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Previous HPST Colloquia

Colloquia 2003-04

  • Robert Proctor, Walter L. and Helen Ferree Professor of History of Science and Co-Director, Science, Medicine and Technology, Pennsylvania State University

    "The Acheulean Enigma: How Paleolithic "Handaxes" Became Puzzling"

    4:15pm, September 24, 2003
    Lane History Building Room 205, Stanford University

  • Workshop on the History of Artificial Life, Oct. 4-5, 2003

  • John Pickstone, Wellcome Unit, and Centre for the History of Science, Technology & Medicine, University of Manchester

    "Ways of Knowing: Reconfiguring the Relations of Science, Art and Museums"

    3:05 pm, November 5, 2003
    Lane History Building 200, Room 105, Stanford University

  • Nick Rasmussen, professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

    "Amphetamine: Inventing the 'Antidepressant', 1929-1949"

    4:15 pm, January 15, 2004
    Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

  • Karine Chemla, L'équipe REHSEIS (Recherches Epistémologiques et Historiques sur les Sciences Exactes et les Institutions scientifiques)

    "What is a problem in ancient Chinese mathematical texts?"

    noon, February 13, 2004

    ++ Lunch will be provided ++
    Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

  • Katharine Park, Samuel Zemurray, Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of the History of Science and of Women's Studies, Harvard University

    "Holy Autopsies: Reading the Female Body in Renaissance Italy."

    noon, February 20, 2004

    ++ Lunch will be provided ++
    Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room,
    Stanford University

  • Bill Newman, Indiana University

    "Theology in the Laboratory? New Light on Isaac Newton's Alchemy."

    noon, May 5th, 2004

    ++ Lunch will be provided ++
    Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

  • Jed Buchwald, California Institute of Technology

    "Hieroglyphs, astronomy and religion in Napoleonic and Restoration France, or The Dendera Affair"

    In 1802 Vivant Denon published a drawing of an Egyptian ceiling from the temple of Dendera, far up the Nile. Done during the Napoleonic expedition, Denon's drawing of what appeared to be a zodiac caused an immediate uproar in Paris, as arguments flew back and forth over its age. Some asserted its immense antiquity, others, particularly after the Concordat with the Catholic Church, bitterly insisted on Biblical authority. Press censorship under Napoleon's chief of police, Fouche, soon dampened discussion. Then, in 1822, the Dendera zodiac, sawn and exploded out of its original location by a French archaeological vandal, appeared in Restoration Paris, reigniting antagonisms during a period of intense religious, ideological and political controversy. The "Dendera Affair" opens a window onto many aspects of Empire and Restoration scientific and intellectual culture, most notably the issue of who could speak with authority about antiquity: 'physiciens' like Fourier and Biot, who differed angrily with one another, but for whom the Dendera zodiac was nevertheless an image of the Egpytian sky untouched by human imagination, or philologists and linguists, such as the young Champollion, who saw the zodiac as a literary creation embedded deeply within Egyptian culture.

    4:15 pm, May 20, 2004
    Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    Colloquia 2002-2003

    • Bits of Culture: New Projects Linking the Preservation and Study of Interactive Media, Tim Lenoir and Henry Lowood, organizers
      October 7, 2002

    • SLS Annual Meeting, Pasadena, CA
      October 10-13th, 2002

    • Nicholas King, Dept. of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

      "Information is Good (and Bad) for Your Health: Utopias of Surveillance in Modern American Public Health"

      4:15 pm, October 17, 2002
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • Londa Schiebinger, the Edwin E. Sparks Professor of the History of Science at Pennsylvania State University,

      "Exotic Abortifacients: The Gender Politics of Plants in the 18th-Century Atlantic World."

      4:15 pm, November 4, 2002
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • Peter Galison, Mallinckrodt Professor of the History of Science and of Physics, Harvard University
      November 18-22, 2002
      Presidential Lecture Series, Stanford Humanities Center, 424 Santa Teresa Street.
      Monday 7pm, Tuesday 5pm.
      Seminars: Tuesday at noon and Friday at10am in Seminar Rooms, SHC. Papers for the Seminars can be picked up at the HPS office, room 33 of the History Building.

    • Oliver Grau, Humboldt University, Berlin Germany

      4:15 pm December 3, 2002
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University


      The approach of this paper is broad and historical; it attempts to expand a narrow technical view by looking at historic art media together with contemporary media art. By focusing on recent art against the backdrop of historic developments, it is possible to better analyze and grasp what is really new in media art and, using cornerstones from the history of media of illusion and immersion, it is a material and theoretical contribution to a new, emerging discipline: the science of the image. Where and how does the new genre of virtual art fit into the art history of illusion and immersion in the image, that is, how do older elements continue to live on and influence this contemporary art? What part does this play in the current metamorphosis of the concepts of art and the image?

      DR GRAU is a new-media art historian and lectures at the Department of Art History, Humboldt University in Berlin. Oliver Grau is a visiting professor at the Kunstuniversity Linz and is head of the German Science Foundation project on Immersive Art in Berlin, also he is developing the first international data base resource for virtual art, a result of his work on the history of immersion and virtual art.

