Please find below a summary of 5 proposals for sessions for the upcoming 7th STEP meeting (Science and Technology in the European Periphery, Galway, 17-20 June 2010)

If you would like to submit an abstract please contact the person(s) listed at the end of each individual call.

– 1. Session: “Experts in the periphery”

The study of experts and expertise has an interdisciplinary nature, involving historians of science but also sociologists of knowledge and professions, law scholars and historians of law as well as by science popularizers and those who study the public image of science. Taking into account these studies, the main goal of this session is to explore from a comparative perspective the shaping of the experts and expertise in the European periphery, mostly focusing on the 19th-20th centuries. This session aims to further enrich the historiographical debate by incorporating the transit and appropriation of knowledge, values and practices between scientific centers and peripheries. The session will deal with topics such as how expert knowledge is appropriated in the periphery, expert credentials, the boundary between experts and lay people, the sources of trust and credibility on scientific experts, civic epistemologies, the image of experts in popular culture, expertise and deliberative processes, science and law, and the relation between scientific knowledge and other forms of knowledge in decision-making, etc.

Please contact José Ramón Bertomeu-Sánchez ([email protected]) for further details.

– 2. Session “Popularizing Science and Technology: Centres and Peripheries”

This session invites a critical assessment on the work done on science popularization during the last decade both in the ʽcentresʼ and the ʽperipheriesʼ of Europe, as well as fresh and historiographically minded case studies that will enrich our understanding of the particularities of ʽscience popularizationʼ in countries that have not been in the forefront of scientific production. Apart from taking into consideration the obvious questions of who, what, why and for whom, we would particularly encourage contributors to consider the transnational networks of translation and re-publication on which so much popularisation depended, as well as the advantages of the ʽperiphery standpointʼ when dealing with the circulation of a body of knowledge that has been primarily formed in the so-called scientific centres. Our aim is to draw new historiographical lessons that will contribute to a fertile dialogue between STEPʼs historiographical agenda and the historiography developed in the Anglo-American context.

Please contact Agusti Nieto-Galan ([email protected]) for further details.

– 3. Session “The Frame of the Nation. Science and National Identity in the European Periphery after 1945”

Science and nation have proven to be a valuable perspective in the history of science. Numerous studies have shown how closely nation building, national self-assertion and sometimes xenophobia go hand in hand with scientific endeavors, in particular in the19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Yet there are comparatively few studies for the time period after 1945. And those studies mostly focus on the period of the Cold War and militarily powerful countries. Yet what about “peripheral” countries that could not bask in the glory of landing on the moon or detonating atombombs? Did science and technology have any significance in the construction of their national identity at all? The supposition of this session is that they did indeed play an important role in the smaller and/or less powerful nations. To look at the cases of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Denmark and so on in the postwar-period might prove particularly illuminating in this respect in order to understand what was particular about these countries and the allegedly less nationalistically charged times after 1945. The goal of the session would be to come up with a broader and more nuanced picture of this period that allows for comparisons between the different countries and maybe even aims at a typology.

Please contact Oliver Hochadel [email protected] for further details.

– 4. Session “Comparative and Cross-National History of Science, Medicine and Technology”

This session assesses the need of further cross-national and comparative work in history of science, medicine and technology prompted by current perceptions of disciplinary crisis, around questions such as “big pictures”,the rise of global history, and the integration of non-Western science in the canon of our discipline. The aim of this session is to contribute to the reinforcement of STEP’s research agenda and the historiographical development of the discipline at large, by presenting papers dealing with more than one national context in comparative fashion, and including historiographical and methodological reflection on the characteristics, advantages, and limitations of this approach. The purpose of this session is neither to break national boundaries, nor to reaffirm them, but to discuss about them and through them and to show how cross-national comparison offer more accurate results than traditional approaches –explicitly or implicitly– restricted to the nation. Due to the complex nature of producing comparative research on more than one national context, collaboration between scholars from different countries –although not strictly required– is encouraged and always welcomed.

Please contact Josep Simon ([email protected]) or Néstor Herran ([email protected]) for further details.

– 5. Session “Women in Science in the European Periphery”

The aim of this session is to provide case-studies which analyze the participation of women in science from the ‘periphery’ (either within Europe or beyond Europe), and reflect on the historiographical and methodological issues raised. Through the examination of the place of women in science, as well as the shaping of the concept of gender in specific cultural contexts, we hope to enrich our knowledge on scientific cultures and their ideological underpinnings. We are particularly interested in exploring the strategies women use for legitimating themselves, their appropriation of scientific discourse or the shaping of their own, their publication strategies, their alliances (political or religious support for example), their use of networks (i.e. family, religious, political), the ways in which they negotiate with other collectives and scientific institutions etc. In respect to the ‘periphery question’, we would like to explore how these women situated themselves in the context of science and periphery, whether they used the concepts of ‘centres’ and ‘peripheries’ in their lives and work, and whether these concepts related to their gender. Apart from accounting for the make up of the scientific population in the periphery, we’d also like to account for the engendering process of science. Can we observe any particularities to such processes when standing on the periphery?

Please contact Faidra Papanelopoulou ([email protected]) or Elena Serrano ([email protected]) for further details.


Please send your proposals before 23 October (including name and affiliation, title and a 500-words abstract, making clear the relevance to the session) as a Word or RTF document to the contact person mentioned for each particular session.

31 October: Deadline for submission of papers and panels to the STEP Meeting.

15 December: Decision on accepted papers and sessions by the STEP Meeting scientific committee.

1 May 2010: Deadline for submission of final versions of papers for pre-circulation.