On 19-20 June 2015, Gewina will organize the sixth biannual meeting at the Woudschoten conference centre. Participants are invited to submit a proposal for a contribution to this two-day meeting. The theme of the conference is ‘Things to Know: Material Culture in Scientific Practice’.
In addition to written texts, historians of science increasingly use material sources in their research, such as paintings and prints, scientific instruments and models, chemicals and other material substances, anatomical and natural history collections, or journals and books, seen as material objects rather than as carriers of textual information. Using such sources often involves drawing on methods and skills of other disciplines – archeology, anthropology, art history – or even manipulating objects and substances.
What does all this mean for the history of science? How can the use of material culture enrich our view of the past, and what, if any, are the limitations of focusing on material objects? How do the trajectories that scientific objects follow across a variety of places of scientific practice affect their identity? What can we learn from reenacting the manual work of manipulating substances, constructing instruments, and performing experiments? Which objects do we need to conserve for the benefit of future historians? How can material objects enrich the teaching of the history of science? We invite you to address questions such as these, as well as any other topic concerning material culture and history of science.
We welcome contributions to the conference in the form of:
- Presentations about work in progress or future research plans (max. 20 minutes), preferably tuned to the theme of the conference.
- Contributions to a panel discussion: academic staff and students are invited to join in discussing ‘material culture and teaching history of science’, for example with a short presentation on a relevant teaching experience.
For all contributions, please submit an abstract or proposal of max. 300 words to: firstname.lastname@example.org, before 1 February 2015.
The meeting is organized by Museum Boerhaave and Eric Jorink and Frans van Lunteren of Leiden University, on behalf of the Belgian-Dutch Society for the History of Science and Universities Gewina. Conference information: