HPS Colloquia 2014 - 2015

image of doorway with skeleton

The colloquium meets generally three times per quarter on Thursdays at 4:15
in the Lane History Building, Room 307, unless noted below.



Previously this year

  • Lina Bolzoni, Professor of Italian Literature at the Scuola Normale Superiore at Pisa, Italy

    Lina Bolzoni poster

    "Memory Palaces: The Renaissance and the Contemporary World"

    September 25th, 2014, 5pm

    at Stanford Humanities Center, Levinthal Hall

    Co-sponsored with History, French and Italian Department, CMEMS, Div Literature, Culture and Languages, The Stanford Humanities Center and the Department of Italian Studies at UC Berkeley


  • Rebecca Wilbanks, graduate student, presenting her current work to the History of Science workshop

    "Life as App Store": Synthetic Biology Between Mechanism and Vitalism

    5:30PM, October 15, 2014

    History Building 200 room 302


  • Sara Robertson, graduate student, presenting her current work to the History of Science workshop

    5:30PM, October 22, 2014

    History Building 200 room 217


  • Adrian Johns, University of Chicago

    "Living in the INFO age: historical reflections on the politics of information control"


    4:15pm, Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Lane History Building 200 Room 307


  • History of the Book Workshop

    organized by Hannah Marcus and Andrew Bricker. Speakers include:

    Janice Radway, Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communication Studies and Professor of American and Gender Studies at Northwestern University;
    Adrian Johns, Allan Grant Maclear Professor of History at the University of Chicago;
    Arvind Rajagopal, Professor of Media Studies at New York University;
    Daniela Bleichmar, Associate Professor of Art History and History at the University of Southern California;
    Jinah Kim, Assistant Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University;
    Stephanie Frampton, Assistant Professor of Literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
    and Brett Wilson, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Macalester College.

    Co-sponsored by Dept of Religious Studies, the Humanities Center, the Departments of History, Religious Studies, English, Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University Libraries, Classics, Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Communcation, and the Rare Book School at Mellon Foundation.

    October 24th, 9am-5pm
    Stanford Humanities Center, Levinthal Hall


  • Nick Rasmussen, UNSW, Australia

    public health obesity ad, circa 1950 Nov. 4th, 2014, noon

    "The First Obesity Epidemic and the Problems of Public Health in Early Cold War America"

    History Building 200, room 15.

    Lunch will be served, please RSVP to rrogers AT stanford . edu


  • Victoria Sweet, MD, University of California, San Francisco

    Victoria Sweet from her homepage



    noon - 1:30, November 5th, 2014
    CMEMS Workshop, see the workshop page at CMEMS

    and

    "Hildegard of Bingen: Medieval Lessons for Modern Medicine"

    as part of Medieval Matters Workshop at Stanford
    November 6th, 7:30pm
    History Building 200 room 002

    Both events are co-sponsored by CMEMS, the School of Continuing Studies, and the Sarum Seminar.


  • Brad Harris, History graduate student, presenting his current work to the History of Science workshop

    5:30PM, November 19, 2014

    History Building 200 room 202


  • Norton Wise Norton Wise, University of California, Los Angeles

    "Narrative Knowing"

    This fall we are pleased to offer a series of guest seminars by Norton Wise called Narrative Knowing. Graduate students may register for HIST 344 or PHIL 344 on a credit/no credit basis. The five week series will be held Tuesday and Thursdays, 5:15- 6:05pm between Oct. 27 - Dec. 5th. As the basis for discussion there will be one, or at most two, readings per meeting.

    The course description: Philosophers and historians have been debating the status of narrative explanation for well over 50 years. Until quite recently, a supposed dichotomy between natural science and history has shaped the discussion. Beginning from the origins, history, and limitations of the dichotomy, this seminar will explore how claims for narrative understanding and explanation have come to occupy an increasingly important role in the natural sciences as well as the social sciences. Some classic contributors are Hempel, Danto, Mink, Kuhn, White, Ricouer, Geertz, and Ginzburg. Current authors include Roth, Rheinberger, Kitcher, Beatty, Morgan, and (yes) Wise.


    In addition, we will have another Conversation with Norton Wise, Monday Dec. 1st at 5:30pm. History Building 200, room 307.


