vendredi 28 décembre 2012

le retour de la biographie

The Return of Biography: Reassessing Life Stories in Science Studies

Call for contributions

Organiser: Dr Boris Jardine (Science Museum, Curator of History of Science)

Commentator: Prof. Ludmilla Jordanova (Chair in Modern History, King's College London)

Date: 18 July 2013

Location: The Science Museum, London, United Kingdom

To coincide with the close of the biographical exhibition Codebreaker: Alan Turing's Life and Legacy, the Science Museum invites participation in a one-day workshop on the role of biography in science studies.
The lived life serves as an organising principle across disciplines. We talk of the biographies of things and places, and we use personal narratives to give shape to history. Biography is central to historians' work but often unacknowledged and untheorised: it is used to inspire and to set examples and to order our thinking about the world, but is a primarily a literary mode; biographies written for popular audiences provide material for the most abstruse work across disciplines; and the canon of well-known lives dictates fashions in research.
For historians of science, technology and medicine this is a particularly pressing issue: their discipline is founded on the 'great men' account of discovery and advance, and, though that has long since been discarded, the role of the individual in historical narratives has not diminished, and heroic tales have themselves become a legitimate subject of inquiry. For writers and researchers in other fields, the question remains: how do the lives of individuals intersect with cultural trends and collective enterprise?

We invite contributions on, but not limited to, the following:
*Literary techniques in biographical narrative
*Non-human biographies (buildings, objects, ideas)
*Fictional biography
*The importance of scientific heroes in science communication
*The role of biography in collaborative and 'big' science
*Biographies as archetypes: the life scientific
*Discontinuities in working and intellectual lives
*The role of 'industries' (Darwin, Newton etc)
*The relation of named archives to historical projects.

Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2013.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, for a talk of 20 minutes, as an e-mail attachment along with your name, institutional affiliation and email address to All enquiries should also be sent to this address.

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