarton Medal for a lifetime of scholarly achievement. His retirement conference at Washington University brought together a large group of friends and admirers and resulted in a special issue in the Journal of the History of Biology on his work and influence.

Gar is survived by his partner, Larry Bennet, and his daughters, Tania and Carin. ISHPSSB joins them in grieving. We have lost a friend and a great exemplar of scholarship and service. His welcoming smile, genuine interest in others, and boundless curiosity will be dearly missed.

Michael R. Dietrich
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Pittsburgh

Announcements from/for our members

Read and publish at Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society

Visit to find information about the journal Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society, as well as resources of interest to ISH members (book reviews, library, Editor's Picks, calls for papers, etc). The Editor-in-Chief and Senior Advisor, as well as several Editorial Board members, are part of the ISH community.

Vivette García Deister

ISH Included!

ISH Included: a working group on inclusiveness will organize an informal get together on diversity and inclusion within the scope of the ISHPSSB, during the Toronto conference. ISH is known for its collegiality and the biennial meetings are a place for informal, co-operative exchanges and ongoing collaborations between scholars from diverse disciplines, including the life sciences as well as history, philosophy, and social studies of science. ISH Included emerged during the online conference held in 2021, hosted by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and we have planned an informal lunch in-person at ISH 2023 Toronto to take place on Tuesday July 11 at the lunch break in Myhal Centre - MY 380. If you are around, join this session to discuss challenges and opportunities on these kinds of issues and to plot together further reflection — you will be most welcome!

Thank you!

Sarah M. Roe

2023 John D. Bernal Prizes awarded to ISHPSSB members

The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) annually awards the John D. Bernal Prize to an individual who has made distinguished contributions to the field of science and technology studies (STS). Past winners have included founders of the field, along with outstanding scholars who have devoted their careers to the understanding of the social dimensions of science and technology, including Emily Martin, Evelyn Fox Keller, Sheila Jasanoff, Steven Shapin, Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Mary Douglas, Joseph Needham, Robert Merton, and Thomas Kuhn. The 2023 Prizes go to ISHPSSB members Joan Fujimura and Warwick Anderson.

More information available at


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.

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