History of Science, Medicine, and Technology Postgraduate Conference 2018

With panels on:

  • Early modern natural philosophy
  • Modern science
  • Psychology
  • Public health and colonialism
  • Reproduction and eugenics

The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology is an ever-expanding discipline. This two-day conference allows Oxford postgraduate students in the field to present their research, covering a broad chronological, geographic, and thematic scope. Panel topics range from early modern ideas to public health, with individual papers covering subjects as diverse as reproductive technology, honeybee diseases and twentieth-century scepticism about science – truly offering new perspectives, as questions fundamental to the history of science and medicine are explored and examined.

All welcome.  Admission and lunch are free, but registration is essential. To register please contact belinda.clark@wuhmo.ox.ac.uk by 14:00 31 May.



Thursday, 7 June







Opening Remarks: Rob Iliffe, Professor of the History of Science, Oxford



Session One – Early Modern Natural Philosophy


Natasha Bailey, The strange force of fascination”: Alexander Ross and natural philosophy


Lucia Bucciarelli, Disseminating scientific knowledge: the role of discipleship in the early modern period


Michelle Pfeffer, Heterodoxy and historical argument: the physician William Coward studies the soul


Chair: Rob Iliffe







Session Two – Modern Science


Constance Hardesty, Who decides? Public opinion versus the Royal Society in the eighteenth-century lightning rod controversy


Johann Gaebler, Calculus of the mind: George Boole and The Laws of Thought


Patrick Lee, Stellar Atmospheres: Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, historical receptions, and ascribing scientific priority


Chair: Michelle Pfeffer







Session Three – Sexuality, Reproduction and Eugenics


Alicja Howard, The sex glands: paradigms of sexuality and gender in the quest for rejuvenation


Nick Logan, Overcorrecting cruel science in post-war America


Angela Yu, Frozen futures: “reproduction without sex” and the single girl


Chair: John Shepherd








Session Four – Psychology and Criminality


John Shepherd, Tracing the criminal subject: theories of crime and the practice of prevention in Berkeley, California, c.1910-40


Alexandra Ackland-Snow, Surgical, chemical, psychological, behavioural: the concept of “restraint” in the medicalisation of paedophilia in the twentieth century


Henry-James Meiring, Politics and psychoanalysis in Africa: the birth and death of institutional psychoanalysis in South Africa, 1929-50


Chair: Angela Yu




Closing Remarks: Sloan Mahone, Associate Professor of the History of Medicine, Oxford

Friday, 8 June



Opening Remarks: Erica Charters, Associate Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Oxford Centre for Global History, Oxford



Session Five – Health and Colonialism


Rhiannon Bertaud-Gandar, Sharing sanitary intelligence in the Red Sea, ca. 1865-1914


Ho Hee Cho, British-Commonwealth initiatives in international medical cooperation and the Second World War


Frank Vitale IV, Counting Carlisle’s casualties: multiple methods for measuring mortality at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918


Chair: Ethan Friederich







Session Six – Medicine and Disease Control


Ethan Friederich, Plantations, policy and public health: a history of malaria in Assam 1919-39


Josefine Lochen, The World Health Organization, leprosy and the saga of multidrug therapy


Chair: Frank Vitale IV




Closing Remarks: Mark Harrison, Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford