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Recent News

June 9, 2022

Dear SHC Colleagues,

Greetings at the end of a challenging year. Amid awful reports from our country’s schools and from around the world, I remain grateful for the work we do as an intellectual community to increase understanding, unsettle categories of thought, and work toward a more equitable future. Thank you for your contributions to this effort.

After nearly two years of remote events, the Klopsteg series returned to campus this spring. We enjoyed presentations on apocalyptic time and biomedicine in Alaska; on the circulation of knowledge about South American manatees, Mexican agriculture, and Caribbean health environments; and on a failure of Mesoamerican artifacts and epistemes to circulate in European networks of knowledge. We initiated a partnership with the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity (CRE2) at Washington University in St. Louis, through which we sponsored a panel discussion on the publishing landscape for scholarship on race, medicine, and science, and another on the future of genomics research. I’m pleased to announce that this partnership will continue next year and am excited about the conversations it will bring to our campuses.

Organized by grad coordinator Juan Fernando León, the Doctoral Colloquium explored the literary environmentalism of Ursula Le Guin, discussed careers in academia, learned about science publishing with the co-editor of Isis and Osiris, and hosted a robust discussion of student scholarship in the spring.

In September we will welcome three incoming cluster fellows: Marquis Bell-Ard (AfAm), with interests in anti-blackness, cybernetics, and surveillance; Hugh Milner (History), with interests in climate science and anthropogenic change in early modern Europe; and Jorge Ochoa (Sociology), whose interests include the impact of HIV research on Black and Latino LBGTQ communities. My thanks to the advisory board (Steve Epstein, Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz, Jim Schwoch, Rebecca Seligman, and Sepehr Vakil) for making these selections.

Special thanks to Janet Hundrieser, who in a year of many transitions not only kept us on track but taught a workshop on Ukrainian culture, history, and the folk art of Pysanky at Northwestern. And to Sarah Carson, who will return to New England to finish her book after a year as our DUS. With mixed feelings, we learned that Charles Camic and Carol Heimer, both previous members of our advisory board, will retire this year. And our postdoc Tess Lanzarotta will begin a tenure track position at Denison University this fall. Please join me in thanking Chas, Carol, Sarah, and Tess and in wishing them well in this next stage of their careers!

Finally, please find below a partial list of accomplishments by faculty and grad affiliates … and let me know that I’ve missed.

Have a restful summer!

Warmest wishes,

Paul Ramírez

Faculty News

Ken Alder was awarded a fellowship from the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies (CCHS) to develop a new course on “The History of the Future” at NU.

Lydia Barnett’s book After the Flood was named a finalist for the 2021 Turku Book Award for best book in European environmental history by the European Society for Environmental History and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.

Pablo Boczkowski published The Digital Environment: How We Live, Learn, Work, and Play Now, co-authored with Eugenia Mitchelstein (MIT Press), and The Journalism Manifesto, co-authored with Barbie Zelizer and Chris Anderson (Polity Press).

Lina Britto’s book Marijuana Boom won honorable mention from Colombia’s national book prize in the humanities and social sciences, awarded by Fundación Alejandro Ángel Escobar. She delivered testimony on the marijuana boom of the 1970s (and drug history more generally) to Colombia’s Transitional Justice System for a case they are building about the FARC’s involvement in drug trafficking. 

Steve Epstein published The Quest for Sexual Health: How an Elusive Ideal Has Transformed Science, Politics, and Everyday Life with University of Chicago Press.

Daniel Immerwahr published "A New History of World War II" in The Atlantic and more recently an essay on the danger of nuclear weapons in The Guardian.

Joel Mokyr was one of 16 researchers from around the world named a Citation Laureate by the institute for Scientific Information.

Santiago Molina co-authored a paper in Science titled “Getting Genetic Ancestry Right for Science and Society.”

Rebecca Seligman received a two-year NSF award with Maddalena Canna for their collaborative project, “From Sensations to Symptoms: The Social Shaping of Functional Illness Experience,” a portion of which they presented in their Klopsteg lecture.

Helen Tilley took part in a roundtable discussion with Jérôme Baudry and Yi-Tang Lin, “Beyond ‘Plato to NATO’: Navigating the Global Turn in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine,” as part of the 10th-anniversary issue of the bilingual Monde(s).

Graduate News

Colin Bos was selected to collaborate on “The History of the Future,” a course developed with Ken Alder through the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies (CCHS).

