Working Groups

Biological Sciences

The Working Group on the History of the Biological Sciences meets monthly to discuss a colleague’s work in progress or to discuss readings that are of particular interest to participants.

Meetings are usually held at the Consortium offices in Philadelphia from 6:30 to 8:00 on first Thursdays. Scholars located anywhere can also participate online.

To join this working group, click "Request group membership" at right. You will receive instructions for participating online or in person.
 

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  • luiscampos's picture

    Luis Campos

    Luis Campos is Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico and Secretary of the History of Science Society. Trained in both biology and in the history of science, his scholarship integrates archival discoveries with contemporary fieldwork at the intersection of genetics and society.  He is the author of Radium and the Secret of Life (University of Chicago Press, 2015), co-editor of Making Mutations: Objects, Practices, Contexts (Berlin, MPIWG, 2010).

     

  • mlindee's picture

    M. Susan Lindee

    Susan Lindee is Janice and Julian Bers Professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Chair of the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Her work explores historical and contemporary questions raised by genetics, nuclear weapons and radiation risk. Her books include Suffering Made Real, The DNA Mystique, and Moments of Truth in Genetic Medicine.

     

Upcoming Meetings (all times Eastern)

  • Thursday, September 5, 2019 -
    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    Geoff Bil, "System and Sensibility: Indigenous Plant Names Between Nature and Artifice"

  • Thursday, October 3, 2019 -
    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    TBA

  • Thursday, November 7, 2019 -
    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    TBA

  • Thursday, December 5, 2019 -
    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    TBA

  • Thursday, February 6, 2020 -
    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    TBA

  • Thursday, March 5, 2020 -
    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    TBA

  • Thursday, April 2, 2020 -
    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    TBA

  • Thursday, May 7, 2020 -
    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    TBA

Past Meetings

  • May 2, 2019

    Joanna Radin, Department of History, Yale University, "Rescaling Colonial Life From the Indigenous to the Alien: The Late 20th Century Search for Human Biological Futures"

  • April 4, 2019

    Paul Wolff Mitchell, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania will present "The fault in his seeds: Lost notes to the case of bias in Samuel George Morton's cranial race science" from PloS Biol 16(10), and a work in progress, "'Bodily and Spiritually Lowered and Degraded' Tiedemann, Morton, and Enslaved Africans in the Formation of 19th Century Racial Craniology".

  • March 7, 2019

    Jay Aronson, "Humanitarian DNA Identification in Post-Apartheid South Africa." An additional article, "The Strengths and Limitations of South Africa’s Search for Apartheid-Era Missing Persons," is included as optional reading.

  • February 21, 2019

    Note Special Date
    Rosanna Dent, "Exemplary Indigenous Masculinity in Cold War Genetics"

  • December 11, 2018

    Note Special Day CH 6: "Improving Breed II: Science" from Michael Worboys, Julie-Marie Strange, and Neil Pemberton, The Invention of the Modern Breed and Blood in Victorian Britain (JHU Press, 2018). The book's conclusion is included in the file as optional additional reading.

  • October 4, 2018

    The working group will be reading Rachel Dentinger’s recent article titled “From ‘actual forces’ to ‘token stimuli’: Gottfried S. Fraenkel, and the evolutionary ‘raison d’être’ of plant molecules, 1930-1960s,” HSNS (2017): 47, 127-163.

  • May 3, 2018

    Tina Gianquitto will discuss her interdisciplinary work in history of biology and literary studies and her new project on plants. We'll read two articles: “Criminal Botany: Progress, Degeneration, and Darwin’s Insectivorous Plants” in American’s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Culture (University of Georgia Press, 2014) and “Botanical Smuts and Hermaphrodites: Lydia Becker, Darwin’s Botany, and Education Reform” Isis, 104:2 (2013): 250-277

  • April 5, 2018

    The group will read "Circulating Biomedical Images: Bodies and Chromosomes in the Post-Eugenic Era," by Maria Jesus Santesmases. It appeared in History of Science, volume 55, 2017, pp. 395-430. We will be joined by Maria Jesus Santesmases who will discuss this paper with us and Susan Lindee from the University of Pennsylvania who will serve as commentator.
     

  • March 1, 2018

    The working group read "A Feeling for the Algorithm: Working Knowledge and Big Data Biology," by Hallam Stevens. Osiris 2017: 32:151-174. Hallam Stevens joined the meeting discuss this paper with us.

  • February 1, 2018

    Excerpts from (with a focus on chapter 5): John Jackson Jr .and David J. Depew, Darwinism, Democracy and Race: Anthropology and Evolutionary Biology in the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 2017)