Working Groups

The Consortium invites scholars to join our topical working groups for challenging and collegial discussion of interesting publications in their fields and of each others’ works-in-progress.

Each group meets monthly. All interested scholars are welcome to participate via online video conferencing.

To join a group:

  1. Log in, or create an account
  2. Click on a group below
  3. Click on the "Membership" tab and select "Request Group Membership"

Submit a discussion paper for one of the working groups.

Upcoming Meetings

Please set your timezone.

Monday, September 25, 2023 11:00 am EDT

João Joaquim (University of Cambridge), will present on his work ‘Insect viruses as biocontrol agents in mid-twentieth century Britain’, followed by a discussion.
Here is the abstract:

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 1:00 pm EDT

"The American Tractor Unit and Agricultural Reconstruction of Soviet Russia, 1921-23."
Maria Fedorova, Macalester College

Thursday, September 28, 2023 11:30 am EDT

We'll discuss the introduction and Chapter 4 from Michele Friedner. Sensory Futures: Deafness and Cochlear Implant Infrastructures in India. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2022.
The book is open access and available here:

Monday, October 2, 2023 11:30 am EDT

'Whither the Sub-Tropics? Medical Geography and Geographic Imaginaries of a Shifting Climate"
Elaine Lafay, Rutgers University

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 2:00 pm EDT

Museums with Debbie Douglas (MIT Museum) and Tony Perry (National Museum of American History)

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 12:00 pm EDT

Taylor Dysart joins us from the University of Pennsylvania to workshop a chapter from her dissertation, “The Psychedelic Century: The Amazonian Origins of Global Science and Medicine of Hallucinogens in the Long Twentieth Century" 

Thursday, October 5, 2023 11:00 am EDT

Nelson Jiajie Meng, "Beyond Cultural Translation: Syphilis Medical Advertisement in Shun Pao"

Thursday, October 5, 2023 2:00 pm EDT

Kristin Brig-Ortiz, "Hydrological Dissonances: Climate, Geography, and Port City Waters"

Friday, October 6, 2023 11:00 am EDT

Sarah Teasley, "Sticky Solutions: The Persistence of Animal Glues in Laboratories and Workshops in Twentieth-Century Japan," Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 53, no. 3 (June 2023): 278-307.
Tom H. Fisher, "What We Touch, Touches Us: Materials, Affects, and Affordances," Design Issues (2004) 20 (4): 20–31.

Friday, October 6, 2023 12:00 pm EDT

No meeting

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 9:00 am EDT

James McElvenny and Floris Solleveld, "Australian Languages and Cultures: Histories of Documentation" 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 9:30 am EDT

Henri Poincaré: Science and Hypothsis (1905, chp.  3 + a bit from chp. 4); Yemima Ben-Menahem: Poincaré and some of his critics (2001).
Guest: Yemima Ben-Menahem

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 6:30 pm EDT

Ryan Neftd, "Motivating a Scientific Modelling Continuum: The case of natural models in the Covid-19 pandemic" (2023, Philosophy of Science)

Thursday, October 12, 2023 10:00 am EDT

Ali Gholamifard (Lorestan University): Flagship Species of Lizards and Plants of Iran: A Measure for Indicating Biodiversity

Friday, October 13, 2023 11:00 am EDT

"'The Männel is a root, it should be called an Allraune': A Mandrake, Magic, and Money in Seventeenth-Century Saxony"
Tara Nummedal (Brown)
Response: Alisha Rankin (Tufts)

Friday, October 13, 2023 1:30 pm EDT
  • Chao Ren, “Global Circulation of Low-End Expertise: Knowledge, Hierarchy, and Labor Migration in a Burmese Oilfield”


Monday, October 16, 2023 10:30 am EDT

Ancient manuscript fragments of the Carakasaṃhitā and their text genealogical relevance
Dr. Gudrun Melzer (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Dr. Philipp Maas (University of Leipzig)

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 1:00 pm EDT

Aaron Mendon-Plasek, Yale Law School, "Creativity in an irrational world of inexhaustible meaning: early 1950s origins of machine learning as subjective decision-making, disunified science, and a remedy for what cannot be predicted."

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 2:00 pm EDT

Natalia Gándara Chacana, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Chile, "On whales and giant kelp: the construction of knowledge about the depths of the Southeastern Pacific during the Age of Revolutions"

Thursday, October 19, 2023 12:00 pm EDT

Reproducing History: Writing Histories of the Present 
This session will foreground contemporary discussions about the role of presentism in history and examine how present-day ideas and perspectives have and continue to inform how we think and write about reproductive health.
As prompts, we invite participants to read and reflect on the following essays:

Friday, October 20, 2023 12:00 pm EDT

Guest: Alessandra Santana Soares e Barros, Full Professor at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil.
Presentation: “Deficiência, diagnóstico de anomalias fetais e aborto: o caso da Síndrome de Down no Brasil”.
Previous works/Website: Lattes CV.
Reading: Soon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023 1:00 pm EDT

Claire Votava - Doctoral Candidate, UCLA - in conversation on radicalism in 20th century science.

