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.

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

1stHistory & TheoryEarth & Environmental SciencesBiological Sciences
2ndHistory & Philosophy of ScienceEarly ScienceScience Beyond the West
3rdTechnologyPhysical Sciences
(Spring 2016)
Physical Sciences
(Fall 2015)
Medicine and Health

Upcoming Meetings

History and Theory

December 1, 2015

The group will discuss Ch. 1 of Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object (Columbia, 1983); Ch. 6 of David Carr, Time, Narrative, and History (Indiana University Press, 1991); and John Zammito, “Koselleck’s Philosophy of Historical Time(s) and the Practice of History,” History and Theory 43 (2004): 124-35. (We are re-posting the Zammito, since we didn’t get a chance to finish discussing it last time.)

Earth and Environmental Sciences

December 2, 2015

The group will discuss a recent forum on “Technology, Ecology, and Human Health since 1850,” Environmental History 20 (2015): 710-804. Participants can choose to read some or all of the essays. The group’s conveners (Benson, Roberts, and Vetter) will introduce specific themes and topics relevant to their own work to instigate the conversation.

Science Beyond the West

December 3, 2015

No regular session this month, but members are invited to attend 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 are organized by Projit Mukharji and co-sponsored by the South Asia Center at UPenn, as well as the Consortium for HSTM. Read more and RSVP here.

Biological Sciences

December 3, 2015

The theme for our next meeting will be migration and the biological sciences with an eye to exploring some exciting recent literature. Lijing Jiang at Nanyang Technological University will lead the discussion of two papers centering on two kinds of biological sciences, and a third, which provides us with relevant insights on Chinese/American Scientists. Readings: Lijing Jiang, “Retouching the Past with Living Things: Indigenous Species, Tradition, and Biological Research in Republican China, 1918–1937” (manuscript). Lisa Onaga, “Ray Wu as Fifth Business: Deconstructing Collective Memory in the History of DNA Sequencing.” Std. Hist. Phil. Biol. Biomed. Sci. (2014) 46: 1-14. Background Reading: Zuoyue Wang, “Transnational Science and the Cold War. The Case of Chinese/American Scientists.” Isis 2010 101: 367-377.

History and Philosophy of Science

December 9, 2015

This semester, the group will read Theodore Arabatzis's book Representing Electrons: A Biographical Approach to Theoretical Entities (Chicago, 2005). Please obtain your own copy and read chapters 6, 7, and 8 for this meeting.

Early Sciences

December 10, 2015



December 15, 2015

Jennifer Alexander of the University of Minnesota will introduce her article, “Technological Critique and the Founding of the Technology and Social Justice Movement:  Jacques Ellul at the World Council of Churches, Amsterdam, 1948.”

Physical Sciences

December 17, 2015

Ruth Rand, Consortium for HSTM and UPenn, TBA

Medicine and Health

December 18, 2015

Heidi Knoblauch of Bard College will join the group to discuss her paper, “Collecting Patients: Clinical Photographs, Record Keeping, and Privacy in the United States, 1862-1939.”

Human Sciences

February 3, 2016


Exhibit Hall c. 1900, Wagner Free Institute of Science. Image courtesy of the Wagner Free Institute of Science.