Collections in Circulation: Mobile Museum Conference, 9-10 May 2019

Dear Members of the Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science,

I am writing to you as I believe that the upcoming conference ‘Collections in Circulation’, to be held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th May 2019, will be of interest to your association.

The conference will bring together scholars from the UK and overseas with a shared interest in the mobility of museum collections, past and present. Their papers will address various aspects of the history of the circulation of objects and their re-mobilisation in the context of object exchange, educational projects and community engagement.

The conference is organised by the AHRC-funded Mobile Museum project, a collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of London, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The research project explores the movement of objects into and out of the Economic Botany Collection at Kew, established in 1847. Botanical specimens and artefacts made of plant materials were sent to Kew from all over the world, and a large quantity were re-circulated to schools, museums and botanic gardens in the UK and overseas.

Australian institutions including botanic gardens and museums in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane were key recipients of this material. You can read a more detailed account of our research on economic botany collections in Australia here:

We are very pleased to announce that registration has opened for the conference, and hope that you will be interested in promoting it via your newsletter / networks / media channels.

Confirmed speakers include Claudia Augustat, Paul Basu, Joshua Bell, Martha Fleming, Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Luciana Martins, Wayne Modest, Catherine Nichols, Jude Philp and Daniel Simpson.

Full details of the programme and a link to booking registration are now available at:

The image which we are using across our conference publicity (a C19th Japanese paper sample from Kew’s Economic Botany Collection).

Warm Regards,

Harriet Gendall

Project Officer
Kew Mobile Museum
Economic Botany Collection
020 8332 5771

Geography: Shaping Australia’s Future

The Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Geography is launching its strategic plan, Geography: Shaping Australia’s Future, in Sydney on Thursday 22 November. The plan will be launched by Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte FAA FRS FTSE, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, during a Future Earth Australia-hosted event at the University of Sydney. The launch will be followed by a networking afternoon tea.

All welcome. Please RSVP using the link below or click here.

Dyason Lecture 2018: Dancing with Strangers. Imagining an Originary Moment for Australian STS

Courtesy Mitchell library, State Library of New South Wales

Helen Verran,
Professor, College of Indigenous Futures, Arts and Social Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory.

Title: Dancing with Strangers. Imagining an Originary Moment for Australian STS.

In 1788 in what would in a few years become Sydney, not too far from the site where in 2018 a large group of scholars will meet to critically discuss the roles of sciences and technologies in modern cultures and societies, a group of sailors and soldiers danced with the strangers who had been warily awaiting them when they arrived on shore. Science and technology had also arrived, albeit to an extent unheralded. Of course, the strangers who at first hesitantly welcomed the group they assumed were mere temporary visitors, had their own highly elaborated traditions of knowing and doing that could with careful translation also have been understood as sciences and technologies. It is recorded in the colonial archive that as a start to that translation work, the two groups danced together. Each presumably also showed the other how to dance ‘properly’.

In this lecture I take this promising moment in which knowers in disparate traditions engaged each other with curiosity and respect, as occasion to articulate (another) originary moment in Australian STS.


Helen Verran grew up in her grandmother's house playing in the creeks that ran into the lower reaches of Sydney's Middle Harbour. Along with biology lessons at a lesser girls high school, the Long Reef rock shelf played its part, and to the bemusement of her family she went away to study science at university. In the 1970s the sciences in Australia were not welcoming for women rearing young children, so like many before her she turned to school teaching. An unexpected opportunity to teach science education in Nigeria led to a career shift, and returning to Victoria in the 1980s Helen joined Deakin University Science Studies Unit. It was here that her long engagement with Indigenous Australian knowledge traditions began. Retiring from nearly 25 years of teaching in the History and Philosophy Department at University of Melbourne, she took up a part-time professorship at Charles Darwin where her work with Aboriginal Australian knowledge practitioners continues.

The Dyason Lecture took place at the State Library of New South Wales on Thursday 30 August

Helen's talk commences around 11:00. You have to click in the sound bars to hear the talk.

USyd HPS Research Presentation and Keynote



Friday 8th June



Welcome – Hans Pols Head of School

1:45–2:10 Eamon Little - Completing Honours Student
“Psychopathy and Moral Exculpation: A Clarification”

2:10– 2:35 Alexander Pereira - Current Honours Student

2:35 Afternoon Tea

3:00–3:30 Tim Shaw - Current PhD Candidate

3:30–4:00 Georg Repnikov recent PhD graduate :
"Beyond Classificatory Realism: A Deflationary Perspective on Psychiatric Nosology".

