Thursday, August 25, 2016

Legal history meets the History of Science+

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (credit)
Are you working on the legal history of disasters, poisoning, animals, inventions, travel, hospitals, or forensic science? If so, your research probably sits at the intersection of legal history and the history of science, medicine, or technology.

This summer, we got in touch with scholars working in science-related historical fields that overlap with legal history. Our question was: what are your favorite websites in your own sub-field that could be of use to legal historians? Here's what people said--after the jump  
(* indicates special favorites).

1.      History of Science, Medicine, and Technology:
o   *Somatosphere: a very active website that’s somewhere at the intersection of STS and medical anthropology; great book and film review section, along with the “In the journals” feature
o   Whewell’s Ghost: great weekly digest (and good place to pick up knowledge on William Whewell, a cultural marker of trained historians of science)

2.      History of Science:
o    The Dispersal of Darwin: a list of HOS blogs, although now a few years old (for updated list, follow Michael Barton on Twitter: @darwinsbulldog/histsci)
o   Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Distillations

3.      History of Technology:
o   Culture Digitally: sitting at the intersection of medical/communication/information studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS)
o   The Maintainers: a new history of technology blog that should become an exciting space for LHB readers—regulation and legal action are crucial aspects of the maintenance of technological systems.
o   University of Toronto’s Technoscience Research Unit blog
o   New Books in Science, Technology and Society: a great place to keep up with the latest literature
o    Society for Social Studies of Science Backchannels: very active in the past year or so; reflections on current events, sometimes reblogged from other places; covers a wide range of topics in STS, including medicine, technology, environment

4.      History of Medicine:
o   *NursingClio: The Personal is Historical: this website is not just about the history of nursing, but about the history of care more broadly. It focuses on gender and medicine, and is particularly good at tracing the history of present-day problems.

5.      Drugs & Poisoning:
o   Deborah Blum’s website: science journalist who focuses on the history of poisoning
o   National Institute of Drug Abuse website: includes some historical content
o   Points: the blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society
o   Selected Papers of William L. White, Emeritus Senior Research Consultant, Chestnut Health Systems: on the history of addiction treatment in the US

6.      Environment:
o  Discard Studies: Social studies of waste, pollution, & externalities
o   Environment, Law, & History: already a favorite of ours here at the LHB

7.      Animals:
o   Chris Pearson’s Sniffing the Past: Dogs and History
o   Le Minh Khai’s SEAsian History Blog: Always rethinking the Southeast Asian past: touches on many different fields, including the history of animals. (Le Minh Khai is a goat. His human collaborator is Liam C. Kelley.)

8.      Disaster Studies:
o      Fukushima Forum: a tremendous resource for anyone working on disaster, although not an active blog.
o       Disaster STS Network: helps coordinates disaster researchers in different intellectual traditions, on different types of disasters, and in different national contexts.
o     Gender and Disaster Network: this website provides case material and up-to-date commentary on policy developments that address gender issues in disaster context.
o   Teach 3.11: provides access to a wide array of materials (in multiple languages) on Japan’s triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear) in March 2011
o   Marc Galanter's Bhopal Digital Archive (sneak preview): the University of Wisconsin Law School Library will launch an open-access archive of litigation-related documents from the 1984 gas leak disaster in Bhopal, India (October 2016)

9.      History of Forensic Science:
o   Proceedings of the Old Bailey: includes scientific expert witness testimony
o   Wellcome Collection website: includes resources relating to “Forensics: The anatomy of crime” (2015 exhibit)
o   Wellcome Trust blog: the leading UK-based funding body of research in the history of medicine includes blogposts on the history of forensic science

10.  Other:
o  TheAllegra Lab: an interesting interdisciplinary examination of anthropology, law, and art
o   Backlist: overviews of work on various historical themes; great to start you off designing a new course or getting a grip on the literature in a new area
o   History of Anthropology Newsletter: recently relaunched in an online format. This should draw a wide interdisciplinary audience.
o   Notches: an excellent blog on the history of sexuality

Of course, it’s important to have the relevant professional associations and their conferences on your radar. Some of the leading ones include: the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM); Alcohol and Drugs History Society (ADHS), including its journal, Social History of Alcoholand Drugs (SHAD); History of Science Society (HSS); Society for the History of Technology (SHOT); Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S); Toxicology History Association (THA); and the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP).

There’s also the generational issue. If you liked the listserv world, there are still the H-Net groups like H-Sci-Med-Tech. On the other hand, you may have moved ahead to Twitter. A number of our correspondents felt that the real action is on Twitter, not on the blogosphere. Some people and organizations to follow include: @ChemHeritage, @darwinsbulldog/histsci@deborahblum@drughistory, @ExploreWelcome@FearLoathingBTX@HSciMedTech@Jonathan_Saha@KaraWSwanson, @LeMinhKhai@maiasz@ManCHSTM, @NotchesBlog@nursingclio@PointsADHS, @pemberton_neil, @PublicDomainRev, @SniffThePastDog, @somatosphere, @statnews, @WellcomeLibrary.