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Update on the call for papers for – Symposium Shadows illuminated: invisibilities of science and its (dis)unities

December 11, 2017

European Society for the History of Science (ESHS) Congress

London, 14th – 17th September, 2018

Paper proposal (max. 500 words) to  before 14th December 2017

Ana Cristina Martins, Post-Ph.D. Fellowship

(Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia / Instituto de História Contemporânea-CEFCi-UÉ-Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas-Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)

Eulália Pérez Sedeño, Research Professor

(Instituto de Filosofía-Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, Spain)


Shadows illuminated: invisibilities of science and its (dis)unities

As is commonly the case in other historical fields, in the history of science the invisibility of actors, spaces and projects in science remains an ongoing problematic. A particular challenge is due to the types of sources essential to uncover and retrieve the names and activities that for one reason or another have been forgotten, ignored or kept away by and from historiography. Nonetheless, some progress has been made in overcoming this challenge. For instance, there is a considerable number of interdisciplinary studies published in recent years that explore the relationship between gender and science, making visible those subjects previously rendered invisible to history.

There are, however, other invisibilities in the history of science that remain neglected. These invisibilities include field and laboratory assistants and collectors, museum staff, journalists, writers, tourist guides, patrons, publishers of science (non scientists) and private institutions, together with scientific authors that remain obfuscated within or completely absent from bibliographic references and endnotes.

Rediscovering scientific actors (individual and collective; public and private), theories and projects, and understanding the reasons for their occultation, demand a permanent and innovative interdisciplinary and comparative research endeavor. This is why, using different kinds of primary and secondary sources; combining methods used by different social sciences, such as the history of science, and gender studies; applying actor network theory and social network analysis; and uniting apparent disunities, we will identify, reveal and contextualize names, theories, practices and projects belonging to different humans and natural sciences, between late 19th century until more recently.

Engaging comparative, cross-disciplinary and complementary examinations of the matter, this session will capture, for the first time, the state of the art of this fascinating, demanding and inspiring research field within the history of science, whilst making recent research results on this topic readily comprehensible to a wider public. We propose to establish a new – holistic and integrated – way of looking into the past: a new way of doing (in this case) history of science, so as to illuminate some of its persistent shadows.

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