HoST - Journal of History of Science and Technology
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Published By Walter De Gruyter Gmbh

1646-7752
Updated Saturday, 19 June 2021

2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (1) ◽  
pp. 131-152
Author(s):  
Ignasi Meda-Calvet

Abstract The histories of personal computing have been focusing lately on groups of users who saw computing as an exciting new field in activities apparently as different as hardware tinkering, coding or even playing video games. What do we know, however, about the users who did not share these interests and yet ended up using personal computers in their everyday contexts? Based on the study of the Center for the Popularization of Informatics—a Catalan institution that promoted computer technologies among diverse audiences, often unemployed and youth—this article shows how a new and heterogeneous user profile needed to be created: the “non-professional computer users.” With the increasing use of computers in the 1990s, most people employed computer technologies as a means to carry out regular duties and labor tasks performed, in most cases, even before computerization. In addition, the article suggests that computer technologies strengthened more than improved or reshaped the traditional labor processes and working conditions.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (1) ◽  
pp. 71-106
Author(s):  
Denis Diagre-Vanderpelen

Abstract This two-folded contribution firstly addresses the little-known history of an agricultural utopia that took over the newly born Belgium. The history of the Belgian sericultural utopia is not anecdotal, however, it was based on the conviction that it was possible to acclimatize exotic species. This conviction has a long history that is depicted in the second part of this research. The permanence in time of this hope is explained by various factors: famous supporters, a lexical fog, experiments considered successful, routines, agricultural crisis, etc. They kept alive the dream of acclimatization carried out by the French Enlightenment, but not only. Yet, in the first decades of the nineteenth century, the zealots of the famous André Thouin confronted those—early phytogeographers, or not—who rejected acclimatization more often. It might even be that biological nationalism militated against acclimatization, as showed the International Congress of Horticulture in Brussels (1864), which constitutes the chronological milestone of this research.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (1) ◽  
pp. 107-130
Author(s):  
Gerardo Ienna ◽  
Giulia Rispoli

Abstract The Second International Conference of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, held in London in 1931, exerted a profound influence on the historiography of science, giving rise to a new research field in the anglophone world at the intersection of social and political studies and the history of science and technology. In particular, Boris Hessen’s presentation on the Social and Economic Roots of Newton’s Principia successfully ushered in a new tradition in the historiography of science. This article introduces and discusses the London conference as a benchmark in the history of the social study of science within a Marxist and materialist tradition. In contemporary science and technology studies, political epistemology, and the study of society-nature interaction, it is no less relevant today than it was at the beginning of the fabulous 1930s. In reconstructing some important theses presented by the Soviet delegation in London, we aim to revive the conference’s legacy and the approach promoted on that occasion as a pretext to address current debates about society’s major transition toward a new agency and ways of existence in the Earth system. In particular, the London conference invited us to think of the growing metabolic rift between society, technology, and nature, and further reflects a historical moment of profound environmental and political crisis.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (1) ◽  
pp. 11-38
Author(s):  
Nelson Sanjad ◽  
Ermelinda Pataca ◽  
Rafael Rogério Nascimento dos Santos

Abstract This article gives visibility to Amazonian indigenous peoples in the global process of plant circulation and associated knowledge. The first part highlights the indigenous role in cultivating and collecting native plants, and in the processing of natural products over the second half of the eighteenth century. The second part shows that these activities were influenced by internal colonial dynamics, as well as by international relations. The case of the ayapana herb is analysed in detail. This plant became known worldwide at the beginning of the nineteenth century thanks to the interactions among indigenous knowledge, Portuguese colonial politics and the performance of military and naturalists of different nationalities. Examples like this show that, in the process of building botany, which occurred concurrently with the globalization of plants, indigenous peoples provided not only specimens that circulated around the world, but also knowledge related to cultivation, transportation and uses.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (1) ◽  
pp. 39-70
Author(s):  
Lorelai Kury ◽  
Sara Albuquerque

Abstract Approaching from an analysis of the work of Robert Brown (1773-1858) and Friedrich Welwitsch (1806–1872) on Rafflesia and Welwitschia, this article explores how the “natural method” became a tool for understanding extra-European flora in the nineteenth century. As botanists worked to detect “hidden affinities” between plants that would enable them to identify the so-called natural families to which even anomalous species belonged, they relied on comparison as their basic methodological procedure, making it essential for them to have access to collections. In their scientific writings, professional botanists tended to steer clear of any emphasis on plant exoticism. While botany engaged in dialogue with various types of approaches, the field essentially normalized the exotic. The article’s exploration of the hermetic style of scientific texts and the way botanists incorporated illustrators’ work sheds light on the complexity of the spaces where natural history was done, in a context where plants were circulating from around the globe.


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