Working Groups

Science Beyond the West

The Working Group on the Science Beyond the West discusses theoretical and empirical scholarship, both works-in-progress and published, on:

  • Non-Western scientific traditions;
  • Interactions between entrenched and mobile elements of knowledge;
  • Western sciences in non-Western contexts.

Meetings are usually held at the Consortium office in Philadelphia from 3:30 to 5:00 on second Fridays. 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.

Upcoming Meetings (all times Eastern)

  • Friday, September 14, 2018 -
    3:30pm to 5:00pm


Past Meetings

  • May 12, 2017


  • March 10, 2017


  • November 17, 2016

    Participants joined remotely a special workshop on new approaches to STEM in South Asia.

    Prof. Lawrence Cohen, University of California, Berkeley
    Life after Labor: Biometrics and the Figure of "Service" in Contemporary India
    Prof. Banu Subramaniam, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    Other Worldly Tales: Hindu Nationalism and Science in India
    Prof. Amit Prasad, University of Missouri
    Miracle or Science: Stem Cell Research and Therapy at a Clinic in Delhi
    Prof. Bharat Venkat, University of Oregon
    Wax & Wane
    Dr. Medha Saxena, Delhi University
    Island Networks: Early Years in the Establishment of Telecommunication in the Bay of Bengal
    Dr. Eram Alam, University of Pennsylvania
    "Global Medical Labor and Questions of Equivalency"
  • October 14, 2016

    The group discussed three articles about global health and vaccination:
    "Intimidation, Coercion and Resistance in the Final Stages of the South Asian Smallpox Eradication Campaign, 1973-1975"
    by Paul Greenough
    Soc. Sci. Med. Vol.41, No. 5, pp. 633-645,1995
    "Chimeric globalism: Global health in the shadow of the dengue vaccine"
    by Alex M. Nading
    American Ethnologist, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 356-370, 2015
    "'He is now like a brother, I can even give him some blood' -- Relational ethics and material exchanges in a malaria vaccine 'trial community' in The Gambia"
    by P. Wenzel Geissler, Ann Kelly, Babatunde Imoukhuede and Robert Pool
    Social Science & Medicine 67 (2008) 696-707

  • April 8, 2016

    Meeting postponed - replacement date TBA. Professor Nükhet Varlık (Rutgers) will present her article in progress, "Epidemiological Orientalism." Professor Marta Hanson (Johns Hopkins) will be joining the discussion as respondent.

  • March 25, 2016

    Dong-Won Kim introduced his paper, "Science Fiction in South and North Korea."

  • February 12, 2016

    Fa-ti Fan from Binghamton University introduced a chapter, "The People's War against Earthquakes: Cultures of Mass Science in Mao's China'" from his forthcoming book on earthquakes in China, and Debjani Bhattacharya of Drexel provided comments to start the discussion.

  • December 3, 2015

    No regular session this month, but some members attended a 2-day lecture and workshop on "The Local and the Global in History of Science," Dec. 3rd - Dec. 4th in Philadelphia, PA, featuring guest speaker and participant Kapil Raj (EHESS, Paris). The lecture and workshop were organized by Projit Mukharji and co-sponsored by the South Asia Center at UPenn, as well as the Consortium for HSTM. Read more here.

  • October 7, 2015

    The group welcomed Dimitri Gutas of Yale University and Floris Cohen of Utrecht University as guest participants. Gutas commented on Cohen's How Modern Science Came Into the World: Four Civilizations, One 17th-Century Breakthrough (Amsterdam University Press, 2011), Cohen replied, and the group discussed.

  • February 13, 2015

    The group discussed Nathan Sivin’s “Copernicus in China, or, Good Intentions Gone Astray,” Ekmeleddin İhsanŏglu’s “Introduction of Western Science to the Ottoman World: A Case Study of Modern Astronomy (1660-1860),” and Simon Schaffer’s “The Asiatic Enlightenments of British Astronomy”

Group Membership