    • Marianna Haenseler, visiting from the University of Zurich

      "Metaphors and Bacteria under the Microscope: A Doctoral Study in the Field of Philosophy and Early Bacteriology"

      4:15 pm, January 16, 2003
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • Amos Nur, Burke Family Director of the Stanford Overseas Studies and Wayne Loel Professor of Earth Sciences & Professor of Geophysics, Stanford

      "The History of Thinking about Earthquakes"

      4:15 pm, January 30, 2003
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • Matt Jones, Columbia University

      "Accounting for the Self: Leibniz, Squaring the Circle, and Perspective in Paris"

      5:00 pm TUESDAY, February 4, 2003
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • "Science, Instruments and Travel in the Eighteenth and Early Ninteenth Century: A Discussion with Professor Marie Noelle Bourguet (University of Paris VII)"

      12-1 pm, Thursday, February 6, 2003
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307

      ++ Lunch will be provided ++

      Please note that the paper for this event will be pre-circulated and available in a box outside of Paula Findlen's office (200-118) one week in advance.

    • Saturday, March 1, 2003

      "The Spectacle of Italy: Science, Art and History in the Eighteenth Century"
      Location: Stanford Humanities Center
      Time: TBA (ca. 9:00 am-6:00 pm)

      During the eighteenth century Italy was the focal point of the Grand Tour and many other narratives of travel. This workshop explores some of the key aspects of Italian culture that became a focal point of the experience of travel in this period -- art, antiquarianism, and science. It examines the role of these activities within various Italian states in this period and foreign perceptions of Italy. Key figures such as Francesco Algarotti, the abbe Nollet, Alexander von Humboldt, and Winkelmann will be discussed.


      Tamara Griggs (Stanford University)
      Whitney Davis, (UC Berkeley)
      Carole Paul (UC Santa Barbara)
      Massimo Mazzotti (University of Exeter)
      Marie-Noelle Bourget (University of Paris)
      Paola Bertucci (University of Bologna)

      For further information, contact Barbara Naddeo, (, Paula Findlen ( or Tamara Griggs (

      This one-day workshop is cosponsored by the Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean History Workshop, the Science, Technology and Society Program, and the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, with assistance from the History Department, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Hewlett Fund in the Institute for International Studies.

    • Ken Alder, Northwestern University

      "History's Greatest Forger, Or, Science, History, Fiction, and Fraud along the Seine"

      4:15 pm MONDAY, March 3, 2003
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • Bruno Latour, École des Mines de Paris


      7:00 p.m., April 7, 2003
      Law School, Room 290, Stanford University

      Presidential and Endowed Lectures in the Humanities & Arts,
      cosponsored by HPS

    • Henning Schmidgen, (Max-Planck-Institut fur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)

      "Experiments as Machines: Deleuzian Perspectives on the History of 19th Century Physiology"

      noon, May 14th, 2003
      Lane History Building Room 307, Stanford University

    Colloquia 2001-2002

    • West Coast History of Science Society Annual Meeting

    • Michael John Gorman, (Science, Technology and Society, Stanford)
      "Art, Optics and History: New Light on the Hockney Thesis"
      4:15 pm April 25, 2002
      Lane History Building 200, Room 305, Stanford University

    • Michael Strevens, (Philosophy, Stanford)
      "The Prehistoric Roots of Maxwell's Discovery of the Velocity Distribution"
      4:15pm, May 2, 2002
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • Lorraine Daston, (Director, Max-Planck-Institut fur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)
      "Attention and the Values of Nature in the Enlightenment"
      4:15 pm May 13, 2002
      at the Stanford Humanities Center, Levinthal Hall
      Cosponsored with Stanford Humanities Center

      Will take place again this year, 4 times each quarter. New program to be determined.

    • Rayna Rapp, (New York University)
      "Cell Life and Death, Child Life and Death: Genomic Horizons, Genetic Disease, Family Stories"
      3:30pm, January 14, 2002
      Co-sponsored with CASA
      Bldg 110-1110 (colloquia room), Stanford University

    • Stephen Hilgartner, (Cornell University)
      "Reordering Life: Building New Regimes for Genome Research in the 1990s"
      4:15pm, November 8, 2001
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • Michael Riordan, (Stanford, SLAC, and UC Santa Cruz)
      "The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider, 1982-1993"
      4:15pm, October 25, 2001
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • Ted Porter, (UCLA)
      "Karl Pearson and the 'Men and Women's club' in 1880's London: From Feminism to Statistics"
      4:15pm, October 11, 2001
      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

    • SHOT Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA, October 4-7, 2001

    Colloquia 2000-2001

    • History of the Book Workshop

      Stanford Humanities Center Annex
      Saturday April 7, 2001. 9 am -6:30 pm
      Paula Findlen, organizer

    • Baroque Imaginary Conference, April 27 and 28th
      Paula Findlen, organizer

      Every other Monday, Lane History Building 200, Room 307, 7pm

    • Knowledge, the Body and Machines in the Enlightenment, Friday February 23, 2001. 1pm - 4pm

      Lane History Building 200, Room 307, Stanford University

      Mary Terrall (History, UCLA)

      "Unraveling the 'Mystery' of Generation: Speculation and Experiment in Enlightenment Life Sciences"

      Abstract: In the 18th century, the capacity of organisms to reproduce themselves raised questions about the activity of matter, the meaning of mechanism, and the methods appropriate to a science of life. This paper explores the arguments about theories of generation in the context of related debates about method and style. Concerns and motivations of the protagonists were informed by their institutional, religious and disciplinary locations.


      Jessica Riskin (STS Program, MIT)
      "Eighteenth-Century Wetware."

      This talk will discuss simulations of physiological systems in the eighteenth century, and the way in which these simulations reflected an organicist conception of machinery, according to which machines could be soft, pliable, emotive, and generally lifelike in various ways.

    Colloquia 1999-2000

    Colloquia 1998-1999

    Colloquia 1997-1998

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