[SIGCIS-Members] International Congress of HSTM, Manchester, July 2013

James Sumner james.sumner at manchester.ac.uk
Tue Mar 20 04:42:23 PDT 2012

Dear SIGCIS members

I'm writing to draw your attention to the current call for themed 
sessions for ICHSTM, the International Congress of History of Science, 
Technology and Medicine, to be held in July 2013 here in Manchester. 
Full details are on the Congress website at

ICHSTM happens every four years and is the largest meeting in the field, 
drawing around a thousand delegates and lasting a full week. Its 
constituency is more global than most, with strong participation from 
China, South America, India and Eastern Europe. The organisation behind 
it (for details of which, see http://sites.google.com/a/dhstweb.org/www/ 
) is structured around international commissions for a variety of 
sub-disciplines, each of which contributes a "symposium" -- basically, a 
substantial themed speaker session or group of sessions, covering half a 
day or more.

However, any organisation or (if they represent more than one country) 
group of people can propose a symposium -- and that, I hope, is where we 
come in. There is, at least at present, no formal commission 
representing history of computing and allied interests, whereas SIGCIS 
is the most active international community in the field. Putting 
together a SIGCIS session for Manchester would help to raise our profile 
among the wide range of subject communities present.

It would also tie in nicely with Helena Durnova and Slawomir Lotysz's 
planned session on COMECON computing, which you may recall was announced 
on this list earlier this month. Their session has been submitted to 
ICOHTEC (the International Committee for the History of Technology), 
whose 2013 meeting will be very closely integrated with the Congress, 
sharing a venue, a single registration, and much of the central 
organisation. If we can pull together a SIGCIS session, I'll try to 
persuade the programme planners to run it consecutively with the COMECON 
session for the benefit of anyone planning a shorter trip.

And, of course, I would be very pleased to see as many of you as 
possible in Manchester, and can promise a friendly environment and a fun 
programme -- we'll be making the most of the region's industrial culture 
with plenty of excursions, and we're currently in discussions towards 
special sessions debating the relationship between historians and 
science/technology policy and showcasing work to bring history to wider 
public audiences.

The theme of the Congress is 'Knowledge at work'. Conveniently, it so 
happens that I'm the local committee representative who ended up with 
the job of explaining what on earth this means: I've put a list of 
suggested approaches on the site at <http://www.ichstm2013.com/call/>, 
but notice the customary "may include, but are not limited to" -- all 
suggestions are welcome. Possible SIGCISsy ideas might include: cultures 
of working (formal or informal) in IT production and use; the relevance 
of the fieldwork concept to our research; pure/applied boundary work and 
its relation to the shape of the computer science discipline; the 
history of debates over computer literacy in education; computing and 

The deadline for symposium submissions is Monday 30 April. We don't, in 
fact, need detailed abstracts for all papers (there's a later call for 
these), but would need a schedule of committed participants with titles, 
and an overview of the session's theme and aims. If you're interested, 
please drop me a line soon with an indication of what you'd like to 
present on, and we'll take it from there.

All best

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