PACHS Events in the Philadelphia Area
Updated: 6 hours 37 min ago
Time: 12:00pm Location: Chemical Heritage Foundation Slavery was central to the work and theories of geologists in the 1830s Gulf South. Planters and their wives patronized geological expeditions, slaves collected fossils that redefined the continent’s geohistory, and the plantation economy generated networks that made field work and the circulation of specimens possible. More important, geological theories produced in the Gulf South justified and encouraged plantation slavery. This talk looks specifically at a theory of the Earth that incorporated contemporary understandings of geohistory to fashion a proslavery argument while also suggesting how planters could engineer the Gulf South’s geological structure to make the region’s environment more like those of Caribbean sugar islands. In contrast to historians who have used the writings of northern geologists to explore the relationships between science, religion, and society in the United States on the whole, this paper emphasizes that early American geology developed in a highly sectional context. Cameron B. Strang is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently completing his dissertation, “Entangled Knowledge, Expanding Nation: Science and the United States Empire in the Southeast Borderlands, 1783–1842.” He is currently a fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and has received support from the Library of Congress, the National Science Foundation, and the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science.
Events: Doctors on Drugs: Medical Networks and the Proliferation of Morphine Use in France, 1870-1914
Time: 11 am, lunch to follow at 12:30 pm Location:RCHA Seminar Room, 88 College Avenue, Rutgers University If you are planning to attend the seminar, copies of the paper can be requested by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Time: 3:30pm Location: 337 Cohen Hall, University of Pennsylvania A future five-foot shelf, a writer for Time magazine observed in 1944 of an emerging information-storage technology called the microcard, may be no bulkier than a pack of playing cards. From aviary communication experiments during the Franco Prussian war to the Belgian knowledge-proscenium, the Mundaneum, to FDR’s wartime archives of U.S. patrimonial documentation, the microform (of which the microcard was an outgrowth) was a burgeoning technology that formed the leading edge of hopes to contain and manage an amount of information judged to be potentially total. Originating in mid-nineteenth century microphotographs, microform technology spread episodically. By the early to mid-twentieth century, archiving the total human record became the goal a range of mid-century-modern social scientists shared and, in pursuing it, they targeted ever-more elusive elements of the human experience. Meanwhile, a visionary librarian from Connecticut, Fremont Rider, invented the particular form of the microcard, on which was stored beginning in 1956, among other things, a project archiving dreams and the elements of the subjective life. What sort of theory of technology can make sense of the microcard? What are the politics of this failed information technology?
Time: 6:30pm Place: Room 103, Mendel Science Center, Villanova University No extended biography of G.H. Hardy has appeared in book form. Two of the longer treatments in print are Robert Kanigel’s in his biography of Ramanujan (The Man Who Knew Infinity) and the preface by C.P. Snow to the Cambridge edition of A Mathematician’s Apology first published in 1967. It is not surprising that Snow would find that preface an appropriate place to reminisce about Hardy, since the Apology is the most autobiographical of Hardy’s works. In fact, it is possible to reconstruct many of Hardy’s attitudes on the basis of lines from the book, although some of those lines require some interpretation for today’s readers. This talk aims to understand Hardy’s points against the contemporary discussion of mathematics, pure and applied, and to suggest that Hardy’s arguments had a high water mark of influence that has now somewhat ebbed.
Time: 6:30pm Location: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia The oldest surviving quarantine facility in the Western Hemisphere stands stately but empty and languishing on the banks of the Delaware River not far from Philadelphia International Airport. The Lazaretto was built between 1799 and 1801 in response to a series of devastating yellow fever epidemics in what was then the nation’s largest city and busiest seaport. It bears witness to a century of immigration, disease, and public health policy amid shifting anxieties about the urban environment and threats from abroad. David Barnes explores some under-appreciated and surprising aspects of quarantine in the nineteenth century through the lens of this always controversial but remarkably durable Philadelphia institution. Registration is requested at www.collegeofphysicians.org.
The Center is delighted to announce its Research Fellows and Dissertation Writing Fellows for 2013-2014.