Going Viral - Day 1

Friday 5 June, 14:00-17:30 (UK time) & Friday 12 June, 14:00-17:50 (UK time)

This event will take place online with Zoom
Please register by emailing hsmt@history.ox.ac.uk to receive the Zoom link and joining details

History of Science, Medicine, and Technology Postgraduate Conference 2020

Going Viral

Friday 5 June 2020 - Day 1

Welcome to the 2020 History of Science, Medicine, and Technology Postgraduate Conference. These days there is only one story that dominates the news, and only one place to discuss it: Covid-19 and the internet. In “Going Viral” we take you on a scholarly journey through four stages of a pandemic in the age of social media. Guiding you on this journey are one DPhil, two MPhil and nine MSc students from four different continents and a variety of institutional backgrounds. Although most of us have trained as historians, we also have backgrounds in gender studies, immunology, and physics. HSMT is an expansive and constantly evolving area of scholarship; this is reflected in our selection of research projects. Taking you up to 1800 you will hear about natural philosophy in seventeenth-century England, and eighteenth-century botanical collecting practices, anatomical waxworks, and static electricity. Taking you through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries you will hear about public health in India, medical debates around transsexualism and physical education programs in the United States, cybernetics, and the history of lab mice. Like many areas of daily life, scholarship too has needed to adapt to a world consumed by a pandemic and a society which has transposed itself onto the internet (with varying levels of success). With this in mind we took the opportunity to find new and perhaps unusual ways of connecting our projects. Like most history, this conference is therefore as much a reflection of the present as it is an exploration of the past. We hope you find our panels thought-provoking. Please do not forget to wash your hands regularly.


Friday 5 June – Day 1


Zoom Login Open


Opening Remarks: Professor Mark Harrison


Session One – Trending



Jessica Simkiss
Kenelm Digby’s perplexing ontology of rarity and density: physics and metaphysics in early-modern English matter theory



Levi Hord
Medical conceptions of “desire” in establishing authenticity in diagnostic criteria for transsexuality, 1952-1979



Nikita Arora
Medicine gone ‘soft’: a case study of Lady Dane Rani Suraj Kaur Hospital, Faridkot, India (1898-1946)



Chair: Floris Winckel


Screen Break – Optional HSMT Zoom Scavenger Hunt


Session Two – Social Networks



Anneliese Schaaf
“Men of Paracelsus’ Mind”: negotiating intellectual boundaries & unorthodox philosophy in seventeenth-century England



Madeline White
The business of botany: botanical collection, scientific communities, and the East India Company in the early 18th century



Matt Calow
Rhetoric or reality? Changing priorities for rural health in the Central Provinces of British India, 1890-1939



Chair: Alan Yang