Mallory Fallin will defend her dissertation, “Diagnosing the Future: Translating Climate Change into Public Health,” in August.

Dexter Fergie won a travel award from the Buffett Institute and a research grant from TGS to support his dissertation research, a Dissertation Year Fellowship from the Truman Library Institute, and the Samuel Flagg Bemis Dissertation Research Grant from the Society of Historians for American Foreign Relations. 

Livia Garofalo successfully defended her dissertation, “An Uncertain Prognosis: Critical Care in Critical Times in Argentina,” and has been a researcher on the Health and Data Team at the Data & Society Research Institute.

Gerpha Gerlin was awarded the Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group grad student paper prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology for “‘There’s Got to be More to Life than Feeling Like This’: Navigating Mental Illness Recovery Alone, Together, and in-Between.”

E. Bennett Jones was awarded the PhD with a dissertation titled “‘The Indians Say’: Settler Colonialism and the Scientific Study of North America, 1722 to 1848.” Bennett will be a Dibner Research Fellow in the History of Science and Technology at the Huntington Library next year and an NEH-ARP Fellow with the Omohundro Institute.

Katya Maslakowski was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, after which Katya will begin a tenure-track job at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2023. 

Jayson Porter was awarded a Voss Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for the Environment and Society at Brown University, after which Jayson will take up a two-year postdoc at the University of Maryland.

Rachel Wallner won a dissertation fellowship from the D. Kim Foundation for the History of Science in East Asia.

Guangshuo Yang convened the graduate conference “When They Were Pests: Human and Nonhuman Species as Vermin in History” at NU and presented research at the American Historical Association meeting on the panel “Animated Capital and Capitalized Animals: Capitalism and the Negotiation of Modern Animality in East Asia.”



September 21, 2021 

Dear SHC friends and affiliates:

Welcome back. Let me take this opportunity to offer my thanks to Ken Alder (Director) and Jim Schwoch (Director of Undergraduate Studies) for keeping the program on steady footing this past year.

For the fall, we are taking steps to ensure that in-person events are held safely and responsibly in accordance with Northwestern guidelines while striving to offer a robust intellectual and social experience. This means that we will follow the recommendations of public health experts, make adjustments as necessary, and endeavor to gather outdoors whenever possible.

With that in mind, I’m delighted to announce SHC’s fall schedule. Please add the following dates to your calendar—and send any news about awards, publications, fellowships, and other achievements to me for the website.

Fall Reception: Monday, October 4 @ 5pm (on the terrace of Harris Hall)

Please join us for SHC’s annual reception for faculty, graduate affiliates, and postdocs. We will welcome new faculty and graduate affiliates, meet incoming SHC postdoctoral fellows Tess Lanzarotta and Santiago Molina  and raise a glass to the start of the year. 

Doctoral Colloquium Meeting: Monday, October 11 @ 4:30pm (in Kresge courtyard)

The student-run Doctoral Colloquium will meet for its yearly planning session in the courtyard of Kresge Hall. Please send to me or to this year’s grad coordinator, Juan Fernando León the names of any graduate students who may benefit from a cross-disciplinary dialogue in Science Studies.

Klopsteg Series Launch: Monday, October 18 @ 4:30pm

The Klopsteg series kicks off with environmental historian , author of the multiple-award-winning Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait . Other speakers this year include Daniela Bleichmar,     Gil Eyal, Shobita Parthasarathy, Gabriela Soto Laveaga, and our own Rebecca Seligman. The full Klopsteg lineup can be found here.
Panel on Publishing with CRE2: Friday, November 5 @1:00pm (Zoom)

SHC embarks on a year-long partnership with the Center for Race, Ethnicity & Equity  at Washington University in St. Louis, with a panel on “Gatekeeping & the Publishing Landscape for Scholarship on Race, Medicine & Science.” Moderated by Holden Thorp, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, the discussion will be available via Zoom to all members of the SHC community.

Finally, our thanks to Sarah Carson, who assumes the role of Director of Undergraduate Studies, and to members of the Advisory Committee: Steve Epstein, Michael Rodriguez-Muñiz, Jim Schwoch, Rebecca Seligman, and Sepehr Vakil.

Please feel free to be in touch with me or with our administrator, Janet Hundrieser with any suggestions, questions, or concerns. Have a great fall quarter.

Best wishes,
Paul Ramírez

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