Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine

News of the Consortium

June 2017

The Consortium is delighted to welcome the Adler Planetarium and the Society for the History of Technology as new member institutions.

The Adler, located in Chicago, is America's oldest planetarium and the only independent planetarium in the world holding significant collections and engaging in science and history research. The Adler's collections on astronomy and space exploration include astronomical and surveying instruments, astronomical texts and tables, as well as treatises on mathematics, optics, physics, astrology, geography, and navigation.

Founded in 1958, the Society for the History of Technology has been pivotal to promoting scholarship on both the history of technology and the role of technology in history. We look forward to welcoming the Society as it convenes its 2017 annual meeting in Philadelphia this fall.


2017-18 Fellows

The class of fellows for 2017-2018 is the largest to date. Incoming fellows' research topics reflect the diversity of the Consortium's collections and specializations. Fellows' projects are also geographically diverse, focusing on Britain, China, Egypt, and India, as well as diverse regions in the United States and transnational areas. The fellows are poised to make excellent use of Consortium members' archival holdings, with awards for more than 50 research trips. In addition to their research and writing, fellows will have the opportunity to take advantage of the Consortium's expanded programing, including working groups, public events, and fellows' research presentations.

Kevin Baker, Northwestern University
Dissertation Writing Fellow
World Processors: Computer Modeling, Global Environmentalism, and the Birth of Sustainable Development

Joanna Behrman, Johns Hopkins University
Research Fellow
A Comparative Analysis of Women's Higher Education in Physics

Paul Braff, Temple University
Research Fellow
Enthroning Health: The National Negro Health Movement and the Fight to Control Public Health Policy in the African American Community, 1915-1950

Theodora Dryer, University of California, San Diego
Dissertation Writing Fellow
Designing Certainty: The Rise of Algorithmic Planning in An Age of Anxiety, 1920-1961

Kathrinne Duffy, Brown University
Research Fellow
Doctrine of the Skull: Phrenology and Public Culture in Antebellum America

Kate Grauvogel, Indiana University
Research Fellow
A Gendered History of Pathology: Women, Hormones and Blood Clots, 1784 -1963

Martha Groppo, Princeton University
Research Fellow
Making the Peripheral Central: Rural Healthcare, Nursing, and the Anglo-World, 1887-1939

Nabeel Hamid, University of Pennsylvania
Fellow in Residence
Being and the Good: Natural Teleology in Early Modern German Philosophy

Alma Igra, Columbia University
Research Fellow
Calculating the Substance of Human Life: The Emergence of Nutritional Studies in Britain 1918-1941

Jonathan Jones, Binghamton University
Research Fellow
"A Mind Prostrate": Physicians, Opiates, and Insanity in the Civil War's Aftermath

Lawrence Kessler, Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine
Fellow in Residence
Planter's Paradise: Environment, Empire, and the Making of Hawai`i's Sugarcane Plantation System

Joseph Martin, National Science Foundation Research Scholar
Fellow in Residence
Industrial Patronage and the Cold War University

Emelin Miller, University of Minnesota
Research Fellow
Empire of Ice: Arctic Natural History and British Visions of Nature, 1650-1800

Timothy Minella, Emory University
Research Fellow
By Their Locks You Shall Know Them: Race, Science, and Hair in the Nineteenth Century

Taylor Moore, Rutgers University
Fellow in Residence
Superstitious Women: Race, Magic, and Medicine in Semicolonial Upper Egypt (1875-1960)

Lauren Rosati, City University of New York
Research Fellow
Mechanical Kingdoms: Sound Technologies and the Avant-Garde, 1930-1933

Michael Sappol, Uppsala University
Research Fellow
Anatomy's Photography: Objectivity, showmanship & the reinvention of the anatomical image 1860-1950

Aprajita Sarcar, Queens University
Research Fellow
Of Mythical Families in Mythical Cities: Small Family Propaganda and the City in India, 1954-77

Adam Shapiro, National Science Foundation Research Scholar
Fellow in Residence
An Unfit Darwinist: Disability, Slander and America's First Evolution Trial

