Working Groups

The Consortium invites area scholars to join several topical working groups for challenging and collegial discussion of interesting publications in their fields and of each others’ works-in-progress. Please contact the conveners if you would like to participate in one or more of the groups.

Each of the groups meets one evening or afternoon each month at the Consortium offices in Philadelphia. Scholars located anywhere can also participate online. The regular meeting days are as follows, but be sure to check each group's individual schedule for changes.

1stHistory & TheoryPhysical SciencesEarth & Environmental Sciences
2ndLife Sciences and Natural HistoryHistory & Philosophy of ScienceEarly ScienceScience Beyond the West
3rdTechnologyHuman SciencesMedicine and Health

Upcoming Meetings

Medicine and Health

February 20, 2015

Our next seminar will feature a discussion between two authors who have recently written books about pain: Keith Wailoo, the author of Pain: A Political History, and Joanna Bourke, the author of The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers. Keith will comment on Joanna’s book, Joanna on Keith’s, and then we will open the floor for questions from the seminar participants.


February 24, 2015

Note special date. Teasel Muir-Harmoney of the American Institute of Physics will introduce her paper, “A Global History of the First Lunar Landing.”

History and Philosophy of Science

February 25, 2015

Note special date. Louise Daoust of UPenn will introduce Chapter 5 of Daston and Galison's Objectivity.

History and Theory

March 3, 2015

The group will discuss selections of You Must Change Your Life by Peter Sloterdijk: pp. 83-105 (Religions Do Not Exist); 109-130 (mostly Nietzsche and the Vertical); 131-159 (Wittgenstein and Foucault); and optionally 177-242 (other stuff, monasticism included).  Additional readings include a piece by William James on practice/verticality/energy/ethics, ”The Energies of Men,” and a review of an interesting recent book connecting James’ energetics to Foucault’s ascetics.

Physical Sciences

March 4, 2015

Peter Ramberg of Truman State University will introduce his paper, “Popularizing Astronomy in the German Free Religious Movement, 1850-1852.”

Earth and Environmental Sciences

March 6, 2015

Mary Mitchell of the University of Pennsylvania will introduce her paper, “Falling Out: Challenging Atmospheric Nuclear Testing in the Domestic Courts”

Life Sciences and Natural History

March 10, 2015

The group will discuss selections from Daniela Bleichmar’s Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment, U of Chicago Press, 2012.

Early Sciences

March 12, 2015

Sue Wells of Temple University will introduce her draft chapter, “‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ and Early Modern Medicine.”

Science Beyond the West

March 13, 2015


Human Sciences

March 18, 2015

Audra Wolfe, Independent Scholar, will introduce an excerpt of Thomas Medvetz, Think Tanks in America (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

Limnology department expedition, ca. 1948. Image courtesy of The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.