4:15 - 5:00  KEYNOTE:

Rob Wilson, Ph.D., FRSC
Professor of Philosophy
La Trobe University, Melbourne

"Disciplining Eugenics: History, Philosophy, and HPS"

Eugenics has usually been studied as a historical phenomenon, perhaps one with lessons for present and future uses of science and technology.  Here I want to raise some questions about the relationship of eugenics to both history and philosophy, drawing my experience working in constructing oral histories with survivors of Canadian eugenics over the past 10 years.  This will allow us to discuss received views of eugenics, the enthusiasm for aspects of eugenics in the philosophical bioethics community, and some topics in the philosophy of disability.

5:00PM – Please join us for Drinks and Canapes to celebrate Georg's recent graduation and all our achievements.



Masterclass (26 April) and Book launch (2 May) with Rosi Braidotti – Deakin University, Melbourne

There will be two events with Rosi Braidotti coming up, hosted by Deakin University's Science and Society Network:

Masterclass with Rosi Braidotti
Thursday, April 26, 2018 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Deakin Downtown (Level 12) | 727 Collins Street
Docklands, VIC 3008

Book launch: "Posthuman Glossary" with Rosi Braidotti
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Deakin Downtown (Level 12) | 727 Collins Street
Docklands, VIC 3008

Registration is required for both events, so grab a seat before they are gone.

“Surviving Eugenics”, a joint showing with MFU

MFU POSTER 2018 April Surviving Eugenics

Stand Up Philosophy at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

My name is Mitch Alexander, and I’m bringing across the UK show “Stand Up Philosophy” for two nights at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Stand Up Philosophy teams the funniest comedians with the smartest philosophers to lecture, joke, pontificate and ruminate on a different topic each show. Each performer has about twenty minutes to present whatever they feel is most relevant and interesting for the crowd, with an audience Q&A, involving both comedians and academics, to end the night.

The show is a great way to get philosophy in front of people who might not normally be interested, as well as presenting it in a more approachable and light-hearted (though still respectful) way. At the same time, philosophy enthusiasts are very rarely catered for outside of the serious lecture or conference – it’s not all dour beard stroking!

The two themes for the Melbourne Comedy Festival are

  • “Sexbots And Self Driving Cars: Autonomy, AI and Ethic” and
  • “Love, Life, And Loss.”

The themes are kept somewhat vague to allow myriad different opinions and arguments, and to ensure that no one feels stymied for their performance.

So far the line ups include comedians Corey White (ABC, Best Newcomer MICF 2015) Alice Fraser (BBC, The Bugle, multiple 5 star reviews), Kirsty Webeck, Martin Dunlop and Lauren Bok, and philosophers such as Prof Robert Sparrow, Prof Suzy Killmister and Prof Oisin Deary.

The two shows take place at 08:30pm at The Spotted Mallard on Sydney Rd, Brunswick, on the 29th of March and the 12th of April respectively.

Ticketing link:

Facebook event link:

CFP: Digital Media and Borders: Infrastructures, Mobilities, and Practices across Asia and Beyond

7-9 December 2017
Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Invited speakers: Brett Neilson, Jack Qiu, Ned Rossiter, Nishant Shah, Ravi Sundaram
Workshop organizers: Rolien Hoyng, Iam-chong Ip, Lisa Leung, Yvonne Yau
Sponsored by: Lingnan University and Kwan Fong Cultural Research and Development Programme.

Digital communication, despite its apparent immateriality, remains dependent on infrastructure placed somewhere. This workshop focuses on the intersection of urban situatedness and geo-location in order to examine the spatial relations that digital infrastructures either make part of or generate, especially in Asia. The internet features a layered design, including undersea cables, Cloud architecture, platforms, and apps. In what ways does this design reproduce or undo borders and territories? Relinquishing assumptions of a singular global regime of cybernetic power, how does the internet as stack transform the governance of populations, now addressed as “users,” and what contradictions emerge in this process? Moreover, considering that different bodies relate to digital infrastructure differently, how do users negotiate and exploit the modes of power afforded by digital infrastructure? How do these processes amount to either the reproduction of dominant formations of citizenship or alternative identifications and subjectivities, for instance for migrants or “uncivil” users?

We welcome critical scholarship and non-traditional inquiries that help us reflect on digital infrastructures and practices in relation to the production of space and the particularities of place and context in Asia and beyond.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Digital infrastructure, (extra)statecraft, urbanisms
  • Local or global apps, platforms, and data-driven governance
  • Speculative digital culture
  • “Uncivil” webs: hacking, porn, radical free speech, trolling
  • Digital media, citizenship, populism
  • Digital media, migration, and belonging

A conference dinner is planned for the evening of 7 December. On the morning of the 9th we invite you to join a local excursion exploring digital infrastructure and borders in Hong Kong. There is no conference fee.

Abstracts of max. 500 words are due by 15 July and should be sent to Authors will be notified of acceptance via email by the end of July. Full papers are expected no shorter than 10 days before the start of the workshop. Please provide full name, affiliation, contact information, and a short bio with your abstract submission. Guidelines for presentation will be provided upon acceptance of the abstract.

Event webpage: