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Winter 2022 Colloquium Schedule

We will meet in person from 4-5:30 pm in Seminar Room 5288, unless otherwise noted. There will be the possibility to participate remotely. To receive the zoom link please respond to the RSVP link circulated with the announcements for the individual talks. Everyone is welcome!*

 

January 10 Charles Kollmer (Caltech)

“Industrial Accumulations: Microbes and Materials in Motion in the Late Nineteenth Century.”

Beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, across Western Europe, North America, and regions of the globe colonized by European nations, lines of scientific inquiry on the etiology of infectious diseases and the efficacy of industrial fermentations converged with longer-standing academic interests in single-celled life forms. Across varied contexts of investigation, researchers adopted similar techniques for cultivating microorganisms, developed on the premise that different varieties of microbes possessed distinctive nutritional needs and capacities for growth. To make these organisms into objects of scientific and technical knowledge, researchers assembled so-called “pure cultures” and “enrichment cultures.” These complementary approaches entailed manipulating the composition of growth media, which consisted of concentrated microbial sustenance separated from its surroundings by the walls of sealed glass containers. While ostensibly functioning to isolate cultivated microorganisms from the world outside, these containers remained in some meaningful sense porous, as researchers routinely incorporated into their growth media the products or byproducts of human affairs unfolding outside of the containers. Over the course of the talk, I will introduce several examples of such nested milieus, tracing connections between the life forms in- and outside microbial cultures. This exercise, I will argue, sheds new light on the molecular views of life that increasingly typified the life sciences over the course of the twentieth century. As researchers repurposed cultivated microorganisms as powerful instruments for probing nature’s order, they also recorded, sometimes unwittingly, a proliferation of humans’ technical interventions in that order.

Zoom RSVP:

https://ucla.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYldO6qqTkpHNUYeDeFN7a4kp65WWyWuUu0 

In Person RSVP: None – this meeting will take place only on Zoom.

 

January 24 John Di Moia (Seoul National University/ UCLA Korean Studies)

“From ‘Boxes’ to Containers: Containerization, Post-colonial East and SEAsia, and Re-evaluating Technology Transfer (1950-1973).”

When the United States became involved in the Korean War, its primary mechanism for conveying personal goods to the scene was the Transporter, a leftover from World War II, and the CONEX (Container Express) box, a predecessor to the more recent ISO (International Organization for Standardization), or intermodal, shipping container. These forms of conveyance transformed port cities such as Incheon and Busan from their recent history as part of Japanese empire (1910-1945). The subsequent “success story” of the ISO container, often told as a story of European shipping, or alternatively, American trucking, remains heavily embedded within a wartime context, in this case, the period preceding and leading up to American involvement in Vietnam (1965). A Los Angeles architectural and design firm, DMJM (Daniel, Mann, Johnson, and Mendenhall) helped to design plans for Vietnamese ports in the early 1960s, helping to ease the transition from French colonialism.

With the commitment to Vietnam, break-bulk shipping, with goods handled by teams of stevedores, needed to be replaced by containerization, especially at sites such as Cam Ranh Bay, one of the major intake points for goods. As a corollary to this rapid development of logistics, the various Asian subcontractors involved in this process borrowed and used this technology while participating in Vietnam but also while transforming their own domestic ports. This paper tracks one Korean shipping firm, Hanjin, and its use of the technology in Vietnam (Qui Nhon, Cam Rahn), and the movement of the technology to Busan by the early 1970s. Rather than a story of “technology transfer,” containerization in East Asia stands as a representative case of local actors repurposing and altering an existing technology.

 

Zoom RSVP:

https://ucla.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMpcuqppzssHNO7hqfVwu5KZZzfVRC4Mvgg 

In Person RSVP:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gxkzD1bixlgz7hBglc2qfzQBkl965ui7TtEfPmH6cIg

 

February 7 Alexander Statman (UCLA, Law)

“A Global Enlightenment: Western Progress and Chinese Science.”

