Logan Lounge

A Collective Blog for Current and Former Members (and Friends!) of the History and Sociology of Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Technoscience Special Double Issue

The latest issue of Perspectives on Science (2005, no. 2) includes several very interesting articles on the broad theme of "Technoscience," originating from a conference at the Max Planck Institute (my current home!) a few years ago. Articles by Ursula Klein and Barry Barnes challenge the common view that technology and science were not brought together until the late 19th century during the dawning of "science-based industry." Another article by Wolfgang Lefevre on science as a labor process intersects with my own thinking about a "work history" of science; it may be of interest to others of you who share my interest in the history of work. The fourth essay is an attempt by Gideon Freudenthal to rehabilitate what he calls the Hessen-Grossman thesis on the relationship of early modern science to its social-economic circumstances, a thoughtful piece both as historiography and an argument about the "big picture." The next issue (no. 3) promises to contain several more papers from the same conference.

Although this journal has often seemed much too dominated by philosophy of science to attract the ongoing interest of some of us in the history and sociology of science, this particular issue is well worth a look. (And if it is any indication of the current editorial direction of Perspectives on Science, it is enough to make me want to think about submitting an article to them at some point!) It may be that one of these articles even merits discussion at a journal club or in the classroom....perhaps the one by Ursula Klein, given how much really interesting work--on the history of chemistry, no less!--she has been putting out lately. (She has her name on an office here on my floor, but I think her Independent Working Group has finished its term of operation. The MPI is advertising for a new IWG director, and moreoever I saw her listed as a visiting professor on the Harvard History of Science department website when I was browsing it the other day.)

While I'm in the mood for mentioning things I've found since coming to the MPI....The other day, a colleague here showed me one of the most fascinating books I've ever seen. It is called Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, edited by Bruno Latour & Peter Weibel. It is an almost 1000-page compendium of brief (4-6 page) vignettes accompanied by magazine-quality illustrations on a extremely wide range of subjects, ranging from the cultural history of early modern science to musings on voting technology and supermarkets. Authors include many familiar names from the Harvard-Cambridge(UK)-Paris-Berlin metropolitan network in History of Science/STS (including soon-to-join-Penn-faculty John Tresch!) The book is based on an installation/exhibition at ZKM Karlsruhe (some kind of artsy museum-type place in Germany near the French border), which coincidentally is coming to an end this Monday. I'm not sure if the website will stay up after Oct. 3rd, but here is a link to it.

I need to get back to work now, but I do remember that today is the Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of Medicine hosted by Penn, right? Someone there should post a brief synopsis after it is all over, so those of us far away can hear about how it went.


  • At 6:11 AM, Blogger Jeremy said…

    Small correction to my above post: Ursula Klein is still here at the MPI. After her independent group finished up its term, she transferred into Department III, downstairs from us. (Her office is still on our floor however!) It was someone else from the MPI whose name I saw on the Harvard website. Sorry for the mistake.

  • At 10:23 PM, Blogger Tony said…

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