Thursday, November 2, 2023 11:00 am EDT

Yingchen Kwok, "Can Protozoa Die? On Heredity and Reproductive Futurity in Late Nineteenth-Century German Biology"

Thursday, November 2, 2023 2:00 pm EDT

Taylor Desloge, "Sanitized Violence: The Strange Liberal Rebirth of Jim Crow and the Origins of an Urban Renewal Coalition, 1917-1929" 

Friday, November 3, 2023 12:00 pm EDT

John Sime (University of Pennsylvania), "The Illustration of Nature Recast: Jacob Green's Models of North American Trilobites"

Monday, November 6, 2023 11:30 am EST

Fraser Livingston, Introduction to "Losing Longleaf: Forestry and Conservation in the Southern Coastal Plain" and Chapter VII, "Frankenstein Forests: Federal Forestry and Longleaf Conservation in the Twentieth Century"

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 2:00 pm EST

Federal Government Opportunities with Angel Callahan (Naval Research Laboratory) and Adrianne Noe (federal museum director)

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 9:30 am EST

Ernst Mach, The Science of Mechanics (Appendix XX); Karim Thébault, On Mach on Time (2021)
Guest: Karim Thébault

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 6:30 pm EST

James Woodward, "Modelling Interventions in Multi-Level Causal Systems: Supervenience, Exclusion and Underdetermination" (2022, European Journal for Philosophy of Science)

Thursday, November 9, 2023 10:00 am EST

James Wachira (University of Nairobi): NarRating Plants in Kenyan Verbal Arts

Thursday, November 9, 2023 1:00 pm EST

Fabian Prieto-Nañez, VirginiaTech, TBA

Friday, November 10, 2023 11:00 am EST

"Marginal Recipes, Major Insights: Exploring the Manuscript Contexts of Early Medieval Medical Knowledge"
Claire Burridge (Sheffield)
Response: Debby Banham (Cambridge)

Friday, November 10, 2023 1:30 pm EST
  • Petra Dolata and Victor McFarland, “Oil Consultant Walter J. Levy”


Tuesday, November 14, 2023 9:00 am EST

Michael E. Lynch

Thursday, November 16, 2023 12:00 pm EST

Reproductive (In)Justice
Here, we will read a selection of works that grapple with reproductive politics and injustices and discuss how academic scholarship has, and can continue to be used to advance reproductive rights and social justice. 

Monday, November 20, 2023 10:30 am EST

A Contagion Theory in the Hārītasaṃhitā? The Chapter on upasarga
Dr. Vitus Angermeier (University of Vienna)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 1:00 pm EST

The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), the most prominent society in history of technology, recently held its annual meeting. Join us for a discussion of the meeting, the themes and papers, and behind the scenes insights. This is a great way to share opinions on what is happening in a fast-growing field, and to learn what went on if you were unable to attend. These Redux discussions are among our most popular .

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 2:00 pm EST

Nancy Ko, Columbia University

Friday, December 1, 2023 11:00 am EST

We are going to discuss the changing concept of resources in the early modern and modern period.
“Focus: Resources in the Early Modern World,” Isis 114, no. 3 (September 1, 2023): 599–645,
Peter B. Lavelle, The Profits of Nature: Colonial Development and the Quest for Resources in Nineteenth-Century China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020), Chapter 2.

Friday, December 1, 2023 12:00 pm EST

Diana Marsh and Katrina Fenlon (University of Maryland), "Linking Analog Archival Data Across Scientific Disciplines: What’s Next?"

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 2:00 pm EST

Oral History with David Caruso (Science History Institute) and Jannekan Smucker (West Chester University)

Thursday, December 7, 2023 11:00 am EST

Aisling Shalvey, "'I didn't think I could survive it... The bleeding was stopped completely': The role of women, gender and sexuality in biomedical experiments during National Socialism"

Thursday, December 7, 2023 2:00 pm EST

Sam Hege, “When Noxious Odors Prevail”: Dust, Race, and the Creation of an Agro-Industrial Complex in the Texas Panhandle

Friday, December 8, 2023 11:00 am EST

"Anatomy and the Early Académie Royale des Sciences"
Katherine Reinhart (Binghamton)
Response: tbc

Friday, December 8, 2023 1:30 pm EST
  • Wout Saelens, “Energy politics: urban fuel policy and the transition to coal in Ghent (eighteenth-nineteenth centuries).”