 

Zoom RSVP:

https://ucla.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcvcu6hrzssGdTWwugK_tYov09nxbNnjz0y

In Person RSVP:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1E-8G-w9Sq22qwbnQFQHH_YAHkYyfkZ9fDLVn2eg1Zrg

 

February 28 Alexander Kertzner (UCLA)

“Polio, Adventism, and Rehabilitation Medicine in Los Angeles.”

 

Zoom RSVP: 

https://ucla.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUpd--qrjovGNxKoSVYViqjAr1dFmOnpzIT

In Person RSVP:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gfZeJr4ZiB3S33dD3780Pr2Vc43Xz8rRWO2uOc4jg28

  

* Please note that also for in-person participation RSVP is required. More details are circulated with the announcements for the individual talks.

Fall 2021 Colloquium Schedule

Announcing the 2021 UCLA Fall Quarter History of Science, Medicine and Technology Colloquium. All meetings will take place 4pm-5pm PST Mondays on Zoom (RSVP required). Links to RSVP for each Zoom meeting will be sent out closer to the relevant meeting dates. Everyone is welcome!

October 18, 5 pm Mario Biagioli (UCLA Law and Information Studies) “From Anti Science to Science Mimicry: Inventing Ethics in Trump's EPA.”

(please note the later time)

  • This paper moves from the recent findings of agnotologists (like the book Merchants of Doubt) about the post-WWII strategy by tobacco and oil companies to cast doubt about the scientific evidence concerning, respectively, the risks of tobacco smoking and the existence of global warming. I argue that a new chapter of that strategy book was recently articulated in Trump's EPA. This is a strategy that does not hinge on the production of doubt about the content of scientific knowledge but rather targets and transforms some of the key ethical norms of science (openness, transparency, and impartiality), effectively turning them against themselves.
  • For remote participants: Please click here to register and receive a Zoom link

  • For those joining us on campus, RSVP and symptom monitoring is required. Please be prepared to show your clearance status when entering the seminar room. Please RSVP using this form if you will be attending in person

  • For visitors coming from other institutions, please remember that UCLA has a vaccine mandate and that everyone coming to campus needs to fill out the daily symptom monitoring form which can be found here: https://uclasurveys.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3qRLtouCYKzBbH7

Nov 1 Chris Willoughby (Huntington Library)  "Collected without Consent: Imperialism and Enslavement in Harvard’s Medical Museum."

Co-sponsored with the Atlantic field

  • In 1847, upon his retirement, John Collins Warren gave his entire anatomical collection to Harvard’s medical school, including a  collection of racial skulls that would grow to include more than 150 objects. In this presentation, I will specifically analyze how skulls from the Black Atlantic were collected and dubbed “African,” attempting to erase their individual and cultural identities in favor of their  simple racialization. Specifically, I will examine the story of two skulls of African descendants, an unnamed leader from the 1835 Muslim Uprising in Bahia and another of Sturmann, a Khoe man from Little Namaqua Land who committed suicide in Boston in 1860 while a living exhibit. In telling their stories, I have two goals. First, I will posit a method for writing the history of racist museum exhibitions that does not continue the silencing of marginalized peoples displayed in those exhibits. Second, I argue that medical schools were intimately connected to the violence of slavery and empire. Through giving attention to the experiences of the skulls’ living antecedents though, I show that hidden in these records are histories of rebellion, politics, and survival in the age of empire.

  • For remote participants: Please click here to register and receive a Zoom link

  • For those joining us on campus, RSVP and symptom monitoring is required. Please be prepared to show your clearance status when entering the seminar room. Please RSVP using this form if you will be attending in person

  • For visitors coming from other institutions, please remember that UCLA has a vaccine mandate and that everyone coming to campus needs to fill out the daily symptom monitoring form which can be found here:  https://uclasurveys.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3qRLtouCYKzBbH7

Nov 29 Iris Clever (University of Chicago) "The Afterlives of Skulls: How Race Science Became a Data Science."

