CFP: "Science X Medicine: Promiscuous Objects, Entangled Problems"-24th ICHSTM, Manchester, 22-28 July 2013

Dear All,

We are looking for a number of additional participants for a symposium on the interactions and intersections of science and medicine, and their respective historiographies, to be held at the 24th ICHSTM in Manchester, July 2013. The details of the symposium and already signed speakers are available below.

If you are interested in participating in this symposium please contact us ( before 15th September 2012. Please, enclose a paper title, an abstract (2500 characters) and affiliation details. Thank you.

All the best,



SYMPOSIUM ‘Science X Medicine: Promiscuous Objects, Entangled Problems’
Organized by Josep Simon (Université Paris Ouest) & Mónica García (Universidad del Rosario).
24th ICHSTM, Manchester, 22-28 July 2013

‘Science’ and ‘Medicine’ are two objects of study characterized by great complexity and covering a large territory. But historians have traditionally considered that their boundaries could be clearly defined, at least with regard to each other. This distinction is still conventional, shaped by divided academic, intellectual and historical traditions. In this framework, for instance, the making of ‘modern medicine’ is explained through a simple narrative stressing the introduction in the nineteenth century of laboratory science in medical practice as ‘Science’ applied to ‘Medicine’, characterized instead by clinical practices, and thus subordinated to the former. A more symmetrical image of the science/medicine nexus is currently being prompted by the study of contemporary developments such as biomedicine. Yet, this growing scholarship has not reshaped yet the basic science/medicine framework. The question is complex, since historical actors themselves have often built their own scientific or medical identities, in opposition to each other. However, it is increasingly visible that these two areas are far more promiscuous than conventionally held. They can in fact be characterized by a large number of entangled problems, mediating instruments and shared spaces.

This symposium is connected to recent calls to overcome the aforementioned opposition (Warner 1985 & 1995; Pickstone, 2000; Sturdy, 2011; Pickstone & Worboys, 2011). A major aim is to bring together different approaches used in the study of science or medicine to understand situations involving promiscuity and entanglement in scientific and medical practices. Some guiding questions are: What is the role of technology in the making of scientific disciplines and medical specialisms? What is the role of quantification in creating scientific and medical objects of inquiry? How have physics, chemistry, engineering, and medicine shaped each other? How were perceived the different standards of proof in medicine and in the physical sciences? What were the major spaces of exchange and trading zones between science and medicine?

This symposium presents case studies dealing with objects and problems across science and medicine in national and transnational contexts between the 19th and 20th centuries. Among these, Stefan Pohl (Universidad del Rosario) deals with the making of ‘race’ in Colombia, through interdisciplinary research on nutrition. Mónica García (Universidad del Rosario) shows how bacteriology and statistics shaped medical and epidemiological research in Colombia. José R. Bertomeu Sánchez (Universitat de València) discusses how chemical and medical methods configured forensic practice in French toxicology. Ximo Guillem (Universitat de València) analyzes the development and problematization of pesticide treatments by medical and scientific experts in England and Spain. Josep Simon (Université Paris Ouest) discusses the role of technology in the making of ‘medical physics’ as a discipline in France and Mexico.
Comments to the symposium papers will be provided by Steve Sturdy (University of Edinburgh).