Knowing Global Environments: New Historical Perspectives on the Field Sciences

Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science, American Philosophical Society, Chemical Heritage Foundation, The Academy of Natural Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University

Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:45pm

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 10 - 12, 2007 A Conference in honor of Robert E. Kohler, Professor of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania Conference Program Rich studies of local place and practice, especially in such crucial field disciplines as ecology and geology, have already demonstrated the importance of the field site to historical understanding of expertise. Scholars are increasingly interested in the production and circulation of knowledge as it moves from the local to the regional, the nation, the empire and the globe. The integration of micro and macro scales of analysis promises to illuminate the relationship of the history of the field sciences to work on place and knowledge in related disciplines such as geography, sociology, anthropology, and science studies. This conference, therefore, featured papers from scholars who work on the history of the environmental and field sciences, covering a wide variety of subjects, such as archaeology, forestry, agriculture, exploration, mapping, oceanography, climatology, polar science, geology, and biology. The conference was organized so as to maximize opportunities for discussion, both formal and informal. Papers were pre-circulated; presentations were relatively brief; the schedule was relaxed and open; and wide-ranging panel discussions ended each day. The goal was to provide a stimulating and rich setting that will facilitate productive, creative interaction.