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Graduate Student Profile: Barbara Di Gennaro September 28, 2015

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 barbara_di_gennaroBarbara Di Gennaro, “Alpini’s Balsam: Natural Knowledge across the Eastern Mediterranean,” Session T5: Knowledge in Motion, Thursday, November 19 1:30 – 3:30 PM

Prospero and the balsam (the story I’m going to tell)

I’m interested in how botanical knowledge moved in the Eastern Mediterranean during the 16th century, thus the texts of Prospero Alpini, the first Italian physician to publish about Egyptian medicine and botanics, the first European to speak about the coffee plant, were a very reasonable place to begin. In Alpini’s botanical works I expected to find some early example of that kind of European botany that erased “cultural complexities” and  “objectified” specimens in order to include them in the European classificatory system.balsam

But cultural differences were not a barrier to Alpini; furthermore, he presented “true” knowledge on materia medica as the fruit of a common endeavour, as the result of cross-cultural interaction. De balsamo dialogus, published in Venice in 1591, is a conversation between a Christian, a Muslim, and a Jewish physician establishing where “true” balsam could be found. A sought-after medical plant charged with religious meanings, balsam was a symbol of cross-cultural Mediterranean relationships. Surprisingly, Alpini gave authority to Egyptian physicians and laypeople versus classical and contemporary botanical texts. I think that Alpini was answering not only the need of reliable knowledge on balsam but also proposing a political view of the Mediterranean as a place where people could peacefully discuss certain topics. There were, of course, other different views of the Middle Sea no less real. Alpini implicitly meant to reaffirm a set of well-established cultural, religious, and commercial practices between Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

Barbara and HSS

Last year was my first experience at an HSS meeting. I enjoyed every talk, met interesting scholars and students, and really appreciated the mentoring program. It was a great experience and very useful for understanding the field. This year I’m looking forward to going back and since the material in my talk is still new, I’m also eager to get feedback!


Barbara is a doctoral candidate in the History Department and in the History of Science and Medicine Program at Yale. Her academic interests include the history of medicine, science, and technology; early modern Italian social history; apothecaries, poisons, and antidotes, and the history of cross-cultural exchanges in the Mediterranean in early modern Europe.

In 2015, she was awarded the Jerry Stannard Memorial Award for the History of Pharmacy  for a paper on apothecaries in sixteenth-century Italy.  Her work has also been funded by the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale.

She holds a degree in Early Modern History from the University of Bologna. Her book-length thesis, Naples and the Turks in the Eighteenth Century, analyzed diplomatic sources from an ethnological perspective. Before coming to Yale, she worked as an editor for the two major educational publishers in Italy—Zanichelli and Mondadori Education—and helped publish some of the best-selling history textbooks in Italy. Feel free to write to her at barbara.digennaro@yale.edu.


Early Careerist Profile: Emily Redman September 21, 2015

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Redman photo

Emily Redman, Chairing Session T8: “Science Pedagogy and Education,” Thursday, November 19, 2015, 1:30-3:30pm

How did you end up chairing a panel? What drew you to this particular panel?

Well, good fortune, really. I actually was browsing the conference program following a call for volunteers to chair panels and noticed one of the chair-less panels was Science Pedagogy and Education. I immediately volunteered, perhaps even with a level of enthusiasm that was a bit overboard! But it really did seem like a perfect fit and I was excited to potentially be a part of what looked like a really fantastic panel. My own work is on pedagogy and education, and while I focus on mathematics, I am very interested in how the history of science education and math education compare, converge, and diverge—these questions, which I encountered what working in the archives at the AAAS, were actually what led me to work on math education in the first place. I’m also on the Board of the History and Pedagogy of Mathematics-Americas Section, where I have the pleasure of getting acquainted with new research in the history of teaching and learning. On a more personal level, I began my own career in science education on both sides of the desk—I graduated college with a degree in physics, and went on to teach physics and general science at a boarding high school in Pennsylvania before making the switch to being a historian. Basically, you could say that I’ve been interested in science pedagogy and education since middle school, when I gave up my study hall periods to dissect things in the science lab!

