Science, Capitalism, and Knowledge Commodities

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Upcoming Meetings

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • February 22, 2022

    Taylor Moore, Academy Scholar, The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, will share a chapter that "reconstructs the rich constellation of occult workers, occult objects, and their customers in late 19th and early 20th century Egypt. It uses Arabic sources and archival materials from ethnographic amulet collections to highlight the political and spiritual economy of women magico-medical practitioners at the center of this robust economy."
    You can find her website at:
    22 Febuary 2022, 2pm - 3:30pm EST

  • January 25, 2022

    Erika Milam, Charles C. and Emily R. Gillispie Professor in the History of Science at Princeton University, will share a work in progress titled "Making Place in the Field: Science, Capitalism, and Knowledge" that looks at long-term research projects in animal behavior during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. You can find the abstract below and the paper attached.
    Abstract: By conceptualizing place-making as a dynamic process, this essay explores the history of two field sites that house long-term research projects in animal behavior: the Amboseli Baboon Project, cofounded by Jeanne Altmann in 1971, and Kay Holekamp’s Mara Hyena Project, which began in 1988. It highlights scientific place-making as crucial to the production of knowledge within behavioral ecology and invests our historical understanding of field sites with an appreciation for the intellectual processes that have transformed land into places for the generation of scientific data.

  • November 23, 2021

    The Science, Capitalism, and Knowledge Commodities reading group will meet next Tuesday, 23 November from 2 to 3:30 PM Eastern.
    Gustave Lester, PhD. Candidate, Harvard University and Beckman Dissertation Fellow at the Science History Institute will present a draft of his dissertation chapter: "Mineral Resources and Economic Nationalism in the Early Republic, 1780-1815."
    The Zoom link will be available on the reading group webpage. We look forward to an exciting and productive discussion!

  • October 26, 2021

    Evan Hepler-Smith, Duke University, "Handbook chemistry" from his ms. Compound Words: Chemical Information and the Molecular World, on the 19th century emergence of the chemical handbook and the chemical abstract journal.

  • September 28, 2021

    Liat Spiro, College of the Holy Cross, "Patentability and Experience: Work, Class, and Risk in the Political Economy of Intellectual Property in Imperial Germany," on patenting as a domain of social politics and workplace political economy in Imperial Germany.

Group Conveners

  • eunjooahn's picture

    Eun-Joo Ahn

    Eun-Joo Ahn is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at University of California Santa Barbara. She researches on how astronomers in Southern California interacted with their physical and socio-economic environment at the turn of the twentieth century. Previously, she received her PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Chicago.


  • joshnickmc's picture

    Joshua McGuffie

    Joshua McGuffie is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of History at UC Los Angeles. He researches the doctors and biologists of the Manhattan Projects’s Medical Section. In this project, he focuses especially on the values and practices they developed to count and quantify radiation and its biological effects. His project analyzes how techniques and judgments worked out in the field unfolded socially, politically, and environmentally.For his MA at Oregon State University, he studied ecologists at Hanford. This research has taken him to nuclear installations across the western United States. He was once questioned by sheriff's deputies who were concerned that he had trespassed while taking photographs on the edge of the Nevada Test Site.


  • leevinsel's picture

    Lee Vinsel

    Lee Vinsel studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019. Since 2015, with his collaborator Andy Russell, Vinsel has organized and led The Maintainers, a global interdisciplinary research network that examines maintenance, repair, and mundane work with technology. Vinsel’s work has been published in several major history journals and has appeared in or been covered by Aeon, the New York Times, The Atlantic, Guardian, Le Monde, and other popular outlets.



  • Claire Votava


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