CFP: From above: On a scientifically privileged postion, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 12-13 January 2017

Workshop invitation

From above: on a scientifically privileged position

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Linnésalen, 12-13 January 2017

The dream of an ”Apollo’s eye” in viewing the earth goes back to antiquity, but in the modern period technologies have enabled a production of scientific knowledge literally from above, e.g. from mountain tops, balloons and satellites. Seeing the world in overview is a modern capability shaping symbols and narratives of the earth and global contexts. Our sense of the global has a deep historicity, affecting what we can think, feel and say about planetary scales.

The aim of this workshop is to explore the modern history of scientific technologies, cultural practices and aesthetic conventions that produced extra-ordinary views from above. The workshop focuses on the period 1750-2000 and investigates what a history of observations from an elevated position looks like. Instruments, at times intertwined with the vessels which carry them, have a history which give them meaning far beyond the task of measurement. Positions involving overview have been considered privileged. Accordingly, the workshop also aims at exploring imagery as well as cultural narratives of overview relating the highs and the skies to power, indeed to ideas about freedom, paradise, afterlife and the eternal.

The meeting is organised as part of the research programme ”Science and Modernization in Sweden: An Institutional Approach to Historicizing the Knowledge Society”, hosted by the Center for the History of Science at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is also the venue for the meeting.The theme ties into ongoing research in the programme and at Stockholm University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and University of Gothenburg.

We invite abstracts of 1-2 pages and a short cv, deadline 10 June 2016. Notice of acceptance will be given no later than 24 June 2016. The workshop will not have precirculated papers however we envision a tight and thematic schedule with engaged comments and discussions. Depending on the interest and outcome of the accepted papers we will consider moving forward with a future publication on the topic. We will cover travel and two nights of accommodation for presenters. Questions and submissions should be directed to:

Nina Wormbs, Associate professor, History of Science and Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology,

Staffan Bergwik, Associate professor, History of Ideas, Stockholm University

Björn Billing, Senior lecturer, History of Ideas, Gothenburg University

CFP: Abortion in the Nordic Countries: New Historical Perspectives, Approaches and Issues, Uppsala, October 27-28, 2015

[via Solveig Jülich]

A wealth of international historical literature has shed light on legal, religious, political and medical aspects of abortion and how it was experienced by women who had abortions, their doctors and lay abortionists. We have many national histories about abortion, often emphasising substantial differences and variations between countries. There is however still a tendency to treat the Nordic countries as a separate or exceptional group. According to a recent book by the political scientist Dorothy E. McBride, Sweden took the lead and the others closely followed the “Nordic pattern” by beginning to decriminalise abortion as early as the 1930s, and she also stresses the active role played by women’s rights groups in pushing governments to further liberalisation in the 1960s (McBride 2008). McBride sees the Nordic countries as characterised by the support of the majority of citizens for current abortion laws and the importance widely attributed to sex education and family planning as important means of preventing the need for abortions. Yet there are many aspects of abortion history that the notion of a “Nordic pattern” works to conceal, for instance, that the right to abortion was more limited in Norway and Finland than in Sweden and Denmark.

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together historians from different fields to discuss current research on national and transnational aspects of the history of abortion in the Nordic countries during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and its global implications. It will comprise of an invited talk, paper presentations and a concluding general discussion.

Confirmed invited lecturer and discussant is Leslie Reagan, professor of history and women’s studies at the University of Illinois, United States. She is author of a number of books and articles on abortion history, including When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867–1973 (1997), and Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America (2010).

We especially welcome research relating to topics such as:

• Abortion law and its effects

• Abortion opposition and anti-abortion movements

• Abortion and religion

• The visual culture of abortion rights

• The emergence of abortion as a feminist issue

• Political cross-border collaboration on abortion

• The medicalisation of abortion

• Uses of aborted embryos and foetuses in medical research and education

• Eugenics, abortion and the welfare state

• The historiography and politics of abortion history

Abstracts for papers of 200-300 words should be submitted no later than August 31, 2015 to David Thorsén, Please provide your full name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. The format of the workshop will not allow for more than c. 10 papers. We will select the abstracts to be presented at the meeting considering original research and relevance to the theme of the workshop as well as an attention to achieving a representative mix of researchers from the Nordic countries. By September 7, 2015 applicants will be notified if their papers have been accepted or not.