Michelle Smiley, Bryn Mawr
Fellow in Residence
Becoming Photography: The American Development of a Medium

Daniel Vanersommers, The Ohio State University
NEH Postdoctoral Fellow
The National Zoological Park and the Transformation of Humanism in Nineteenth-Century America

Yuan Yi, Columbia University
Research Fellow
Malfunctioning Machinery: The Global Making of Textile Factories in Early Twentieth-Century China

Past Fellows' Updates

Carin Berkowitz
2009 to 2010 Dissertation Writing Fellow
Congratulations to Carin Berkowitz on the publication of Science Museums in Transition: Cultures of Display in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America (University of Pittsburgh Press), which she co-edited with Bernard Lightman.

A.J. Blandford
2016-2017 Research Fellow
Congratulations to AJ Blandford, who has received a Huntington Library research fellowship.

Rosanna Dent
2016 to 2017 Fellow in Residence
Rosanna Dent will be a Mellon Post Doctoral Fellow in Indigenous Studies at McGill next year, and will be assuming a position as assistant professor in the Federated Department of History at New Jersey Institute of Technology beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year.

Christopher Jones
2008 to 2009 Dissertation Research Fellow
Congratulations to Chris Jones, who was awarded tenure at Arizona State University as well as an ACLS fellowship for the project, Immaterial Growth: Energy and Economics in the American Century.

Tamara Kneese
2015 to 2016 Research Fellow
Congratulations to Tamara Kneese, who has been appointed Assistant Professor in the Media Studies department of University of San Francisco.

Julia Mansfield
2014 to 2016 Fellow in Residence
2013 to 2014 Dissertation Writing Fellow
Congratulations to Julia Mansfield, who will be the Cassius M. Clay Fellow in the History Department, Yale University for 2017-2019.

Emily Merchant
2012 to 2013 Dissertation Research Fellow
Emily Merchant has been appointed Assistant Professor in the STS program at U.C. Davis. Emily has also published several articles: "A Digital History of Anglophone Demography and Global Population Control, 1915-1984," Population and Development Review 43, no 1 (2017): 83-117; "IDS Transposer: A Users Guide," Historical Life Course Studies 4 (2017): 59-96; "Historical Demography in the United States," pp. 655-670 in A Global History of Historical Demography, ed. Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, S. Sogner, and I. Bolovan. Bern: Peter Lang, 2016; and "La Raza: Mexicans in the United States Census," Journal of Policy History 28, no. 4 (2016): 537-567, awarded the James Madison prize by the Society for History in the Federal Government.

James Poskett
2013-2014 Research Fellow
Congratulations to James Poskett, who has been appointed Assistant Professor in the History of Science and Technology at the University of Warwick, starting September 2017.

James Risk
2015 to 2016 Research Fellow
James Risk recently completed his Ph.D. in history of science and technology at University of South Carolina. James will continue teaching at his alma mater, and is presenting his work at the North American Society for Oceanic History; the National Lighthouse Museum; and the Society for the History of Technology.

Carolyn Roberts
2015-2016 Dissertation Writing Fellow
Carolyn Roberts has received a joint appointment in History/History of Science and Medicine and African American Studies at Yale University.

Whitney Robles, Harvard University
2015-2016 Research Fellow
Whitney Barlow Robles published an article about a 1755 earthquake that shook Boston in The New England Quarterly, and an essay on flattened scientific specimens and modes of observation in the book, The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard's Teaching Cabinet, 1766-1820 (edited by Ethan W. Lasser).

Michelle Smiley, Bryn Mawr
2016-2017 Dissertation Fellow
Michelle Smiley recently published an article on the history of clockmaking in Philadelphia for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.