Tuesday, December 12, 2023 10:00 am EST

Gregory Radick, "Language, Darwinism and the Human/Non-Human Boundary"

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 12:00 pm EST

Emily Herrington, Touch Hunger: The story of hand transplants (Introduction)

Wednesday, December 13, 2023 6:30 pm EST

James Lowe and David Ingram, "DNA Barcoding and the Changing Ontological Commitments of Taxonomy" (2023, Biology and Philosophy)

Thursday, December 14, 2023 10:00 am EST

Elena Agudio (Villa Romana) and Marleen Boschen (Goldsmiths, University of London / Tate): Testing Grounds / Seeding Worlds: Intersections of Art and Ecology in the Garden of Villa Romana, Florence

Thursday, December 14, 2023 1:00 pm EST

Francisco Tijerina, Washington University in St. Louis, TBA

Monday, December 18, 2023 10:30 am EST

Incurability as ‘disability’ in classical Āyurveda: The case of vision disorders
Tulika Singh (University of Alberta)

Tuesday, December 19, 2023 7:00 am EST

We're partnering with the International Commission of the History of Oceanography to host a fun and informal reading group of portions of Jamie Jones's new book, Rendered Obsolete: Energy Culture and the Afterlife of US Whaling, with the intention of bringing together scholars of ocean history across Asia and beyond (thus the special time slot!) Readings from the book's introduction and first chapter will be posted in advance of the meeting.

Thursday, January 4, 2024 2:00 pm EST

No Meeting

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 10:00 am EST

Paul Michael Kurtz, "Knowledge Infrastructure ca. 1900: The Case of Assyriology at the British Museum" 

Thursday, January 11, 2024 10:00 am EST

Sumana Roy (Ashoka University): The Quest for the Plant Script

Thursday, January 11, 2024 1:00 pm EST

David Pretel, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, TBA

Friday, January 12, 2024 11:00 am EST

"Roundtable: The Malleable Body: Surgeons, Artisans and Amputees in Early Modern Germany (Manchester UP, 2023)"
Heidi Hausse (Auburn College)
Pamela O. Long (Independent)
Alisha Rankin (Tufts)
Paolo Savioa (Bologna)

Friday, January 12, 2024 1:30 pm EST
  • Julia Mead, “Frozen Assets: Czechoslovakia’s 1979 Blizzard and the Energetic Social Contract of Late Socialism”


Tuesday, January 16, 2024 2:00 pm EST

Anne Ricculli, Morris Museum

Thursday, January 18, 2024 12:00 pm EST

Taking ‘Patient’ Histories
This session will focus on how scholars can engage with ‘patient’ narratives  in both oral testimonies and archival records responsibly, in ways that avoid replicating medicalization and pathologization.

Monday, January 22, 2024 10:30 am EST


Thursday, February 1, 2024 2:00 pm EST

Short Writings Roundtable
If you have a shorter piece--an abstract, a research description, an op-ed, etc.--that you would like feedback on, this session is for you! Please send you short piece to Melanie or Jason by January 19 for posting.

Thursday, February 8, 2024 10:00 am EST

Semih Celik (University of Exeter): 'A Museum in the Cradle of Civilization': The Imperial Natural History Museum in Istanbul and its Aftermath (1836-1870)

Friday, February 9, 2024 11:00 am EST

"Translating New World Drugs in Late Renaissance Italy: The Case of Indies Balsam"
Sharon Strocchia (Emory)
Response: Mackenzie Cooley (Hamilton College)

Friday, February 9, 2024 1:30 pm EST
  • Chad Montrie, “‘What is Labour’s Stake?’: Workers and the History of Environmentalism in Alberta.”


Tuesday, February 13, 2024 9:00 am EST

Kristine Palmieri, "Grand Visions of Alterthumswissenschaft: Classical Philology as Language Science in early Nineteenth-Century Germany"

Thursday, February 15, 2024 12:00 pm EST

Oral Histories
This meeting will reckon with the value and challenges of using oral history as a source in humanities and social science research on reproduction.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024 2:00 pm EST

Kimia Shahi, University of Southern California

Monday, February 26, 2024 10:30 am EST

The yogi who became a Muslim: Indian Alchemy and Pseudograph Sufi Writings in South Asia
Dr. Fabrizio Speziale (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris-Marseille)

Thursday, March 7, 2024 2:00 pm EST

Evan Roberts, "Young but daily growing? The decline of stunting and growth faltering in the United States, 1857-2014" 

Friday, March 8, 2024 11:00 am EST

"Ghosts in Wellcome's Medieval Galleries"
Lauren Rozenberg (UEA/Leverhulme)
Response: tbc