How does this panel’s subject fit with your current work/research?

Two of the presenters will be discussing mathematics education specifically, which I am really excited to see. Anja Sattelmacher of the Max Planck Institute will be looking at mathematical cartoons, which is something I coincidentally also work on, though in a different time period. Samuel Hunecke of Stanford will also be presenting on Nazi-era math education, a topic I am quite interested in as it relates to the intersection of nationalism and pedagogy. I’m also quite interested to learn more about Shawn Bullock’s work on public education in physics, both because of my own background in the field as well as my interest in public history of STEMM more generally. And finally, I am looking forward to further broadening the geographic, theoretical, and temporal bounds of the subject with Melanie Keene’s (Cambridge) and Erica Torrens’ (National University of Mexico) talks on the teaching of evolution in Mexico and performance and pedagogy in 19th century object lessons.

What do you think the benefits of serving on a panel are/will be?

Limitless! Seriously, though, I have never been disappointed with my experience on panels at HSS. This particular panel intersects with my own research in truly interesting ways, so I expect my own work to be challenged and enriched in important ways through the experience of joining the panel. I am also really looking forward to my role of bringing together the wonderfully wide-ranging topics that the presenters are bringing to the table. I think folks in the audience are in for a real treat as we will explore science pedagogy and education through so many diverse lenses. Of course, I always enjoy simply learning more about the new research in the field, which I will get a chance to do in this panel as well as all of others I will attend at the conference—the real trick will be narrowing down the talks I am able to attend!

What was your experience presenting last year?

Surprising! Our panel, which focused exclusively on the history of mathematics, was scheduled in the early morning slot on Sunday, the last day of the conference. This might come as somewhat of a surprise, but over the years I heave heard from a lot of historians—and yes, even historians of science—that math is not their cup of tea. I didn’t have high hopes for competing with the mass exodus to the airport, the draw of last-minute Chicago sightseeing, or even a few more precious minutes in bed at the end of a long conference. Much to my surprise it was a full house, and I—along with the other presenters—were fortunate enough to receive many helpful questions from the audience, as well as a tremendously thoughtful commentary from Massimo Mazzotti (UC Berkeley). I was pleased to be on a panel with Christopher Phillips (NYU), whom I presented with years ago at the HSS meeting in Montreal, and whose work on the New Math is really exciting. This panel also offered me the opportunity to be introduced to Theodora Dryer, a PhD candidate at UCLA, who is working on a really excellent project on Cold War-era algorithms. Amir Alexander (UCLA) also presented a fascinating talk on how geometrical “certainty” was a powerful tool employed historically by rulers and bureaucrats. It was a really fun panel full of new ideas, various historical and theoretical approaches, and even a good number of laughs.

What are you most looking forward to at HSS in San Francisco? What have you found most beneficial about other HSS annual meetings that you have attended?

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of the draw is the chance to visit my old stomping grounds in California, see old friends, and get a chance to enjoy a little Bay Area sunshine and produce as winter is beginning in Western Massachusetts. But in terms of the conference itself, there is a lot I am looking forward to. For starters, I’m eager to hear Paula Findlen speak. Her work, though of course on a quite different subject than my own, has always been fascinating to me. More generally, I always look forward to the chance to explore new areas in the history of science. It’s great to learn about the new developments in the field, and I find that often I’m inspired to incorporate new material into my classes. I’m also looking forward to catching up with colleagues in the field who have become friends. I think this is one of the most beneficial things about attending HSS meetings, in fact. So often, graduate students are encouraged to “network,” which can seem intimidating. Networking at HSS, however, has always in my experience been easy, comfortable, and rewarding. The atmosphere is relaxed (even if Q&A sessions can sometimes get heated!) and I’ve developed personal and professional relationships with a number of colleagues as a direct result of HSS meetings, and am consistently pleased with the friendly mentoring offered by eminent scholars and the nearly tangible enthusiasm from new scholars to the field. Since most of us are in departments or institutions with few fellow historians of science, it’s pretty spectacular to have a chance to talk shop with the ever-increasing number of people who come together for the meetings.