  • Maria Portuondo, Johns Hopkins University

    5:15pm, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    "Early Modern Spanish Natural Philosophy and the Threat of Empiricism"

    History Lounge, room 302.
    Co-sponsored by SIMILE


  • History of Science Workshop: Monday, January 26, 6:15 PM

    "Lions, Tigers, and Iguanas: Mapping the Natural World in Colonial Latin America," Mackenzie Cooley, PhD Candidate, Stanford Department of History


  • Charlotta Forss, University of Stockholm, Sweden

    "The Eye of History: Geographical Knowledge, the Continents and Perceptions of the World in Early Modern Sweden"

    noon, January 28, 2015
    Room 216 in Pigott Hall

    Co-sponsored with the CMEMS workshop


  • Gottfried Wilhelm LeibnizLeibniz and his World - Friday Feb. 6th, 2015

    History Building, room 307

    A workshop with Maria Rosa Antognazza (King's College London)
    Vincenzo De Risi (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
    Daniel Garber (Princeton University)
    Matthew L. Jones (Columbia University)

    Discussant: Justin E. H. Smith (Université Paris Diderot - Paris VII)
    and Michael Friedman, Jessica Riskin, and Paula Findlen (Stanford University)


    9:00 am: Welcome and introduction

    9:30 am: Daniel Garber (Princeton University): "Why Should We Read the Monadology? Rethinking the Leibnizian Canon"

    10:45am break

    11:15am: Vincenzo De Risi (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin): "Leibniz' Geometry of Space and the Localization of Monads."

    1:30pm: Matthew L. Jones (Columbia University): "Leibniz, Genealogy, Sovereignty"

    2:15 break

    2:45pm: Maria Rosa Antognazza (King's College London): "Philosophy and Science in Leibniz"

    Discussion with Justin E. H. Smith (University of Paris 7), Michael Friedman (Stanford University), Jessica Riskin (Stanford University) and Paula Findlen (Stanford University)

    All are welcome!



  • Amir Alexander, UCLA History Department

    Peter Paul Rubens' painting Miracles of St. Ignatius 1617

    "Truth, Hierarchy, and Order: The Mathematical Battle over the Shape of Modernity."

    Feb. 13th, 2015, noon

    with the History of Science Workshop

    location: History lounge, room 302.

    Please RSVP to shuneke @ stanford.edu for lunch


  • Mordechai Feingold, Caltech

    "'Those terrible men, the Wits': Science and Satire in Early Modern England"

    Feb. 19th, 2015, 4:15pm

    Co-sponsored by SIMILE

    location: History Building room 201


  • History of Science Workshop: Monday, February 23, 6:15 PM: "Mathematics Education under the Nazis," Samuel Clowes Huneke, PhD Student, Stanford Department of History

  • Brian Cantwell Smith, University of Toronto

    "The Mechanization of Semantics in Computer Science"

    abstract: The technical terminology of computer science betrays its logico-semantical heritage: *language*, *symbol*, *syntax*, *semantics*, *value*, *reference*, *identifier*, *data*, etc. The subject matter of computer science, however, is restricted to causal, mechanical phenomena (even if mathematically modeled): largely, the behavioural consequences of effective arrangements of physically-realized ingredients. The situation is sustained by a stunning theoretical development: for reasons traceable to Turing's 1936-7 paper, computer science has redefined all its "semantical" vocabulary to refer exclusively to causally effective phenomena and relations.

    Superficially, this might seem a win for naturalism. I will argue, however, that far from helping us naturalize semantics, it does the exact opposite, by "disappearing" what is genuinely semantic/intentional: reference's long-distance reach, truth's non-efficacy, intentionality's normative deference to the world, etc. Since the words have been redefined, moreover, it has become almost impossible to talk to computer scientists about genuinely semantical phenomena — among other things, in order to argue that they are constitutively important and worthy of study!

    Overall, the situation is hindering our ability to understand the nature of computing, and confounding the project of developing a "computational" theory of mind.

    Feb. 27th, 2015, noon

    location: Building 90 Room 92Q

    Please RSVP for lunch to Rosemary at rrogers at stanford.edu


  • History of Science Workshop: Monday, March 9, 6:15 PM: Stephan Risi, PhD Candidate, Stanford Department of History


  • Margaret O' Mara, University of Washington, Seattle

    March 12th, 2015, 4:15pm

    “Whatever happened to the Atari Democrats? The significance of Silicon Valley to modern American politics"

    History Bldg 200 Room 307

Previous Year's HPST Colloquia


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