Friday, March 8, 2024 1:30 pm EST
  • Minseok Jang, Testing a New Energy Resource: Fire Tests and the Risk of Kerosene in the Anglo-American World, 1859-1911


Thursday, March 14, 2024 1:00 pm EDT

Vanessa Freije, University of Washington, TBA
Daniel Reboucas, Federal University of Bahia

Monday, March 18, 2024 10:30 am EDT

Dr. Anna Elizabeth Winterbottom (McGill University)

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 2:00 pm EDT

Elexis Trinity Williams Gray, Cornell University

Thursday, March 21, 2024 12:00 pm EDT

Reproductive Technologies
This session will examine the history and future trends of researching and writing about reproductive technologies.

Thursday, April 4, 2024 11:00 am EDT

Diana Anselmo, "To Love so Much it Hurts: 'Bad Feelings,' Medicine, and Movie-Mad Female Audiences in the 1910s"

Thursday, April 11, 2024 10:00 am EDT

Chanelle Adams (University of Lausanne): Volatile Oils: 'Wellness', Political Power, and the Market for Ravintsara Essential Oil in Madagascar

Thursday, April 11, 2024 1:00 pm EDT

Julie Gibbings, University of Edinburgh, "Viewing Genocide's Aftermaths from Above: Aerial Photography and the Rio Chixoy Dam in Guatemala"

Friday, April 12, 2024 11:00 am EDT

"Discussion: Objects, Images, and Spaces of Health...  for Broad Publics"
Mary Fissell (Johns Hopkins)
Jack Hartnell (UEA)

Friday, April 12, 2024 1:30 pm EDT
  • Andrew Kettler, “Disenchanting the Senses: Sulfuric Discourse and the World System”


Monday, April 15, 2024 10:30 am EDT


Tuesday, April 16, 2024 2:00 pm EDT

Alessandra Passariello, Naples Zoological Station

Thursday, April 18, 2024 12:00 pm EDT

Gender, Masculinity and Reproduction
Here, we will explore how gender and masculinity shapes how we think about human reproductive experiences and the histories we write about them.

Thursday, May 2, 2024 2:00 pm EDT

Slava Savova, "Re-Ottomanizing modernity: domesticating balneology in early to mid-20th century Bulgaria"

This dissertation chapter examines the local intermingling of a specific type of sociomedical architectures – Ottoman and European thermal baths - and the persistent vernacular uses that bind them together.

Thursday, May 9, 2024 10:00 am EDT

Neda Saeedi (Tehran / Berlin): "Swear by the Fig, Swear by the Olive"
"Swear by the Fig, Swear by the Olive" explores urban and territorial landscapes and their flora, used to justify land ownership and deprivation in conflict zones.

Thursday, May 9, 2024 1:00 pm EDT

Yohad Zacarías, University of Texas at Austin, TBA

Friday, May 10, 2024 1:30 pm EDT
  • Odinn Melsted and Candida Sánchez-Burmester, “Geoscience Spillover: The Oil Industry and Geothermal Development in Greater California, 1960s-1970s”
  • Dante LaRiccia, “Kurt Waldheim, the United Nations, and the Campaign for a ‘World Energy Order’


Tuesday, May 14, 2024 9:00 am EDT

Chen-Pang Yeang, "Information, Cryptography, and Noise" 

Thursday, May 16, 2024 12:00 pm EDT

Reproducing History: Writing Histories of the Personal
This session will focus on how historians have used their own healthcare experiences to complement and inform their research and advocacy work.

Monday, May 20, 2024 10:30 am EDT

Are the Elements and the Pañcabhūta the Same (Thing)? Epistemic Objects between
Science, Religion, and Philosophy in Colonial North India, c.1920

Dr. Charu Singh (University of Cambridge)

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 2:00 pm EDT

Jonathan Galka, Harvard University, “'The offer which the ocean has given us': The Law of the Sea, the New International Economic Order, and the Promises of Manganese Nodules in the Global 1970s"

Thursday, June 13, 2024 10:00 am EDT

Sahar Bazzaz (College of the Holy Cross): Plants of the Red Sea Littoral: PE Botta's Expedition to Yemen, 1836

Friday, June 14, 2024 1:30 pm EDT
  • Joya John, Energy Histories, Museums, and Postcolonial Development in India


Thursday, July 11, 2024 10:00 am EDT

Maxmillian J Chuhila (University of Dar es Salaam): Green Imperialism and Biomedical Campaigns in Colonial Tanganyika

Thursday, September 12, 2024 10:00 am EDT

Guillermo Pupo Pernet (University of Arkansas): Achiote: Painting the Town Red