This term we are lucky enough to have Professor Miriam Levin, (History, Case Western Reserve University) visiting the HPS department in Cambridge.

The first meeting of a graduate seminar/workshop on “Science and Technology in the Context of International Expositions” with Miriam and myself will take place next week on Wednesday 6 May at 11am-12:30pm, meeting in the New Gallery of the Whipple Museum/HPS Department. Later meetings will take place on Tuesdays, and the programme is attached.

We look forward to seeing you there! All are welcome.


Workshop/graduate seminar

Science and Technology in the Context of International Expositions

Miriam Levin and Richard Staley

These four workshops will be devoted to discussing the history, aims, methods and problems of studying International Expositions from the perspective of the history of science and technology.  We will consider four different expositions, each from a different perspective based in part on themes emphasized by organizers and on the historical import of the exhibitions themselves.  Each workshop will have a small number of designated readings for discussion, accompanied by suggested ancillary readings and image sources.  The four meetings are on:

1      The Great Exhibition of 1851. Stuff and Knowledge: The Great Organizing Project (Wed. 6 May)
2      Paris 1900. Modernity and War (Tues. 12 May)
3      Saint Louis 1904. Exhibiting Exhibitions; Exhibiting People (Tues. 19 May)
4      Brussels 1958. Cold War Ideologies of Science and Technology (Tues. 26 May)

Note: The workshop meets on Tuesdays, with the exception of the first meeting on Wed. 6 May; all meetings take place at 11am-12:30pm in the New Gallery, Whipple Museum/HPS Dept, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RH.
Starred readings (and most others) are available at the Whipple Library.

All are welcome!

1.  The Great Exhibition of 1851. Stuff and Knowledge: The Great Organizing Project (Wednesday 6 May, 11am-12:30pm)

*Charles Dickens, “The Catalogue’s Account of Itself,” in Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations 1851. Corrected edn. (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011), at end of book. Peruse catalogue’s organization and exhibit categories. Access by CUL:|eresources|223226

*William Whewell, “The General Bearing of the Great Exhibition on the Progress of Art and Science,” in Lectures on the results of the Great exhibition of 1851, delivered before the Society of arts, manufactures, and commerce, at the suggestion of H. R. H. Prince Albert (London, 1852), in Geoffrey Cantor, The Great Exhibition: A Documentary History (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2013), vol. 4, pp. 405-423.

Pieter van Wesemael, “Objects of Research,” Architecture of Instruction and Delight: A Socio-historical Analysis of World Exhibitions as a Didactic Phenomenon (1798-1851-1970), English ed. (Rotterdam: Uitgeverij 010, 2001), pp. 19-26, 33-Charts, 669-672.

Alexander Geppert, "Introduction: How to Read an Exposition,” Fleeting Cities: Imperial Expositions in Fin-de-Siècle Europe (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 1-15.

2. Paris 1900. Modernity and War (Tuesday 12 May, 11am-12:30pm)

*Miriam R. Levin,  “Introduction,” and “Bringing the Future to Earth in Paris, 1851-1914,” in Urban Modernity: Cultural Innovation in the Second Industrial Revolution (Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press, 2010),

*A. Lawrence Rotch, “The International Congresses of Meteorology and Aeronautics at Paris,” Science, New Series, Vol. 12, No. 308. (Nov. 23, 1900), pp. 796-799. Stable URL:

Whipple Library books and exhibit materials from 1900: The New Age (Cambridge: Whipple Museum of the History of Science, 1995).

3.  Saint Louis 1904. Exhibiting Exhibitions; Exhibiting People (Tuesday 19 May, 11am-12:30pm)

*Julie K. Brown, Introduction,” and “Presentations for the Public Eye: Exhibits and Exhibitors at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition,” in Health and Medicine on Display: International Expositions in the United States, 1876-1904 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009).

Mark Dryeson, “The ‘Physical Value’ of Races and Nations: Anthropology and Athletics at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition,” in Susan Brownell, ed. The 1904 Anthropology Days and Olympic Games: Sport, Race, and American Imperialism (Lincoln/London: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2008), pp. 127-155

Greg Allen, “’Living Exhibits’ at 1904 World's Fair Revisited: Igorot Natives Recall Controversial Display of Their Ancestors,” National Public Radio broadcast 31 May 2004,

*Nancy J. Parezo, and Don D. Fowler, “In the Anthropology Building,” in Anthropology Goes to the Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase ExpositionCritical studies in the history of anthropology (Lincoln, NE/London: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2007), pp. 295-323.

4. Brussels 1958. Cold War Ideologies of Science and Technology (Tuesday 26 May, 11am-12:30pm)

*Robert Kargon, “Epilogue,” in World’s Fairs on the Eve of War: Science, Technology, and Modernity, 1937-1942 (in press) (the second half of the essay is most relevant).

Susan Reid, “The Soviet Pavilion at Brussels ‘58: Convergence, Conversion, Assimilation or Transculturation?” Cold War International History Project, Working Paper #62, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC, December 2010,

*Brigitte Schroeder-Gudehus and D. Cloutier, “Popularizing Science and Technology during the Cold War: Brussels 1958,” in Robert Rydell, ed Fair Representations (Amsterdam: V.U. Press, 1994), pp. 157-180.

Dr Richard Staley
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Cambridge
Free School Lane
United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0)1223 334555
Fax: + 44 (0)1223 334554