A new public events series from the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine brings historical perspective to contemporary issues and concerns.
In the public forums, historians and other specialists speak about culturally relevant topics in front of a live audience at Consortium member institutions. Forum subjects range from medical consumerism to public trust in science and technology. Videos of these events are also available at chstm.org.
In podcast episodes, authors of new books in the history of science, technology, and medicine respond to questions from readers with a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise. These conversations illuminate the utility and relevance of the past in light of current events.
Replay — Abe Gibson's Feral Animals in the American South
Join us as we revisit our interview from April 2021 with Abraham Gibson, assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio and author of Feral Animals in the American South: An Evolutionary History.
In his book, Abe Gibson tells the broader social and environmental history of the Southern United States by focusing on the domestication and subsequent ferality of dogs, horses, and pigs over the past three hundred years. Gibson discusses the co-evolution of humans and domesticated animals both in ancient history and the more recent history of the United States, and highlights how and why the open range in the U.S. South lasted longer than in other parts of the United States. Dr. Gibson uses the differential experiences of feral horses, dogs, and pigs to explore broader themes of commerce, sport, environment, and politics in Southern history from the colonial to the modern era.
This podcast features a number of questions for Prof. Gibson from Simon Joseph, a former staff member of the Consortium who currently works in the offices of the American Philosophical Society.
Abraham Gibson was a 2014-2015 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
Abraham Gibson is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He teaches courses on the history of science, technology, engineering, medicine, and the environment, and his research examines topics such as the domestication of animals, the evolution of cooperation, and the relationship between technology and society.
To cite this podcast, please use footnote:
Abraham Gibson, interview, Perspectives, Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, April 30, 2021, www.chstm.org/video/119.
Replay — Aristotle's Masterpiece: Early Modern Sex Ed with Mary Fissell
Join us as we revisit our spotlight on Aristotle's Masterpiece with Professor Mary Fissell, from October 2020. To see the visuals that Dr. Fissell references in the podcast, go to: www.chstm.org/video/83
Follow along with Professor Fissell as she discusses her research on this late 17th century sex, midwifery, and childbirth manual popular in England and America from its publication until well into the 20th century. Dr. Fissell explores the ways in which readers used their copies of the book to record births and vows of love and companionship, performing a similar function to the Bible. Dig into the similarities and differences between copies of the Masterpiece held at Kislak Center for Special Collections at the University of Pennsylvania, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Institute of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.
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Adam R. Shapiro — Trying Biology
In this episode of Perspectives, we speak with Adam R. Shapiro, author of Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools.
In his book, Adam R. Shapiro details the ways that the business practices of the science textbook industry of the early twentieth century, combined with a new push toward teaching a unified subject called "biology" in American high schools, led to the showdown known as the Scopes Trial. However, as Shapiro notes, this seemingly paradigmatic clash of supposed opposites—science and religion—was really anything but: evolution and evolutionary thinking had been in the cultural zeitgeist for a half-century before the Scopes Trial, and antievolution religious sentiment had existed all throughout that time as well. Instead, he argues that we need to look at the shifting social, political, and economic situation in America, at a time when secondary education was becoming compulsory nationwide, and a small cadre of powerful textbook manufacturers were competing with each other for market share in proliferating science classrooms. Alongside an increasingly contentious battle between rural and urban visions of America, these developments—and not any insurmountable chasm between science and religion—set the stage for the Scopes Trial as well as for more recent conflicts about what should be taught in the nation's schools.
Adam R. Shapiro received his Ph.D. in Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science from the University of Chicago. He was NSF Fellow-in-Residence at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology & Medicine in 2016-2017. His most recent book (with Thomas Dixon) is Science and Religion, A Very Short Introduction from Oxford University Press.
To cite this podcast, please use footnote:
Adam R. Shapiro, interview, Perspectives, Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, March 3, 2022, https://www.chstm.org/video/136.
Stephen Weldon — The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism
In this episode of Perspectives, we speak with Stephen Weldon, author of The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism.
In his book, Stephen Weldon uncovers how, at the beginning of the twentieth century, liberal ministers and rabbis created the humanist movement to accommodate religion to an increasingly scientific world and worldview. Joined by academic philosophers and prominent scientists in the years that followed, the movement engaged in battles not only with religious fundamentalists, but also with itself, as democratic humanists influenced by pragmatism fought with those influenced by the arch-rationalist philosophy of logical positivism. Professor Weldon places humanists and their "scientific spirit" at the vanguard of an increasingly secular and non-theistic America in the twentieth century. However, he also shows how humanism evolved over time, becoming more defensive in its response to the upswell of born-again Christian religiosity of the 1970s and 1980s.
Stephen Weldon is Associate Professor in the Department of History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at the University of Oklahoma and is the editor of the Isis Current Bibliography of the History of Science. Dr. Weldon received his Ph.D. in History and History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
For more resources on this topic, please visit: https://www.chstm.org/video/135
Replay — Trust in Science: Vaccines
In light of the COVID-19 epidemic and the sometimes fierce opposition to vaccination, join us as we re-examine our presentation from January 2019 on contemporary vaccine skepticism in America and its historical roots.
What does the data show about present-day attitudes towards vaccination? How do these attitudes relate to changing social, political, and economic conditions? How are these issues mediated by the relationship between doctor and patient? Three experts—Jeffrey Baker, Elena Conis, and Erica Kimmerling—lead our discussion and share how their research tries to answer these complex questions.
"Trust in Science: Vaccines" is the first event in a series inspired by Perceptions of Science in America, a report from the Public Face of Science Initiative at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This series is presented by the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
To view more resources and participate in the discussion, please visit: https://www.chstm.org/vaccines
Injustice in Science: The Meitner Scandal and Robert Millikan's Troubling Legacy
What would it take to "render justice" in science? In this roundtable discussion, our panelists discuss two episodes that demonstrate how scientific credit and recognition reflect the social and political order of the times. Ruth Lewin Sime and Robert Marc Friedman discuss the "Meitner Scandal," in which the world-renowned physicist Lise Meitner was denied a Nobel Prize for her work, despite being nominated over 50 times and having been considered by many—both in her time and now—as an exemplary candidate. Michael Chwe and Peter Sachs Collopy discuss the recent reckoning with the racist and pro-eugenic beliefs of Robert A. Millikan, the former faculty member at Caltech and winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physics. They discuss activism in having Millikan's name taken off of buildings at Caltech, as well as current attempts to make Caltech more inclusive and diverse.
Our moderator for this panel is Susan Lindee, Professor of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and our commentator is Sue V. Rosser, Provost Emerita and Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University.
Please watch a number of our panelists live on Sunday, February 20, 2022 at 12:00pm and on-demand as they discuss these issues at the 2022 AAAS Annual Meeting. The link to the AAAS Program can be found at: https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2022/meetingapp.cgi/Session/28502
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