Biography: Emily is an Assistant Professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She went east to UMass in 2013 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focus is on 20th century U.S. history of science, though she teaches more broadly in the history of science. She is currently working on a book manuscript, The Math Mafia, which explores the social and political history of K-12 mathematics education reform in the United States.

HSS CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS! September 10, 2015

Posted by bdcollins in Uncategorized.
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Call for Volunteers
History of Science Society 2015 Annual Meeting
Westin St. Francis Hotel
San Francisco, California
19-22 November 2015

Volunteer and Receive a Complimentary Registration to Attend the 2015 History of Science Society Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

If you are interested in volunteering this year, please fill out the online application at:

Graduate students are invited to volunteer at the HSS Annual Meeting for 4.5 hours in exchange for their registration fee. There are a number of jobs for which we need assistance to ensure that the meeting runs smoothly.

Packet stuffing: 3-4 volunteers are needed the Wednesday evening before the conference (18 Nov) and the Thursday morning (19 Nov) to collate and stuff attendee packets. This is a behind-the-scenes job, which will not require interacting with attendees and comfortable attire is permitted.

Registration Desk: We need volunteers from 10:30 am Thursday to 11:30 am Sunday to welcome attendees, check them in, give them their registration materials, conduct on-site registration as needed, answer questions, and be the first line of assistance for any issues that may arise. While there will always be an HSS staff member on hand, this job requires volunteers to be helpful, polite, and presentable.

Collective Book Exhibit: 1 volunteer per shift will be needed to staff the HSS/PSA table in the exhibition hall from Friday morning at 11:30 am to Sunday morning at 11:00 am. This table will contain book titles from publishers who could not send a representative. As with the Registration Desk, these volunteers will need to be helpful, polite, and presentable.

Volunteers local to the San Francisco area are encouraged to think about volunteering for shifts either early or late in the conference. Since many out-of-town volunteers arrive only during the middle of the conference, the outlying shifts are harder to fill but these shifts offer the advantage of having fewer conflicts with the program. This is especially true of the Wednesday evening packet-stuffing session before the conference begins.

We would also like to spread local volunteers among the many shifts, so that someone with local knowledge will be on hand to answer questions about the community. Please let us know when applying if you can be helpful in this regard.

Regardless of the job you are assigned we hope that all volunteers will be flexible during their shift as needs arise and the unexpected happens.

Early volunteers will get first pick of shifts and jobs, but we ask everyone to be flexible so that everyone can be accommodated. It is essential that if you do commit to a shift that you arrive on time.

Although volunteering for 4.5 hours will earn graduate students their registration, you will still be responsible for paying for dinners, hotel, transportation, and all incidentals.

If you have any questions, or need an application in Word or PDF, please contact Matthew White at volunteer@hssonline.org.

Finally, publishers who attend the exhibit often look for students to staff their tables during lunches, author interviews, breaks, etc. The publishers pay and/or provide books for such service. If you are interested in doing this, please let me know. I will give publishers a list of interested volunteers and they will contact you. This arrangement is between the volunteer and the publisher, and is not counted as part of your volunteer obligation to the History of Science Society.

If you are interested in volunteering this year, please fill out the online application at:

For more information on the History of Science Society go to http://www.hssonline.org/.

See you in San Francisco.

Matthew White

Funding Opportunities September 9, 2015

Posted by bdcollins in fellowships, funding, grants, Post-doc Opportunity, post-docs.
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Some fellowship opportunities that may have skipped your attention, organized by deadline:

The American Academy in Berlin Fellowships

Specifics: Does not have to be researchers working German language, history or literature but should emphasis how resources in Berlin would aid the proposed research.
Deadline: September 30th
Website: http://www.americanacademy.de/home/fellows/

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships

Specifics: Emphasis on research that expands the possibilities of use for digital humanities. No particular fields noted.
Deadline: September 30th
Website: http://www.acls.org/grants/Default.aspx?id=508&linkidentifier=id&itemid=508

American Philosophical Society Franklin Fellowships

Specifics: Designed for an American researcher who requires travel to Edinburgh or London, to work in the British Academy, to complete a project that encompases the fields of philosophy and theory.
Deadline: October 1st OR December 1st (for the next application cycle)
Website: http://www.amphilsoc.org/grants/franklin