The workshop will be two full days, i.e. morning to late afternoon October 27–28, 2015.

The workshop, including lunches, conference dinner and accommodation (two nights at the conference hotel) is free of charge. It will be possible to obtain limited economic support for travel expenses. Please indicate in the application if such support is required for attendance and what level of support is needed.

There are a few places available for additional participants. The deadline for such applications is also August 31, 2015. For those interested, please indicate your reasons for wanting to take part in the conference. No economic support will be given to attendees who do not present papers.

The conference language is English.

Selected papers from the workshop will be considered for publication.

This workshop is the first workshop in the research programme “Medicine at the Borders of Life: Foetal Research and the Emergence of Ethical Controversy”, funded by the Swedish Research Council. It is organised by Uppsala University in collaboration with Södertörn University.


Solveig Jülich (Uppsala University) and Lena Lennerhed (Södertörn University)

CFP: Disaster, Environment and Property: Historical Approaches, 19th-20th Centuries, Paris, 2-3 December 2015

[via Anna Åberg]

Organisers: Marc Elie, Fabien Locher

Supported by ANR project GOVENPRO

Property systems are essential operators in the anthropization of environments. The transformations they cause or enable often contribute to increasing societies’ exposure to natural hazards. Conversely, historical research shows that some forms of ownership and inheritance law can help to avoid the occurrence of disastrous events, such as avalanches in mountainous areas. Central and local authorities have also long sought to constrain property rights in order to prevent the occurrence of disasters and alleviate their effects, for example by compulsory purchase or the restriction of individual property rights.

Taking a historic perspective focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries, the conference will explore the interactions between property systems, resources and environments, and the particular class of socio-ecological processes that is disasters. The concept here is understood broadly to include “natural”, “industrial”, “demographic” and “ecological” disasters. Property systems are taken as the whole range (individual property, public ownership, common property and commons, servitudes, intellectual property) with particular stress on the actual practices (technical, legal, scientific, enforcement, etc.) that underpin their existence and combine to make them operate as historical institutions.

Disasters, in their short- and long-term effects, reshape the operating conditions for private and public actors, enabling them to affect the distribution of property and its workings, i.e. its rules of acquisition and transmission and the rights it entails.

A disaster is an occasion for the transformation of property in ways that may have many purposes and motivations: economic, political, ideological. It is also likely, by design or chance, to produce, at a relatively small scale of space and time, an “emergency situation” for property as ordinary rules are relaxed or relief must be provided. Disasters are also a motive for action, often as part of public policy, affecting property rights in order to prevent a catastrophe in advance, or mitigate or repair its effects afterwards. These three aspects (opportunity, emergency, management) interact and overlap to produce a complex set of processes of historical co-construction of property and disasters that the conference will address.

Issues addressed will include, but are not limited to,

1/ The disaster as a “state of emergency” for property: relaxation of regulating mechanisms, requisitions, “return to order” of ordinary property;

2/ The disaster as an opportunity to appropriate environments and resources, for private actors (private enclosure, speculative sale and purchase, concentration of ownership) via, in particular, market mechanisms, public action, violence or the threat of violence;

3/ The place of property in disaster prevention policies and preparation for disasters: servitudes, zoning, planning rules, expropriation, compulsory or voluntary purchase;

4/ Property and post-disaster repair and reconstruction programmes;

5/ Property, vulnerability and resilience: relationships between property distribution and regulation, and unequal exposure and response; disaster, property and poverty;

6/ Disaster, property, insurance: insurance mechanisms, assessment of damage and size of disaster; role of insurance in policies of prevention, preparation and reconstruction; insurance and permanence of property rights in emergencies;

7/ Disasters in the long history of theoretical discourse on environment/property relations: claims that some forms of property are linked to the occurrence of acute ecological crises, such as the so-called “tragedy of the commons”, criticisms of private property; discourse on the decline, fall and collapse of societies, seen in terms of the environment and property.

The conference will be held on 2-3 December 2015 at EHESS, 190-198 Avenue de France, 75013 Paris. Working languages will be English and French.

