rss_2.0HoST - Journal of History of Science and Technology FeedSciendo RSS Feed for HoST - Journal of History of Science and Technology - Journal of History of Science and Technology 's Cover 1931 London Congress: The Rise of British Marxism and the Interdependencies of Society, Nature and Technology<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Second International Conference of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, held in London in 1931, exerted a profound influence on the historiography of science, giving rise to a new research field in the anglophone world at the intersection of social and political studies and the history of science and technology. In particular, Boris Hessen’s presentation on the <italic>Social and Economic Roots of Newton’s Principia</italic> successfully ushered in a new tradition in the historiography of science. This article introduces and discusses the London conference as a benchmark in the history of the social study of science within a Marxist and materialist tradition. In contemporary science and technology studies, political epistemology, and the study of society-nature interaction, it is no less relevant today than it was at the beginning of the fabulous 1930s. In reconstructing some important theses presented by the Soviet delegation in London, we aim to revive the conference’s legacy and the approach promoted on that occasion as a pretext to address current debates about society’s major transition toward a new agency and ways of existence in the Earth system. In particular, the London conference invited us to think of the growing metabolic rift between society, technology, and nature, and further reflects a historical moment of profound environmental and political crisis.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Book Review: Hartmut Petzold. München: Deutsches Museum Verlag, 2019. 203 pp. ISBN: 978-3-940396-89-1 and Circulation of Plants: Unveiling the Participation of Amazonian Indigenous Peoples in the Construction of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Botany<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article gives visibility to Amazonian indigenous peoples in the global process of plant circulation and associated knowledge. The first part highlights the indigenous role in cultivating and collecting native plants, and in the processing of natural products over the second half of the eighteenth century. The second part shows that these activities were influenced by internal colonial dynamics, as well as by international relations. The case of the ayapana herb is analysed in detail. This plant became known worldwide at the beginning of the nineteenth century thanks to the interactions among indigenous knowledge, Portuguese colonial politics and the performance of military and naturalists of different nationalities. Examples like this show that, in the process of building botany, which occurred concurrently with the globalization of plants, indigenous peoples provided not only specimens that circulated around the world, but also knowledge related to cultivation, transportation and uses.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Book Review: Seb Falk. London: Allen Lane, 2020. 392 pp. ISBN: 978-0-241-37425-2 Social Construction of the “Non-professional Computer Users”: The “Center for the Popularization of Informatics” in Catalonia, Spain (1980s-1990s)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The histories of personal computing have been focusing lately on groups of users who saw computing as an exciting new field in activities apparently as different as hardware tinkering, coding or even playing video games. What do we know, however, about the users who did not share these interests and yet ended up using personal computers in their everyday contexts? Based on the study of the Center for the Popularization of Informatics—a Catalan institution that promoted computer technologies among diverse audiences, often unemployed and youth—this article shows how a new and heterogeneous user profile needed to be created: the “non-professional computer users.” With the increasing use of computers in the 1990s, most people employed computer technologies as a means to carry out regular duties and labor tasks performed, in most cases, even before computerization. In addition, the article suggests that computer technologies strengthened more than improved or reshaped the traditional labor processes and working conditions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Introduction: Global Flora: Mastering Exotic Plants (Eighteenth — Nineteenth Centuries) National Sericultural Utopia and Debates on the Acclimatization of Plants in New-born Belgium (1830–1865)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This two-folded contribution firstly addresses the little-known history of an agricultural utopia that took over the newly born Belgium. The history of the Belgian sericultural utopia is not anecdotal, however, it was based on the conviction that it was possible to acclimatize exotic species. This conviction has a long history that is depicted in the second part of this research. The permanence in time of this hope is explained by various factors: famous supporters, a lexical fog, experiments considered successful, routines, agricultural crisis, etc. They kept alive the dream of acclimatization carried out by the French Enlightenment, but not only. Yet, in the first decades of the nineteenth century, the zealots of the famous André Thouin confronted those—early phytogeographers, or not—who rejected acclimatization more often. It might even be that biological nationalism militated against acclimatization, as showed the International Congress of Horticulture in Brussels (1864), which constitutes the chronological milestone of this research.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Global Affinities: The Natural Method and Anomalous Plants in the Nineteenth Century<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Approaching from an analysis of the work of Robert Brown (1773-1858) and Friedrich Welwitsch (1806–1872) on <italic>Rafflesia</italic> and <italic>Welwitschia,</italic> this article explores how the “natural method” became a tool for understanding extra-European flora in the nineteenth century. As botanists worked to detect “hidden affinities” between plants that would enable them to identify the so-called natural families to which even anomalous species belonged, they relied on comparison as their basic methodological procedure, making it essential for them to have access to collections. In their scientific writings, professional botanists tended to steer clear of any emphasis on plant exoticism. While botany engaged in dialogue with various types of approaches, the field essentially normalized the exotic. The article’s exploration of the hermetic style of scientific texts and the way botanists incorporated illustrators’ work sheds light on the complexity of the spaces where natural history was done, in a context where plants were circulating from around the globe.