Cornell University Society for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship

Specifics: The research project proposed must fit within the annual focal theme. The theme for 2016-17 is “Skin.”, See the webpage for a more detailed description.
Deadline: October 1st
Website: http://www.arts.cornell.edu/sochum/society_fellowships.html

Columbia University’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities

Specifics: Priority given to researchers working on the intersection of the humanities and sciences, such as the history of science within literature.
Deadline: October 5th
Website: http://societyoffellows.columbia.edu/fellowship/

National Humanities Center Fellowships in North Carolina

Specifics: None
Deadline: October 15th
Website: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/fellowships/fellshipapinfo.htm

University of Pennsylvania Penn Humanities Forum, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities

Specifics: None
Deadline: October 15th
Website: http://www.phf.upenn.edu/fellowships/andrew-w-mellon-postdoctoral-fellowship-humanities

American Antiquarian Society Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship

Specifics: Accepts applicants from various fields with an emphasis on those would make good use of the Society’s specialized late 19th c. American holdings.
Deadline: October 15th
Website: http://www.americanantiquarian.org/fellowships.htm

The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies

Specifics: For women researchers engaging the fields of women and gender studies in innovative ways.
Deadline: October 15th
Website: http://woodrow.org/fellowships/womens-studies/

European University Institute Max Weber and Jean Monnet Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Social and Historical Sciences

Specifics: Good fit for projects that cover areas of political through and history within the humanities. Often have themes. See site for details.
Deadline: October 25th
Website: http://www.eui.eu/ProgrammesAndFellowships/Fellowships.aspx

University of Pennsylvania Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities

Specifics: Projects that require and utilize digital humanities resources.
Deadline: October 30th
Website: http://pricelab.sas.upenn.edu/fellowships/postdoctoral

University of Chicago Provost’s Career Enhancement Postdoctoral Scholarship

Specifics: None
Deadline: November 1st
Website: http://provostpostdoc.uchicago.edu/

American Academy in Rome, Rome Prize Fellowships

Specifics: Projects that fit one of the following fields: Literature, Musical Composition, Visual Arts, Ancient Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, Modern Italian Studies.
Deadline: November 1st
Website: http://www.aarome.org/apply

Shelley-Keats Association of America Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr., Research Grants

Specifics: For current dissertations or postdocs who are working in the field of British Romanticism.
Deadline: November 1st
Website: http://k-saa.org/awards/

UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Specifics: For people who identify as a woman, LGBTQ, and/or a minority who wish to work in the University of California system. Usually awarded to people working in the humanities. There are also fellowships through this same program that allows for people to work at the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Deadline: November 1st
Website: http://ppfp.ucop.edu/info/

School of Advanced Research, Resident Scholar Fellowships

Specifics: Work that engages the intersections of many fields, i.e. art, sociology, history, ect. Great for those working on early American literature.
Deadline: November 2nd
Website: http://sarweb.org/index.php?resident_scholars

Indiana University-Bloomington Center for Race & Ethnicity in Society Fellowship

Specific: Covers a wide range of fields, i.e. political science, anthropology, etc. Perfect fit for those interested in race relations. Good resources for 17th-19th c. studies as well.
Deadline: November 10th
Website: http://crres.indiana.edu/postdoc/

National Academy of Education Spencer Fellowship

Specifics: Offers many fellowships each year, and past winners seem to be those who have projects that push understandings/systems of knowledge, education, and the societal structures that govern each.
Deadline: November 5th
Website: http://www.naeducation.org/NAED_080200.htm

Huntington Library Short Term Fellowships

Specifics: Offers many fellowships for researchers who would make good use of the Huntington’s collections, with an emphasis on visual studies. They also offer specialized fellowships that allow researchers to study at the University of Oxford and have access to their holdings.
Deadline: November 15th
Website: http://www.huntington.org/WebAssets/Templates/content.aspx?id=566

American Association of University Women

Specifics: For women researchers who have projects that support the advancement and empowerment of women.
Deadline: November 15th

National Gallery of Art — Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Program