Fellows' Research Reports

AJ Blandford, Rutgers University
2016 to 2017 Research Fellow
Labor and the Visualization of Knowledge in American Geological Surveys

Melissa Charenko, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2016 to 2017 Research Fellow
"The Science of Prophecy"? The Role of Paleo-Disciplines in the Face of Anthropogenic Change

Betsy Frederick-Rothwell, University of Texas at Austin
2016 to 2017 Research Fellow
Inside Out: Office Buildings and the Hybrid Nature of Space, 1870-1930

Alison Laurence, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2016 to 2017 Research Fellow
An Unnatural History of Deep Time


Elaine Ayers of Princeton University speaking at the Wagner Free Institute of Science.

In March, Elaine Ayers of Princeton University spoke at the Wagner Free Institute of Science about "Strange Beauty: Botanical Collecting in the Victorian Tropics." Ayers works on the intersections of aesthetics, exploration, and natural history in the Romantic and Victorian tropics. She shared the stories of the middle-class women collectors who went to great lengths to collect, preserve, and display tropical plants—mosses, orchids, carnivorous pitcher—plants, and the giant corpse flower—while she explored the cultural meanings of these plants to the collectors and to Victorian audiences.

Working Groups

One of the Consortium's main efforts is to foster a vibrant community of scholars studying the complex history of science, technology, and medicine. To that end, the Consortium hosts 11 topical working groups, each meeting monthly to discuss new and seminal work in a specialized subfield of the history of science, technology, and medicine. The groups bring together scholars at all stages in their careers and from institutions across the world. Each working group is led by two or three conveners who are established or emerging scholars taking time from their own work to select readings, reach out to new participants, and lead discussions.

Over the past academic year, the working groups have grown remarkably. The 11 working groups met 65 times, up from 52 the previous year. Nearly 220 scholars participated, up from 130 last year. Participants from more than 100 different institutions participated in person, or online from as far away as Beijing and Singapore, Brazil, the Netherlands, and Poland.

Follow the groups' activities and contact the conveners about participating when the groups reconvene in the fall.

Collections Updates

Newly Acquired or Processed Collections

The Adler Planetarium's collections on astronomy and space exploration include large collections of astronomical and surveying instruments, astronomical texts and tables, and treatises on mathematics, optics, physics, astrology, geography, and navigation.

We look forward to providing research fellowships to scholars seeking to use the Adler's collections as well as incorporating the Adler into the Consortium's online community through our programming, online search tools, and calendar of events.

The American Philosophical Society has recently launched the upgraded Digital Library, featuring improved navigation and responsive design that makes the site easier to read on a variety of screen sizes. The site also highlights interpretive galleries of APS collections created by staff and Digital Library interns. Galleries include digital projects on the Britton Chance Collection, the Colonel Richard Gimbel Collection of Thomas Paine Papers, and the Henry Howard Houston II Papers.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation has completed processing the papers of American physicist, inventor and electronics engineer, L. Arthur D'Asaro (1927-2013). The collection spans 91 linear feet and documents D'Asaro's broad research and development activities at Bell Laboratories and Princeton Optronics, Inc.

Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library has acquired Caroline Lucretia Herschel's own copy of her Catalogue of Stars (1798) with notes and annotations in her hand, and Libra Astronomica y Philosophica (1690), by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora.

History of Science Society's new open-access search interface, IsisCB Explore, is now available. It includes nearly 200,000 interlinked bibliographic citations to books, chapters, articles, dissertations, and reviews from 1974 to present.

The New York Academy of Medicine Library announces the launch of its new digital collections and exhibits website. The new site makes it easy for the public to access and explore highlights of the Library's world-class historical collections in the history of medicine and public health.

The Rockefeller Archive Center is pleased to announce that the Papers of R. Bruce Merrifield are now open and available for research.

10 Down, 300 To Go

This month, the Consortium completed its tenth year of activity. Scholarly programs are thriving. Public programs are set for a dramatic expansion. Institutional membership has doubled.

We are grateful to everyone who has participated in our activities and contributed to our growth. We hope you will join us if you have not already, and look forward to the continued participation of old friends. Apply for a fellowship. Join a working group. Attend an event. Contribute at any level you feel comfortable. There is much more to be done.

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