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.



History and Philosophy of Science Winter [Northern Summer] School: History of Psychiatry, Past Trends, Future Directions

History and Philosophy of Science Winter [Northern Summer] School: History of Psychiatry, Past Trends, Future Directions

History of Psychiatry, Past Trends, Future Directions

13-17 August 2018, University of Sydney

We invite applications from graduate students and early-career researchers in the history and social studies of science and biomedicine, and related fields, for a five-day (southern-hemisphere) winter school focusing on scholarship in the history of psychiatry. This is an excellent opportunity for young scholars interested in some of the more exciting recent developments in the history, sociology, and anthropology of medicine, in particular those scholars seeking to integrate various approaches in the interdisciplinary analysis of psychiatry and its history.

The history of psychiatry has attracted sustained attention by historians of medicine over the past several decades. The attention to psychiatry was partly caused by broader public debates about the role of psychiatry in modern societies. During the 1970s, for example, critics such as Thomas Szasz condemned psychiatry as a pseudo-branch of medicine and as a tool of modern societies to force individuals to conform to arbitrary social standards or to forcibly confine them to mental hospitals which Erving Gofman characterised as total institutions akin to prisons and concentration camps. The historical/philosophical work of Michel Foucault contributed to these characterisations as well. These views greatly contributed to historical research on the history of psychiatry.

How relevant are the approaches to the history of psychiatry inspired by these critical views today? After deinstitutionalisation, there are hardly any mental hospitals left, the influence of psychoanalysis has greatly declined, and psychiatrists appear to focus more on psychopharmacology than on psychotherapy. During this winter school, we will evaluate past and current research on the history of psychiatry, discuss promising new trends, and focus on topics that we expect will be relevant in the near future. Topics that will be discussed include: Modern Research on Insane Asylums and Mental Hospitals; Colonial and Post-Colonial Psychiatry; Diagnosing Populations: Psychiatric Epidemiology; Deinstitutionalisation and community psychiatry; Trauma: Experience, Explanations, and Treatments.

We are looking forward to discussing these issues and many others, according to the interests of participants. Through a mix of seminars, small group discussions, and case studies, graduate students and early-career researchers will become acquainted with the most interesting research in the history of psychiatry. The workshop faculty will illustrate their arguments with examples of their own recent and forthcoming research. We expect participants to shape these discussions and to contribute ideas and examples from their own studies. Additionally, there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy Sydney’s harbor, beaches, food, and cultural activities.

The winter course will be taught by Mark Micale (University of Illinois), Hans Pols (University of Sydney), and several other local academics with interest in this area.

We have planned this winter school before the conference of the Society for the Social Study of Science, which will take place from 29 August to 1 September. There will be many interesting smaller events in the week preceding that conference.

Applicants should send a CV and a brief description (maximum one page) of their research interests, and how they relate to the topic of the Winter School, to (with a subject heading “Winter School Application”). Closing date is May 31, 2018. We will take care of accommodation expenses and meals for the period of the Winter School, but participants (or their institutions) will have to cover their own transport costs.

The Winter School is supported by the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science and the School of History and Philosophy of Science, and the International Research Collaboration Fund of the University of Sydney.

Due date 31 May, 2018

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.