Specifics: Nine fellowships available for dissertations looking to complete a project focused on art history, photography, urbanism, and other related fields. Perfect fit for those interested in visual cultures.
Deadline: November 15th
Website: http://www.nga.gov/resources/casvapre.shtm

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities at Stanford University

Specifics: Applicants working in the field of English, Art History, Theatre & Performing Arts, & East Languages & Culture will be considered.
Deadline: November 15th
Website: http://shc.stanford.edu/andrew-w-mellon-fellowship-scholars-humanities

The George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowships at Brown University

Specifics: Awards for those working on a project in textual translation into English, film studies, and literary studies.
Deadline: November 15th
Website: http://www.brown.edu/initiatives/howard-foundation/

John Brown Library Fellowships–Short Term & Long Term

Specifics: Fellowships available for general research in the humanities, projects on women in early American, colonial history, ecocriticism, and anyone who can justify good use of the library’s holdings.
Deadline: December 1st

The Bibliographical Society of America (BSA) Short Term Fellowship

Specifics: For those interested in the history of the book, print culture, and the book as an object. Seems like a great fit for 19c. and Victorianist scholars. There are many specific scholarships for 18c. studies as well.
Deadline: December 1st
Website: http://bibsocamer.org/awards/fellowships/

Pembroke Center for Teaching & Research on Women at Brown U. Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Specifics: Emphasis on funding women and/or minority scholars. The proposed course of research must fit the annual theme, which for the 2016-17 year is “”Anti-War! Theaters of War/Politics of Refusal”.
Deadline: December 3rd
Website: http://www.brown.edu/research/pembroke-center/postdoctoral-fellowships

Newberry Library Short Term Fellowships

Specifics: Various fellowships for women of American Indian heritage, American 18th c. researchers, English history researchers, and general fellowships for researchers who would make good use of the Newberry’s distinct holdings.
Deadline: December 15th
Website: http://www.newberry.org/short-term-fellowships

The British Museum Michael Bromberg Fellowship

Specifics: A fellowship designed to use the museum’s unique collection of Western prints, ranging from the 15th c. to the present day.
Deadline: December 21st
Website: http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/departments/prints_and_drawings/facilities_and_services/fellowships_and_internships.aspx

New York Historical Society Fellowships

Specifics: Supports a wide variety of projects. Great fit for those studying early American and colonial history. The Society has also funded projects on British history and culture.
Deadline: January 5th, 2016
Website: http://www.nyhistory.org/library/fellowships

Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin Fellowships

Specifics: Offers a high number of fellowships for applicants who would make good use and benefit from the wide and unique collection available at the center.
Deadline: January 15th, 2016
Website: http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/research/fellowships//application/

Winterthur Research Fellowships

Specifics: For postdocs, or those finishing a dissertation on material culture, the Atlantic world, and late 19th c. to early 20th c. topics.
Deadline: January 15th, 2016
Website: http://winterthur.org/?p=537

MIT Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities

Specifics: Intended for postdocs who have interest in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities.
Deadline: January 15th, 2016
Website: http://shass.mit.edu/graduate/mellon_postdoctoral_fellowship

Boren Fellowship for International Study

Specifics: Intended for those who need to conduct research outside of the US and require study in less traveled countries.
Deadline: January 28th, 2016
Website: http://www.borenawards.org/boren_fellowship/basics.html

UCLA 17th & 18th Century Studies Fellowships

Specifics: Long and short term appointments available.
Deadline: February 1st, 2016
Website: http://www.1718.ucla.edu/research/postdoctoral/

Midwest Victorian Studies Prize

Specifics: A stipend for a graduate student completing a dissertation on an aspect of the Victorian Era.
Deadline: February 15th, 2016
Address: No address listed, contact arnsteinprize@midwestvictorian.org
Website: http://www.midwestvictorian.org/p/prizes.html

University of Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities Fellowship

Specifics: Many fellowships are available.
Deadline: April 30, 2016
Website: http://www.iash.ed.ac.uk/fellowships/fellowships-at-iash/postdoctoral-bursaries-2016-17/

Listings to check that update frequently: