Category Archives: Announcements

Welcoming a New Team Member!

Americans, Scientists, and non-American non-scientists: I’m very excited to be joining the AmericanScience team from my new home in Philadelphia, where I’ll be spending the next few months reading, writing, and—of course—blogging about all things history of science. I’m a PhD candidate in the Program in the History of Science at Princeton University, where I work on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century natural history in a (mostly) global context. My interests, which range from Victorian botanical exploration to entomological museum displays, are decidedly less “modern” and physical sciences-based than the other bloggers on AmericanScience. Nevertheless, I hope that the discussions that will be had over the coming months will broaden not just my own dissertation work, but will deepen the historical bent of the blog as a whole.

I came to the East Coast by way of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I got my B.A. in the history of science, medicine, & technology with a minor in African studies. Over the past few years, I’ve focused my work on various strange species that challenged nineteenth-century conceptions of what it meant to be human, blurring boundaries between plants and animals, races and genders. Beginning with an exploration into Victorian explorer Paul du Chaillu’s gorilla-hunting expedition into West Africa, my research moved into studies of butterflies, the “stuff of séances” in Victorian spiritualist circles, and, most recently, Cryptogams and other plants that confounded men of science and oftentimes ended up in the hands (and hothouses) of women. My dissertation (at this early stage of conception) tracks several “reproductively confusing” species of plants—corpse flowers, mosses, deadly nightshade, and the like—from islands to museums and gardens, from field collection to preserved herbarium sheets and living hothouses, in an effort to understand the changing aesthetic, gendered, sexualized, and scientific practices and material cultures of nineteenth-century botany.

Over the next few months, I’ll be blogging about a range of historical topics (with presentist hooks) in the life sciences and in museum studies. Expect histories of pioneering natural history institutions (I just finished a stint at the New York Botanical Garden Humanities Institute); of Continue reading

Announcing the FHSA Grad Student Travel Award

Exciting news: Graduate Students presenting papers on American topics (broadly defined) at the History of Science Society Annual Meeting are invited to apply for travel assistance funding from the Forum for the History of Science in America. The Forum will be awarding one grant of $250.00 (USD) to assist with the cost of traveling to and attending the meeting.

To apply, please submit the following:

  1. The title/panel/abstract for the paper being presented. 
  2. A brief statement indicating:
    1. whether or not the applicant has additional or alternative sources of travel funds ( e.g. departmental support); 
    2. whether the applicant has presented papers at previous HSS meetings; 
    3. estimated cost of transportation to the meeting (e.g. airfare).  

The successful candidate will be presented with the award at the Forum’s Annual Business meeting normally held during the lunch hour on the Friday of the Conference.  Please send your application materials via email to Professor Gwen Kay ( August 31, 2011.

What have you got?

The Forum wants your articles on American science, and it wants to give someone a prize.

See the official announcement:

The Forum for the History of Science in America has begun gathering articles for its 2011 Publication Prize.

Here are the eligibility criteria:
– any Article published in the English language in a professional journal issue (or chapter in a multi-authored edited volume) dated 2008, 2009 or 2010,
– authored by a Scholar(s) who received the Ph.D. in 2001 or afterward (i.e. recent Ph.Ds and graduate students are eligible for the article prize),
– on a topic in American Science (“American” loosely defined to include the western hemisphere, “science” conservatively defined to exclude articles focusing on either the “clinical and social history of medicine” or the “history of technology”).
Authors are encouraged to self-nominate.

Please submit pdfs of published articles to David Spanagel between now and July 31, 2011.

with many thanks,

David Spanagel
Chair FHSA Prize Committee (2011-12)
Assistant Professor of History
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Want more conference and grant announcements from our facebook page and FHSA correspondents? Keep reading.

  • From Mark Largent:

Paper proposals for the bi-annual meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology [Ishkabibble for those in the know] are due no later than Thursday, March 3.

For information on the meeting and to submit a paper, go to:

  • From Evan Koblenz:

If anyone here is interested in the history of computing, here’s an event that I produce (open the public; it’s not an academic conference) called the Vintage Computer Festival. (and also

  • From Dan Goldstein:

State Historical Society of Iowa
2011/2012 Research Grants

The State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) announces a grant pro­gram for the 2011/2012 academic year. SHSI will award up to ten stipends of $1,000 each to support original research and interpre­tive writing related to the history of Iowa or Iowa and the Midwest. Preference will be given to applicants proposing to pursue previ­ously ne­glected topics or new approaches to or inter­pretations of pre­viously treated topics. SHSI invites applicants from a variety of backgrounds, including aca­demic and public historians, graduate students, and indepen­dent researchers and writers. Applications will be judged on the basis of their potential for producing work appropriate for publi­cation in The Annals of Iowa. Grant recipients will be expected to produce an annotated manuscript targeted for The Annals of Iowa , SHSI’s schol­arly journal.

Applications for the 2011/2012 awards must be postmarked by April 15, 2011. Download application guidelines from our Web site ( ) or request guidelines or further informa­tion from:

Research Grants
State Historical Society of Iowa
402 Iowa Avenue
Iowa City IA 52240-1806

Phone: 319-335-3931

Marvin Bergman, editor
402 Iowa Avenue
Iowa City IA 52240