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Book Review: Michael Rossi. . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019. 320 pp. ISBN: 978-0-226-65172-9 Struggle for Objectivity: Gramsci’s Historical-Political Vistas on Science against the Background of Lenin’s Epistemology<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This contribution interprets the intertwined issues of science, epistemology, society, and politics in Gramsci’s <italic>Prison Notebooks</italic> as a culturalist approach to science that does not renounce objectivity. Gramsci particularly criticized the scientist positions taken by the Bolshevik leader Nikolai Bukharin in <italic>Historical Materialism</italic> (1921) and the conference communication he delivered at the International Congress of History of Science and Technology in London in 1931. Gramsci did not avoid, at least implicitly, engaging with the theses of Lenin’s <italic>Materialism and Empiriocriticism</italic> (1909). Gramsci’s reception of these Russian positions was twofold: on the one hand, he agreed with the centrality of praxis (and politics) for a correct assessment of the meaning of epistemological positions; on the other hand, he disagreed with the reduction of the problem of epistemology to the dichotomy of materialism and idealism at the expense of any consideration of the ideological dimension of science.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Book Review: Lukas Engelmann and Christos Lynteris. Perfect Pair: Bloch, Febvre, and the History of Science and Technology<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Launched in 1929 by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, the <italic>Annales</italic> gave rise to a groundbreaking approach to history known as the École des Annales. Based on the study of social history over a long-term period or <italic>longue durée</italic>, the new paradigm emphasized the collective nature of the <italic>mentalités</italic> and the importance of a multilayered analysis of society. The <italic>Annales</italic> reclaim the history of science and the history of technology as part of history as a whole and inextricably linked to the intellectual context of a specific time period. In this article, based on the <italic>Annales</italic> and UNESCO’s <italic>History of Mankind</italic>, I will focus on Bloch’s and Febvre’s stands on history and their relevance to the history of science and technology, particularly by championing the relevance of material and mental tools to understand each historical moment and by critically exploring the concepts of <italic>mentalités</italic>, <italic>histoire-problème</italic>, <italic>histoire totale</italic> and historical temporality.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Ludwik Fleck, Alfred Schutz, and Trust in Science: The Public Responsibility of Science Education in Challenging Times<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Ludwik Fleck and Alfred Schutz each wrote groundbreaking treatises in the 1930s that laid the foundation for their views on the role of science education in establishing trust in science. This essay examines how science education was for Fleck explicitly and for Schutz implicitly a crucial site for understanding the social dimensions of knowledge, for understanding how layers of knowledge are socially distributed among groups, and for conceptualizing how different cognitive groups, from experts to laypersons—communicate with one another in a democratic exchange of information. Their vision of the role of science education in establishing trust is particularly appropriate for addressing contemporary challenges to science and its results.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Book Review: Tatiana Kasperski., Differences, and Missed Connections between Thomas S. Kuhn, Gaston Bachelard and the Continental Historiography of Science<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>According to the American philosopher, Michael Friedman, while triggering the so-called “historical turn,” Kuhn reinstated the history of science as perhaps the most important object for the philosophy of science. In this paper, I show that this reinstatement is rather a rehabilitation of the philosophical and epistemological uses of the history of science, something already present in the continental historiography of science in the first half of the twentieth century, and especially in Gaston Bachelard’s work. In this sense, I undertake a review of the European history and philosophy of science during that period, paying special attention to Gaston Bachelard as one of the leading representatives of the French historical epistemology of the 1930s. I conclude with the late and quite problematic reception of Bachelard’s thought in the early work of Thomas S. Kuhn. My thesis is this strand may help to outline what is continental history and philosophy of science.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Book Review: David Pretel and Lino Camprubí, eds. The Fabulous 1930s in the History of Science and Technologyé Rámon Marcaida López, Arte y Ciencia en el Barroco español. Historia Natural, Coleccionismo y cultura visual. Fundación Focus-Abengoa/Marcial Pons Historia: Madrid, 2014. 337Pp. ISBN 978-841596-336-3 Vertesi, Seeing Like A Rover: How Robots, Teams, and Images Craft Knowledge of Mars. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2015. 318 + XI PP. ISBN: 978-0-226-15596-8 Birds and Net(Work)S: Material and Social Practices in the Trajectory of Ornithologist Emilie Snethlage (1868–1929)<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> In the course of her career, German ornithologist Emilie Snethlage (1868-1929), who worked in Brazil in the early twentieth century, was involved in all the steps that characterize the “production” of a specimen for scientific collection: from fieldwork, with the collection and preparation of materials, to their description and publication of results. Each of these stages mobilizes different material practices and sociability networks. During fieldwork or in her museum activities, the fact of being a woman demanded from Snethlage specific strategies for establishing her scientific legitimacy, analyzed in this article, especially her activities related to collecting practices. </p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-06T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1