HSS Highlights, Pt. 1 November 24, 2008Posted by Will Thomas in Uncategorized.
Tags: Alberto Martinez, Andrew Warwick, Cathryn Carson, Daniel Kennefick, David Cassidy, Kristian Camilleri, Melinda Bowles, Richard Staley, Scott Walker, Suman Seth, Werner Heisenberg
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I’ve been on two trips since Pittsburgh (Ann Arbor to visit friends and see the Northwestern Wildcats manufacture a sloppy, soggy victory over Michigan–go ‘Cats!–and Maine for an oral history interview). So, doing a recap of highlights of sessions I saw seems less like “hot news” than it might have been. In fact, it seems like ancient history. But I think a recap post is actually better with a slight time delay. One, I promised some folks I wasn’t a conference insta-blogger, and, two, it reduces the ephemerality of the conference experience to come back to it a couple weeks later.
First off, while I’ve sometimes characterized conference presentations here as working along a “colloquium-journal-edited volume” axis of disconnected scholarship, this is more a general criticism of the form. I think it’s OK to pick apart Isis articles from time to time, since it is the flagship journal of the history of science, after all. But picking apart conference talks seems unfair to the tentative nature of the conference talk form, so we won’t be doing that. I will, however, just briefly mention as a lowlight the weirdly rude non-reception given to the welcoming speech by Pitt’s provost. What was up with that?
On highlights, the first thing I want to throw out there is the co-location with the Philosophy of Science Association conference. I think it’s fair to say that for the past two or three decades, the history of science has been much more closely connected to the sociology of science than the philosophy of science, and I think it’s a good project to try and bring the philosophers back in.
I dropped in on some PSA sessions. At a glance, I like the way the philosophers talk and argue: their linguistic precision and the degree to which they engage with problematic issues in a constructive fashion (more…)