Working Groups

The Consortium invites 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. Scholars can participate in person or online.

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.

Please be patient if the connection is slow when entering a group webpage.

1stHistory & TheoryEarth & Environmental SciencesBiological SciencesEarly Modern Science
2ndHistory & Philosophy of ScienceAncient and Medieval SciencesScience Beyond the West
3rdTechnologyHuman SciencesPhysical SciencesMedicine and Health

Upcoming Meetings

History and Theory

October 4, 2016

This year’s theme for the History & Theory Working Group is “ontology and materiality.” They will begin 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.”

Earth and Environmental Sciences

October 5, 2016

Abe Gibson of Arizona State will introduce selections from his new book, Feral Animals in the American South, Cambridge University Press, 2016:
1. The trouble with ferality: domestication as coevolution and the nature of broken symbioses
4. Nascent domestication initiatives and their effects on ferality: claiming dominion in the antebellum South
5. Anthropogenic improvement and assaults on fertility: divergent fates in the industrializing South
6.  Everything in its right place: wild, domestic, and feral populations in the modern South
Note: if you own or have access to “Feral Animals in the American South” through your university library, either in hardcopy or as an ebook through, please access it directly. Libraries (and publishers) track usage.

Biological Sciences

October 6, 2016

The group will discuss two recent articles: “Ark and Archive: Making a Place for Long-Term Research on Barro Colorado Island, Panama,” by Megan Raby of University of Texas, Austin and “The Right Tool and the Right Place for the Job: The Importance of the Field in Experimental Neurophysiology, 1880-1945” by Samantha Muka of the University of Pennsylvania.

History and Philosophy of Science

October 12, 2016

​This Fall​ we will be reading Helen Longino's Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality (University of Chicago Press, 2013). On Wednesday, October 12 we will discuss Chapters 1-4. Nabeel Hamid will introduce the readings.

Ancient and Medieval Sciences

October 13, 2016

The group will read three articles on ancient pharmacology:

“Mithradates’ Antidote: A Pharmcological Ghost” by Laurence M. V. Totelin, Early Science and Medicine, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2004), pp. 1-19

“Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Court of Cleopatra VII: Traces of Three Physicians” by John Scarborough, in Arsdall, Anne Van, and Graham, Timothy, eds. Medicine in the Medieval Mediterranean : Herbs and Healers from the Ancient Mediterranean through the Medieval West : Essays in Honor of John M. Riddle, Routledge, 2012.

“A recipe for a headache: Translating and interpreting ancient Greek and Roman remedies” by Laurence M.V. Totelin, in Imhausen, Annette, and Pommerening, Tanja, eds. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde : Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt, Rome, and Greece : Translating Ancient Scientific Texts, De Gruyter, 2011.

Science Beyond the West

October 14, 2016

The group will discuss three articles:
"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


October 18, 2016

Lisa Rand, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Title, TBD

Human Sciences

October 19, 2016

Besides organizing the upcoming schedule, the group will discuss the introduction to the forthcoming edited volume The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health by Greg Eghigian (Penn State University).

Physical Sciences

October 20, 2016

John Krige of George Tech will be discussing a chapter from his book Sharing Knowledge, Shaping Europe (MIT 2016)

Early Modern Science

October 21, 2016

Note Special Day

Participant in Consortium Working Groups are invited to attend remotely a symposium held at the University of Minnesota.  The symposium will produce a special issue of the Journal of Early Modern History on the topic “Beyond the ’Scientific Revolution:’ Thinking Globally about the History of Modern Science.” The presenters are:
Jorge Canizares Esguerra, UT Austin
Hal Cook, Brown
Harun Küçük, UPenn
Carla Nappi, UBC
Ahmed Ragab, Harvard
Kapil Raj, EHESS Paris
Daniela Bleichmar, USC
JB Shank, UMN

Medicine and Health

October 28, 2016

Note Special Day Topic TBA

The first dose of Thymol ever given on foreign soil by the International Health Commission. April 6th. 1913. Demerara, British Guiana, South America. Image courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.