Proposed papers (in French or English) should be submitted by email to by 15 May 2015 at the latest.

Each proposal must include the first and last names and email address of the speaker; a CV of no more than one page; a title and proposal text of no more than 600 words. The selected speakers will have their travel and accommodation expenses paid. Responses to the proposals will be sent out by 15 July 2015. Background texts to the papers will be requested by 1 November 2015 so as to be circulated among speakers in advance of the conference.

CFP: The Origin of Life, Second Conference on History and Philosophy of Astrobiology, Höör, Sweden, 8-10 May 2015

[via David Dunér]

Aim of the meeting

It will deal with the transition of non-living to living matter, how chemical processes evolve into biological ones and the onset of biological evolution as well as the tree of life. Scientists and students from humanities and natural sciences will convene to discuss these questions that engaged mankind since centuries.

The conference is co-organised by the Nordic Network of Astrobiology and the EU COST Action ”Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth and in the Universe”. It will also constitute the fourth annual meeting of the Nordic Network of Astrobiology. The conference will be organised by David Dunér (Lund University, Sweden), Wolf Geppert (Stockholm University, Sweden) and Christophe Malaterre (UQAM, Canada).


The conference will take place at Åkersberg Herrgård in Höör, Skåne (Scania) in Southern Sweden. The venue is only a 400m walk from Höör railway station. From Höör station there are direct connections to Copenhagen Airport every hour during daytime and the journey takes only 50 minutes. The event will start on Friday, May 8 in the morning (arrival of participants will be on Thursday, May 7 in the evening) and finish on Sunday, May 10 lunchtime. There will be an optional excursion on Saturday 9th to the beautiful island of Ven, where Tycho Brahe had his observatory. Furthermore, the meeting is held after the summer course Life on Earth and Beyond: The History and Philosophy of the Origin of Life, on Ven Island. This course will be an excellent introduction into the conference. Furthermore, attendees will be able to go on an excursion to Stevns Klint (where the C-T boundary is clearly visible) on the day between the two events.

Scope of the meeting

The meeting is open to interested scientists and students with background in natural, social and political sciences as well as those engaged in humanities from all over the world. However, invitations for visa applications can only be issued to invited speakers and invited poster presenters.

We from the COST Action ”Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth and in the Universe” and the Nordic Network of Astrobiology are looking forward to welcoming you at the conference.

Registration deadline

Deadline for registration, accommodation booking and abstract submission:

31 March 2015

Further information visit the conference website here.

CFP: 6th Norwegian conference on the history of science, Oslo, 11-13 February 2015


We are pleased to invite proposals for the 6th Norwegian conference on the History of Science, which will take place in Oslo, Norway, 11-13 February 2015, and is organized by the Norwegian Museum for Science and Technology. The conference will bring together scholars working on the history of science, medicine and technology on any theme, topic or period to discuss historical, epistemological, political, institutional and ethical issues of relevance to both a Scandinavian and international audience. Building upon the success of the previous meetings, which encouraged national cooperation and the strengthening of ties with the broader international community, we welcome proposals from researchers of all nationalities at all stages of their careers.

Proposals for organized sessions, alternative types of sessions, such as round-tables, and individual papers are especially welcomed. Presentations will be scheduled for 20 minutes, allowing for up to 10 minutes for discussion. No speaker may present in more than one session. Abstracts will be reviewed by the Programme Committee on the basis of their scientific merit and relevance.

Planned session proposals should include:
•         a brief description of the panel’s aims (150 words maximum),
•         a session title,
•         an individual abstract for each paper in the session (250 words maximum),
•         titles for all individual abstracts,
•         full contact details of the organiser and all speakers,
•         details of any specific audiovisual equipment required.

Individual paper proposal should include:
•         a paper title,
•         an abstract (250 words maximum),
•         5 keywords,
•         full contact details,
•         details of any specific audiovisual equipment required.

All proposals should be sent as a single electronic document The conference language will be English. The deadline for submissions is 14 November 2014.

For conference news and announcements, please regularly check the conference website.

For any queries regarding the conference, please contact:


On behalf of the Local Organising Committee,

Jon Røyne Kyllingstad and Ageliki Lefkaditou

Call for Papers: British Society for the History of Science Annual Conference, 3–6 July 2014, University of St Andrews

[via BSHS]

The BSHS Annual Conference will take place from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 July 2014 at the University of St Andrews.