  • This talk will introduce anthropological practices that remain largely unexplored in the historical literature on racial science: biometrics. In the early twentieth century, biometricians analyzed skull measurements with novel statistical methods to demonstrate racial-biological differences. With skull-measuring instruments and formulas, they transformed skulls into data templates and quantified racial research. Using new archival material, the talk will also reveal how these biometric data practices challenged racist anthropology, in particular Nazi racial theories. This research thus reveals that the coexistence of antiracist and racializing practices was not paradoxical but an important feature of the anthropological study of human variation in the twentieth century.

  • For remote participants:  Please click here to register and receive a Zoom link

  • For those joining us on campus, RSVP and symptom monitoring is required. Please be prepared to show your clearance status when entering the seminar room. Please RSVP using this form if you will be attending in person

  • For visitors coming from other institutions, please remember that UCLA has a vaccine mandate and that everyone coming to campus needs to fill out the daily symptom monitoring form which can be found here: https://uclasurveys.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3qRLtouCYKzBbH7

Spring 2021 Colloquium Schedule

Announcing the 2021 UCLA Spring Quarter History of Science, Medicine and Technology Colloquium. All meetings will take place 4pm-5pm PST Mondays on Zoom (RSVP required). Links to RSVP for each Zoom meeting will be sent out closer to the relevant meeting dates. Everyone is welcome!

April 5 Megan Rosenbloom (UCLA), “Anatomized Bodies at Work: The Human Skin Book and its Implications for the Histories of Medicine and the Book.”

April 19 Gideon Manning (Cedars-Sinai), “False Images Do Not Lie: Medicine, Editors’ Decisions, and the Case of René Descartes’s Treatise on Man.”

  • How to discuss the role of illustrations in the early modern period in a way that is responsive to the concepts and vocabulary of the time remains elusive.  In this talk, which builds from the medical tradition outward, I will suggest that the technical language of historia-actio-usus (history-action-use), which originates in Aristotle and Galen and is then standardized among anatomists in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, provides us what has been missing.  I will specifically consider the case of René Descartes’s posthumously published Treatise on Man, which appeared in Latin translation in 1662 and then in French in 1664.  The original manuscript of the Treatise contained perhaps one or two images, but the text called for many more.  Accordingly, the editors had to make numerous decisions.  I will demonstrate how the language of historia-actio-usus, which Descartes also used, allows us to better understand the editors’ decisions and the many differences between the illustrations in the 1662 and 1664 editions of same text.
  • Zoom RSVP Link

May 10 Jacy Young (Quest University): “Psychology, Questionnaires, and the Morass of ‘Big’ Data.”

May 17 Bharat Venkat (UCLA) “At the Limits of Cure.”

What does it mean to be cured, and what does it mean for a cure to come undone? This talk draws from my forthcoming book At the Limits of Cure (Duke University Press, fall 2021), which focuses on the history and present of tuberculosis treatment in India. Drawing on ethnographic and historical materials, as well as film, fiction, and folklore, I examine cure in its various iterations—from sanatoriums and gold therapy to travel and antibiotics—as well as how such cures come up against their limits. Through an anthropological history, this book explores a range of curative imaginations that have taken form around tuberculosis: in debates contrasting idyllic sanatoriums and crowded prisons, through which freedom in its many forms became envisioned as a kind of therapy; in the itineraries of ships filled with coolies and soldiers seeking
work and treatment across the British empire; in the networks of scientists who tested antibiotics in India as a means of asking whether poverty really mattered to therapeutic success; in clinics  where patients were told that they were cured only to undergo treatment again and again; and in the reworking of midcentury anxieties about population growth in relation to contemporary drug resistance in India’s urban centers. A central contention of this book--and my talk--is that our
imagination of cure shapes our understanding of time: not only the temporality underlying histories of science and medicine, but also, the temporality of therapy itself.

May 24 Erika Milam (Princeton) “Afterlives in Nature: Long-term Ecological Research in the Age of COVID.”

