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Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Reading groups

Reading groups provide a useful environment for staff and students to meet regularly and compare views on writing in their fields.

Physical sciences and technology reading group

A special session of the reading group with visiting lecturer John Krige (fourth right; also forthright), May 2008

We meet informally, every three to four weeks, to discuss recent research and analysis on the history, policy and communication of technology and the physical sciences.

Texts recently examined by the group include:

  • John Krige, "The peaceful atom as political weapon: Euratom and American foreign policy in the late 1950s", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 38:1, 2008, 5-44
  • Nick Cullather, "Miracles of Modernization: the Green Revolution and the apotheosis of technology", Diplomatic History 28:2, 2004, 227-252
  • Columba Peoples, "Sputnik and 'skill thinking' revisited: technological determinism in American responses to the Soviet missile threat", Cold War History 8:1, 2008, 55-75
  • Jon Agar, The Government Machine: a revolutionary history of the computer, London: MIT Press 2003
  • Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: towards a new modernity, London: Sage 1992
  • Peter Galison, Einstein's Clocks and Poincaré's Maps: empires of time, New York: Norton 2003
  • Graeme Gooday, The Morals of Measurement: accuracy, irony and trust in late Victorian electrical practice, Cambridge University Press 2004

We also devote occasional sessions to work in preparation, for publication or thesis submission, by current members of the group. In addition, we organise occasional group visits to relevant museum exhibitions, galleries and film screenings.

New members, whether staff or student (MSc or PhD), are always welcome. For the date of the next meeting, please contact the group's convenor, Jeff Hughes.

Historiographies reading group

Does history have a future? The Historiographies Reading Group was set up recently to address the lack of direction many of us now feel haunts historical scholarship. We aim to explore new directions in historical scholarship, whilst encouraging an engagement with texts that prioritise the practice of reading.

Our project follows the core philosophy of CHSTM -- the only productive approach to historical study of science, technology and medicine is an integrated approach -- and we encourage consideration of texts traditionally seen as belonging to 'other' fields (literary, philosophical, sociological, anthropological, ethnographical, and indeed those resisting categorisation).

We meet once a month on Wednesdays: meetings are usually followed by a move to a pub, or perhaps a meal. New members are always welcome. For further details, please contact the convenor, Rob Kirk.

Medicine and medical sciences reading group

We meet informally once a month to discuss recent research and analysis on the history of medicine and the medical sciences. Items discussed recently include:

  • Jeremy A. Greene, Prescribing by Numbers: Drugs and the Definition of Disease. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, January 2007.
  • Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age. Harvard UP, 1987.
  • Frank Huisman and John Harley Warner, eds, Locating Medical History: the stories and their meanings. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 2004.

Sometimes we devote sessions to work in progress by members of the group. New members, whether staff or student (MSc or PhD), are always welcome. or the date of the next meeting, please contact the group's convenor, Michael Worboys.

University of Manchester feminist reading group

The University of Manchester feminist reading group is a friendly, interdisciplinary group that meets once a month to discuss canonical feminist texts. From Wollstonecraft to Woolf, we read to understand how historical feminist discourse influences our society today. Everyone is welcome, the group is open to all genders and all levels – undergrad and staff alike.

For now we have established a Facebook group ( where information about readings (all available free) and meetings are published. If you do not use Facebook, please contact as we are in the process of setting up an email list.

Research Associates' writing group (RAWG)

The Research Associates' writing group meets once a month at the Centre. Focusing on the practice of writing, we circulate drafts of our own papers, articles, chapters, etc, and discuss them broadly in terms of possible improvements, directions, audiences and publication opportunities.

Research Associates and Fellows from elsewhere in the University with an interest in the history of science, technology, and medicine are also welcome to attend. For further details, please contact Mike Brown.

Tea, cake and early career researchers

A monthly meeting of CHSTM PhD students and postdoctoral researchers over tea and cake. The meeting informally discusses the practical side of being an early career researcher, such as time management, advice on planning long research projects and how to get fun, useful things onto CVs. The meeting format is still under development, though it is hoped the group will become a forum for discussing common issues, as well as a network to further the interaction between PhDs and postdocs.

If you are interested in joining us, or for further information, please contact Anna Carlsson-Hyslop.

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