Historians of science get ready for ‘Knowledge at Work’

The theme for this year’s 24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine is ‘Knowledge at Work’. According to Rebekah Higgitt’s Nov. 26, 2012 posting on the Guardian science blogs, the congress is on track to be the largest history of science conference ever held in the UK (Note: I have removed links),

This Friday [Nov. 30, 2012] sees the deadline for submissions to what will be the largest ever meeting of historians of science in the UK, and almost certainly the largest for at least a generation to come.

Last Friday already saw the closing date for organised symposiums within the International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine, and the organisers tweeted:



#ichstm has just received its 1000th symposium paper abstract.

With the individual submissions still to come in, this promises to be huge for the history of science, which usually counts conference delegates in the 10s or 100s.

The 24th international congress will be held in Manchester, UK from Monday, July 22, 2013 – Sunday, July 28, 2013. Here’s more from the congress home page,

Welcome to the website for the 2013 International Congress, whose theme is Knowledge at Work.

The International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine is the largest event in the field, and takes place every four years. Recent meetings have been held in Mexico City (2001), Beijing (2005) and Budapest (2009).

In 2013, the Congress will take place in Manchester, the chief city of Northwest England, and the original “shock city” of the Industrial Revolution. Congress facilities will be provided by The University of Manchester, with tours and displays on local scientific, technological and medical heritage co-ordinated by members of the University’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Here’s some information about individual submissions from the Call for stand-alone papers webpage,

The theme of the 24th Congress is ‘Knowledge at work’. We construe this theme broadly, and encourage studies of the creation, dissemination and deployment of knowledge and practice across all periods, and from a variety of methodological and historiographical approaches. Possible areas of investigation may include, but are not limited to

  • case studies of knowledge-making and knowledge-use in particular scientific, technological and medical communities
  • the use and adaptation of scientific knowledge in the workplace, the home, and the wider world
  • how facts, and other knowledge-claims, travel between disciplines, countries and communities
  • relationships between those knowledge-making enterprises which are described as ‘science’ and those which are not, and the dynamics of the boundaries between them
  • definitions and meanings of ‘pure’, ‘fundamental’ and ‘applied’ research
  • how scientists, engineers and healthcare professionals (and their historical antecedents) work, and whom they work for
  • the status relations of knowledge and work, including the roles of ‘artists’, ‘artisans’, ‘professionals’, ‘amateurs’, ‘devotees’, ‘operatives’, ‘philosophers’, ‘adepts’, ‘scientists’ and ‘workers’
  • sites and geographies of knowledge-production and knowledge-exchange: laboratory, field, factory, hospital, ocean…
  • communication about science: forms and genres, advocacy and dissent, authorship and audience in print, manuscript, broadcasting, digital media and performance

Stand-alone submissions will normally be assembled thematically into groups of 4 presentations per 90-minute session. You should prepare a presentation of around 15 to 17 minutes’ duration, to be followed by 5 minutes of audience questions. Please plan carefully: the very high volume of activity at the Congress means it will be necessary to run strictly to time.

Most papers at the Congress are presented by sole authors. You may, however, submit a co-authored paper to be co-presented by two or, if necessary, three authors. All registered co-presenters should take an active role in delivering the paper.

If your research involves collaboration with colleagues who will not be attending the Congress, please do not list them as co-presenters (see “Attendance requirement”). Instead, please develop a solo paper based on the collaboration, crediting your colleagues as appropriate in your talk.


Papers may be presented in any of the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Arabic.

For review and documentation purposes, we require titles and abstracts for all proposals to be submitted in either English or French. If you will be presenting in another language, please also supply an equivalent title and abstract in that language.

In addition to the standard tours and extras, Higgitt’s post mentions something you may consider to be an incentive to submit,

There will also be a “fringe” that will include films, music, theatre and performance, aimed at the public as well as delegates. Importantly, there will also be an entire pub, the Jabez Clegg, handed over for the conference, selling, I’ve been promised, unique and appropriately-named cask beers. (It helps that the Manchester department includes a postgrad with experience of organising beer festivals and a historian of brewing.)

Good luck with your submission!

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