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Winter 2021 Colloquium Schedule

Announcing the 2021 UCLA Winter Quarter History of Science, Medicine and Technology Colloquium. All meetings will take place 4pm-5pm PST Mondays on Zoom (RSVP required). Links to RSVP for each Zoom meeting will be sent out closer to the relevant meeting dates. Everyone is welcome!

Jan 11 Grace Kim (Vanderbilt), “Preserving Art, Producing Science: The Microbiological Lives of Cultural Heritage.”

Jan 25 Philip Lehmann (UCR), “Polish Steppes and German Gardens: Climate Amelioration in the Generalplan Ost.”

Feb 8 Hippolyte Goux (UCLA), "Representation and Abstraction: Economic Models and the End of Man."

Feb 22 Roundtable Past and Futures: Current Challenges in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine 

            with interventions by:

                 Terence Keel (UCLA), “The Demographic Future of the History of Science.”

                 Cathy Gere (UCSD), "The Climate Crisis and Professional Equity in History of Science."

March 8 Preston McBride (Dartmouth), "Lethal Education: Native American Boarding Schools, 1879-1934."

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Fall 2020 Colloquium Schedule

We will meet on zoom from 4-5 pm. RSVP links will be circulated with the announcements for the individual talks.


Nov 2
Ted Porter (UCLA) "Democracy Counts: On Sacred and Debased Numbers"
Comments by Amir Alexander (UCLA)
Co-sponsored by the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy


Nov 16
Book Event: Presentation and celebration of Soraya de Chadarevian, Heredity under the Microscope: Chromosomes and the Study of the Human Genome (University of Chicago Press, 2020)
Discussants: Ted Porter (UCLA) and Iris Clever (University of Chicago)


Nov 23
Taylor Moore (UCSB): "Tracing the Magical Rhinoceros Horn in Egypt: A Decolonial Materialist History"
Co-sponsored by the European History Colloquium

Regristration: https://ucla.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYsdeGurzIqGtxldiJYGsO0ROwIFjd72WeD 


Nov 30
Claire Gherini (Cedars-Sinai Postdoctoral Fellow), "Slavery's Medicine: Making Medical Knowledge from the Garrison to the Plantation in the British Caribbean, 1763-1807"

Registration: https://ucla.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMldumtpz0sEtPww5ISb-MGdBajvEwO8SZP


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Winter 2020 Colloquium Schedule

All talks are held in Bunche 5288 at 4pm unless otherwise noted.

 

February 3:   Lukas Rieppel, Brown University.

“Assembling the Dinosaur”

February 24No Colloquium TodayInstead: History Department Talk by Glenn Penny, University of Iowa and Candidate for Bruman Chair in German History. 

“Unbinding German History”

(Philipp Lehmann, UC Riverside, postponed to Spring 2020 - “Polish Steppes and German Gardens: Climate Amelioration in the Generalplan Ost”)

March 2:   Aro Velmet, University of Southern California

“Pasteur’s Empire: Bacteriology and Politics in France, Its Colonies, and the World”

March 9:   Otniel Dror, Hebrew University and UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics

"Supra-Maximal Super-Pleasure"

March 16: Deborah Coen, Yale University

“Climate Change and the Enigma of Usable Knowledge”

 

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Fall 2019 Colloquium Schedule

All talks are held in Bunche 5288 at 4pm unless otherwise noted.

 

October 21: Sari Siegel, Cedars Sinai Program in History of Medicine and UCLA

“The Recruitment and Activities of Jewish Prisoner-Physicians During the Holocaust”

 

November 4: John Krige, Georgia Institute of Technology and Caltech

“Some Challenges of Writing Transnational History of Science and Technology”

 

Saturday, November 9: 2019 UC SoCal History of Science Graduate Seminar

BUNCHE 6275, HISTORY DEPT CONFERENCE ROOM

 

November 18:  Scottie Buehler, UCLA

“Religion and Ecclesiastical Practices of Midwifery Education in Eighteenth-century France”

 

November 25: Vivien Hamilton, Harvey Mudd College

“Competing Virtues of Measurement: Physics, Medicine and Quantification in Early X-ray Therapy”