Tag Archives: HSMT Seminars

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 8, 2nd December

Who? This term’s final lecture will be given by Dr Bénédicte Prot (Oxford and Swiss National Science Foundation), who will be speaking about ‘Putting medicine and literature in dialogue: the case of the French doctor Jean-Louis Alibert (1768-1837)’.

What? ‘Jean-Louis Alibert (1768-1837) remains a famous French physician, clinician, professor and dermatologist at Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris in the early 19th century. Focused on his life, work and posterity, this talk deals with Alibert’s early poems and explores his literary network, including his role of mentor for poets. It also examines Alibert’s printed texts and their reception. Here the style of the doctor-writer is crucial not only for medical writing but also for questioning fame, recognition, disqualification and image of the great doctor. This case study thus emphasizes different types of interactions and some tensions between literature and medicine during the first decades of the 19th century in France. More broadly, it aims to contribute to an interdisciplinary and cultural history of medicine and physicians.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 2nd December 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 7, 25th November

UPDATE: This lecture has been cancelled due to UCU strike action.

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Jacob Ward, who will be speaking about ‘Thatcherism and the Information Age: How the British Telecom Infrastructure Changed Politics’.

What? ‘In 1984, Margaret Thatcher privatised British Telcom for almost £4 billion, then the largest stock flotation in history. BT’s sale popularised privatisation as a key neoliberal policy in Britain and around the world, showing that governments could successfully sell their national infrastructures to the private sector.

This paper argues that BT’s history cannot simply be understood as an example of politicians transforming infrastructure, but instead shows how information technology has mediated political change. I begin by using institutional sociology and infrastructure studies to argue that political change, like technological change, is not a linear process from idea to action, but instead one that is shaped by infrastructure and institutions like British Telecom.

I show this through a history of how telecom engineers and managers computerized and digitalized BT’s network to protect its monopoly for Britain’s ‘second industrial revolution’, complicating BT’s move from public to private. I conclude by considering how, as infrastructure mediates radical political change, we can approach infrastructure ownership and development for today’s supposed ‘fourth industrial revolution’.

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 25th November 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 6, 18th November

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Simon Mays, who will be speaking about ‘Humanising the past: the case of the skeletons from Stonehenge’.

What? ‘Archaeology lies at the interface between the sciences and the humanities, drawing on traditions of both. In the study human skeletal remains (ostearchaeology), theoretical as well as methodological approaches from the sciences have become dominant. This had led to a narrowing of the discipline. Testing of hypotheses using statistical analyses of large data sets has come to be regarded as the main and, in the eyes of some, the only valid way of conducting osteoarchaeology. In recent years this has begun to be questioned. There is a rise in an osteoarchaeology in which the focus is not on patterns at a population level but rather the construction of narratives of lives of individuals from their skeletons. Such approaches were arguably stimulated by the need to use scientific analyses to present osteoarchaeology to the public in an engaging way. However, the rise of this ‘osteobiographical’ approach may also signal a theoretical realignment in which concepts from the humanities are once again perceived as providing a fruitful basis for osteoarchaeological enquiry. As ever, the difficulty lies in reconciling these ‘two cultures’ in a fruitful way. I will illustrate these points with a study of the osteobiographies of some skeletons from Stonehenge.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 18th November 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 4, 4th November

UPDATE: Please note the below lecture has now been cancelled. 

Happy Halloween! November is (spookily) almost upon us, so here are the details for the first November lecture…

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Caitjan Gainty (King’s College London), who will be speaking about ‘Dissecting “Diegelman” (1945): Film, Medicine and the Cinematic Oeuvre of Kurt Goldstein’.

What? ‘This talk uses as an entry point into the discussion of medical cinema the neurological films of Kurt Goldstein, the psychiatrist/neurologist who, like many of his medical colleagues in the first half of the twentieth century, saw the new technology of motion pictures as potentially capable of totally transforming how medicine was done. In exploring what film meant in particular for neurology, the talk will review the movement of cinema into neurologic contexts and explore both the ‘fitness’ of film for neurologic work and the larger cultural and scientific contexts that helped to make motion pictures medically meaningful in the first place.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 4th November 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 3, 28th October

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Leonardo Ariel Carrió Cataldi, who will be speaking about ‘Instruments of early modern Iberian empires: towards a critical history of globalisation’.

What? ‘My paper will present the first outputs of a new project which tackles the crucial but unexamined tension between measuring and orientation tools used by Europe’s Old Regime societies – which bear a strong local and regional stamp – and the universal expansionist ambitions of their empires. Situated at the crossroad of history of science and technology and intellectual and social approaches, for the occasion of the HSMT seminar, I will select some significant case studies, from a wide range of sources (navigational instruments, travelogues, maps, clocks, calendars and nautical and cosmographical treatises) related to the Iberian world and its early modern territorial expansion in a comparative approach with other empires.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 28th October 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 2, 21st October

Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Emeritus Professor Peter Cryle & Dr Elizabeth Stephens (University of Queensland), who will be speaking about ‘Normality: measuring practices and devices’.

‘During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there emerged a set of practices that served to produce knowledge about populations. One of the key ways in which this was done was by measuring human bodies. That is how, before engaging in battle, conscripts to Napoleon’s army made a contribution to the state by the compulsory provision of their measurements, as they effectively became, not just cannon fodder, but fodder for statistical knowledge. Once aggregated and averaged, their measurements could serve a range of governmental purposes, including the study of regional differences in nutrition and hygiene, as well as hypotheses about “racial” differences within and between regions. A version of this general story of governmental normalisation can be found in the work of Michel Foucault. But summary accounts of normalisation indebted to Foucault tend to neglect what he saw as a double movement whereby a dynamic of homogenisation was accompanied by a dynamic of individuation and differentiation. A conceptual bridge between these two kinds of normalisation, and a way of understanding their interdependence, can be provided by studying the historical emergence of standard clothing sizes, which served both to produce and to manage individuality.’

When? Monday 21st October 2019, 16:00.

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 1, 14th October

This Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Harry Wu (University of Hong Kong), who will be speaking on ‘Seeing trauma: from invisible reality to emotional imagery’.

‘In the Hollywood film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the director Ang Lee explores the effect of combat exemplifies the complexities of war trauma by his experiment in constructing reality with RealD technology. Such “over-pursuit” reveals the century-long efforts cineastes and experimental psychologists have been trying to unravel. Since mid-19th century, psychologists have been using image technologies to visualise the “stigmata” of trauma in individual’s mind. These images, produced by photography and videography, have been used not only to study mental illnesses, but also as an archiving method and a medium to deliver knowledge.

In this presentation, I first survey the history of the documentation of traumatized soldiers to look at the efforts made by filmmakers to better capture the manifestation of trauma in front of their camera. And then I refer to scientists’ attempts at developing methods, including emotional mental imagery, to better understand the neurophysiological mechanism of PTSD from 1970s onwards. Finally, I argue, a more complete picture of trauma in images, including various individuals’ conceptualization and interpretation of trauma and how the narrative forms of interpretation produce meaning for those who experience the events, will only transpire when one finally ignores the excessive quest of the cinematic reality or imagery.’

When? Monday 14th October 2019, 16:00.

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology.

All welcome to attend! For more information on this term’s seminars see the Unit’s webpage.