Location: Smith Centre, Science Museum, London, England
Organizers: Helmuth Trischler (RCC / Deutsches Museum, Munich)), Ludmilla Jordanova (Department of History, King’s College, London), Simon Werrett (RCC / Department of History, University of Washington, Seattle / Science Museum, London)
Although the sciences have provided critical resources in environmental debates, their own role in environmental change has been little studied. This conference will explore how the sciences have affected the physical environment. How have scientific practices and ideas impacted on nature – for example do practices such as voyages of exploration or natural history collecting exploit plants and animals and their environments? Does scientific activity cause pollution, depletion of resources, or other forms of damage to ecosystems? How are such practices to be evaluated, and how are they related to scientific and other ideas of nature and the environment, e.g. notions of conquest, mastery, or interrogation. How should scientific ideas about the environment be related to the impacts of scientific research on it? In particular papers should address scientific activities involving the circulation of knowledge and materials. A growing body of work in the history of science has explored the issue of circulation, examining how physical specimens, books, people, and materials related to science have been made to move around the globe in the service of producing or disseminating scientific knowledge. What has been the environmental significance of such circulations? How has the movement of people, plants, animals, and scientific instruments, books and personnel affected environments, e.g. on voyages of exploration, in processes of establishing colonial scientific institutions, or in undertaking imperial cartography or surveying? Papers which aim at fostering current theoretical debates on how to link the conceptual approaches of history of science, environmental history, and spatial history are particularly welcome.
Please send an abstract of 500 words and a short CV, no later than December 31, 2011, to Simon Werrett (werrett (at) u.washington.edu). Successful applicants will be notified by January 31, 2012. Applications and papers must be written in English. Travel and accommodation costs will be reimbursed by the organizers. The conference will be based on discussion of pre-circulated contributions. These should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words including footnotes, and must be submitted by May 10, 2012. Selected contributions will be considered for a publication following the meeting.
For further information on organizational issues please contact Simon Werrett (werrett (at) u.washington.edu).
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