+++ apologies for cross-posting +++

Dear colleagues,

I would like to draw your attention to the call for papers for the 
session proposal on the power of the historiography of science for the 
ESHS conference in Prague in September 2016, put forward by Zhihui Chen 
(SAW, Paris), Jiri Hudecek (Prague) and Martina Schneider (Mainz). For 
details please see below.
We would like to invite you to contribute to the session. Since the 
application deadline is approaching soon, we would need to receive your 
proposed talk (title and short abstract) until Friday December 4, 2015.
I am looking forward to your proposals.

Kind regards,
Martina Schneider
(for the organising team)

+++ Call for Papers +++

  The power of the historiography of science

Organized by Zhihui CHEN (SAW, Paris 7 Diderot, France), Jiří Hudeček 
(Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic) and Martina R. Schneider 
(SAW, Paris 7 Diderot, France; University of Mainz, Germany)

It is well known that history of science played and continues to play an 
important role in the processes of nation building. For example, 
histories of the sciences in Germany were published exactly at the time 
when the German nation state came into being. However, there are also 
various other ways how state and history of science interact with each 
other. This is illustrated by the fact that the history of the 
mathematical sciences was part of the topics to be studied for a state 
examination to become civil servant in late imperial China for a short 
period of time. This is likewise illustrated by how in the context of 
the professionalization of the history of science in Republican and 
People’s Republican eras of China, the history of mathematics and the 
history of astronomy became entangled with political power.

Theseexamples point to a larger issue at stake, namely the power (and/or 
powerlessness) of the historiography of science in general. What kind of 
powers, real or (self-)ascribed, do the historians and the histories of 
science have? In what way do the actors themselves perceive and reflect 
upon matters of power? How are these issues reflected in how they carry 
out research and write about the history of science? How can their 
impact be detected, e.g., in the shaping of certain narratives, in the 
promotion of specific topics of discussion and methodologies, and in 
mobilizing research resources? The power of the history of science can 
probably best be captured in contexts in which alternative 
historiographies exist. One might, for instance, inquire into the 
dynamics between the centers and margins of historiography of science. 
One might also analyze how alternative counter-histories change the 
historical discourse.

In this session we start exploring some of these questions focusing on 
the last two centuries. The approach from the perspective of power 
allows us to reverse the common perspective, which treats historiography 
of science as a passive recipient of “influences” and “motivations” from 
outside; instead, we can study it as an active factor which aims to 
influence social consciousness and practice.


Martina R. Schneider

AG für Geschichte der Mathematik und der Naturwissenschaften
Institut für Mathematik
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Staudinger Weg 9
55099 Mainz