The Programme Committee now invites proposals for individual papers and for sessions from historians of science, technology and medicine, and from their colleagues in the wider scholarly community, on any theme, topic or period. Proposals are welcomed from researchers of all nationalities at all stages of their careers. Participation is in no way limited to members of the Society, although members will receive a discount on the registration fee. Offers of papers and sessions should be directed to, which is the address for all enquiries about the programme (see below for enquiries about local arrangements).

Proposals for individual papers should include an abstract of no more than 250 words, be comprehensible to a non-specialist audience, and avoid footnotes. Sessions, of either ninety minutes or two hours, should normally consist of three or four papers; they may also have a commentator. Proposals for alternative types of session, such as ‘round-tables’, are strongly encouraged. Please discuss your ideas for such alternative sessions well in advance of the submission deadline.

The deadline for proposals is 10 February 2014.

Further details on how to submit individual abstracts and session proposals is available on the BSHS website

Call for papers: ”Embattled Heavens: The Militarization of Space in Science, Fiction, and Politics”, Berlin 10-12 April 2014

[via FUB]

For much of the twentieth century, outer space has been envisioned as not only a site of heavenly utopias, but also the ultimate battlefield. Science fact and science fiction celebrated visions of progress and renewal. Astrofuturists imagined a future in which the wonders of space exploration would unite humankind and eliminate violent conflict worldwide. Nonetheless, many of the projects and preoccupations central to Western space thought, such as the efforts to establish a military base on the moon, are testaments to the darker and more violent side of astroculture. Defense interests have historically been driving factors in the development of space technologies. Military and civilian aspects have, however, often been dealt with separately in debates about humanity’s widely anticipated future in the stars.

Concentrating on weapons, warfare, and violence, this conference examines the military dimensions of astroculture in the period between 1942 and 1990. While space history tends to distinguish between military and civilian aspects, this conference examines the ways in which both have been linked in the legitimization and popularization of spaceflight. By highlighting the militarization of extraterrestrial frontiers and conquest in politics and popular culture alike, ‘Embattled Heavens’ addresses the complex processes that oscillate between peaceful and aggressive characteristics of human endeavors in outer space. It aims to decentralize a historiography that often focuses on the two space superpowers, the US and the USSR. While the Space Age is usually associated with the Cold War, this conference complicates established narratives by integrating Western European and global perspectives. Examining astropolitics, technoscientific practices, and science fiction, our goal is to reconceptualize the history of outer space with a view toward its military dimensions.

The conference will be structured around the following five core themes: (1) Rockets and domination looks at military spaceflight and its political applications from the V-2 rocket to satellite surveillance, problematizing the ‘dual use’ character of space technology. (2) Human spaceflight and heroic utopias explores the interplay of romantic images and technoscientific narratives in legitimizing the development and use of space technology. (3) Space machines emphasizes the collaborative role of both technology and human actors in developing ever-new capabilities of space assets and envisioning the possibilities for space-based wars. (4) Bodies in space focuses on agency and experience in relation to aspects of physical power and violent practices and the constant preoccupation with the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. (5) Envisioning sites of war examines the importance of visions articulated in science fiction and their influence on politics, from Wernher von Braun’s space station scheme to Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program, stressing the tensions between depictions of the heavens as a utopian site eliminating all future wars, and as a battlefield of cosmic dimensions.

Our approach is interdisciplinary, and we welcome proposals for papers from scholars of all fields, including history, political science, science and technology studies, and cultural studies.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words together with a short CV (up to two pages) before 1 December 2013 to Daniel Brandau and Tilmann Siebeneichner at All lodging and meals during the conference will be covered. A limited number of grants will be given to contributors to cover their travel expenses.

Click here to download the Call for Papers as PDF.


“The Future in the Stars: European Astroculture and Extraterrestrial Life in the Twentieth Century”

Emmy Noether Research Group
Freie Universität Berlin
Koserstrasse 20
D-14195 Berlin

Conference Venue

Freie Universität Berlin
Henry Ford Building

Garystrasse 35
14195 Berlin