Working Groups

History and Theory

The History and Theory Working Group focuses on theoretical and methodological issues such as philosophy of history, historical research, interpretation, and narrative—not necessarily confined to the history of science. The working group 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 6:00 to 7:30 on first Tuesdays. Scholars located anywhere can also participate online.


  • Suman Seth

    Suman Seth is Associate Professor, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University. He works on the social, cultural, and intellectual history of modern science, including history of physical sciences (particularly quantum theory), gender and science, & science, race, and colonialism.


  • Laura Stark

    Laura Stark is Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University's Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, and Associate Editor of the journal History and Theory. She has published works on the history of medicine, morality, and the modern state, and pieces on social theory.


Upcoming Meetings

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • May 2, 2017

    Povinelli, Elizabeth A. Geontologies:  A Requiem to Late Liberalism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016. Chapters 1 & 2.


  • April 4, 2017

    Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthulucene (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2016): 1-8, 30-57, 99-103.


  • March 7, 2017
    Karen Barad, “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter,” Signs 28 (2003): 801-31.
    Yvonne Marshall and Benjamin Alberti, “A Matter of Difference: Karen Barad, Ontology, and Archaeological Bodies,” Cambridge Archaeological Journal 24 (2014): 21-36.



  • February 7, 2017
    Brown, Bill. 2016.   "Chapter 1: Things in theory," Other Things. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.
    Latour, Bruno. 2000. "The Berlin key or how to do words with things," in Graves-Brown, P. ed., Matter, Materiality, and Modern Culture. London ; New York: Routledge.
  • December 6, 2016
    The group discussed two readings:
    Bill Brown, “Overture” and “Coda” from Other Things (Chicago ; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2015);
    Bill Brown, “Thing Theory,” Critical Inquiry 28, no. 1 (2001): 1–22.
  • November 1, 2016

    The group discussed two articles: Marisol De La Cadena, "Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections beyond 'Politics,'" Cultural Anthropology 25, no. 2 (May 1, 2010): 334-70 and Tim Ingold, "Materials against Materiality," Archaeological Dialogues 14, no. 1 (June 2007): 1-16.

  • October 4, 2016

    This year's theme for the History & Theory Working Group is "ontology and materiality." They began with a discussion of two essays: Greg Anderson's "Retrieving the Lost Worlds of the Past: The Case for an Ontological Turn" and Paul Roth's "Ways of Pastmaking."

  • May 3, 2016

    The group discussed Michel Serres with Bruno Latour, Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1995): 43-76, and John Zammito, “History/Philosophy/Science: Some Lessons for Philosophy of History,” History and Theory 50 (2011): 390-413. Some group members also read Serres, “Mathematics and Philosophy: What Thales Saw...” in Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982): 84-97.

  • April 5, 2016

    The group will discuss Andrew Shryock and Daniel Lord Smail, Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present (University of California Press, 2011), Ch 1 & 2. If time permits, members are encouraged to also read Daniel Lord Smail, On Deep History and the Brain (University of California Press, 2008), Ch. 4, and Michael Bentley, “Past and ‘Presence’: Revisiting Historical Ontology,” History and Theory 45 (October 2006): 349-361.

  • March 1, 2016

    Elly Truitt introduced Kathleen Davis, Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time (UPenn, 2008), Introduction and Chapter 3; and Carol Symes, “When We Talk About Modernity,” American Historical Review (June, 2011): 715-26.

Group Membership