HSTM Events

Fall 2021 Colloquium - Jole Shackelford

Richter Comp Psych Monographs

Jole Shackelford, History of Medicine, University of Minnesota

Title: "Normal and Abnormal Rhythms in the Search for Biological Clocks: An Epistemological Gap Between Early Twentieth-Century Biology and Experimental Psychology."

Abstract: I will posit an epistemological gap between the research designs and interpretations of results of experimental psychologists and animal physiologists during the first half of the twentieth century, evident at least in the study of biological rhythms and the pursuit of biological clocks.  That scientists working in different fields often operated within their own silos, as this is sometimes called, is not a particularly novel idea, but I will show that in the history of rhythms studies this has led to a mistaken priority claim in the search for “the biological clock” – one that led to a nomination for a Nobel Prize on historically dubious grounds.  It remains to be seen whether this finding can be applied more broadly.

Fall 2021 Colloquium - Andre Wakefield


Title: "Toxic Anachronism in the History of Science and Technology: The Case of Leibniz"

Abstract: The history of science and technology has long been especially prone to Whiggish anachronism. You might say it’s built into the marrow of our discipline. While the complete elimination of anachronism from our histories may be a fool’s errand, certain forms of anachronism, instantiated in what I have elsewhere called “Disney History,” constitute a problem worth discussing. I will use the case of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and his experiments with mining machines in the Harz Mountains, to demonstrate what I mean.

Fall 2021 Colloquium - Jacob Steere-Williams

karachi carbolic

A Charles E. Culpeper Lecture in the History of Medicine and HSTM Alumni Lecture

Title: "Carbolic Colonialism: Race, Labor, and Plague in South Africa"

Abstract: This talk examines the entanglements of colonial public health through the history of a singular chemical technology; carbolic acid. Derived from coal tar production in British and German industrial factories, carbolic acid exploded in use from the 1870s after Joseph Lister advocated for aseptic and antiseptic surgeries. By the early twentieth century, carbolic acid and other chemical disinfectants were domesticated as common household tools in the fight against germs. An unexplored history of carbolic acid, however, are the practices—gendered and racialized—whereby carbolic acid became the central and everyday weapon used by colonial public health officers and indigenous laborers in fighting outbreaks of infectious disease. This talk, using the rich archival material derived from anti-plague work in British India and South Africa around 1900, shows how carbolic acid and the practices of disinfection were key sites of scientific knowledge transfer, debate, and contestation, over colonial environments, bodies, and what bodies produce.

Fall 2021 Colloquium - Benjamin Feintzig

MCPS Lecture

Title: "Why care about quantization"

Abstract: TBD

Fall 2021 Colloquium - Mackenzie Cooley

Title: "Making Razze: Knowing and Controlling Animal Generation, 1500-1600"

Abstract: TBD

Fall 2021 Colloquium - Subrena Smith

MCPS Lecture

Title: “What’s to be Gained from an Evolutionary Approach to Behavior?"

Abstract: TBD

Fall 2021 Colloquium - Ashley Inglehart

Title: “Genesis, Creation, and Generation in Robert Boyle’s Natural Philosophy”

Abstract: TBD

Fall 2021 Colloquium - Erika Milam

Title: “Philosophy Kings of Rocky Mountains: Marmots, Time, and Animal Behavior”

Abstract: TBD