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Conference hodgepodge — everything ‘laboratorial’

Posted Jan 23 2011 7:51am

Sometimes conferences are just too vague and unfocused for my taste — like the 7th Laboratory History Conference in Leuven, 6-8 June 2011, hosted by the Research Unit Cultural History after 1750 at the University of  Leuven:

The aim of the conference is to investigate the history of the modern laboratory in relation to its institutional environment, ranging over national styles of research, different disciplines and both formal and informal functions. We welcome contributions that address such topics as the early modern laboratory; the laboratory in the colonial and developing world; field stations, observatories, research vessels and other non-traditional laboratories; the practice of testing, measuring and quality control; biomedical laboratories and clinics; virtual laboratories and the cultural representation of the laboratory. We are also interested in papers that discuss strategies for documenting the history of the laboratory, such as oral sources, archives, photography, and ‘born digital’ records.

It covers a long time-span, many different disciplinary contexts, anything from field stations to virtual labs, etc. Could be interesting if there were a theoretical focus that could keep all this historical diversity together. Now it looks like a hodgepodge of everyting ‘laboratorial’. I think I’ll refrain (and by the way, deadline for abstracts was a week ago).

The two earlier conferences in the series were organised in Baltimore (2009) and Brookhaven (2010).

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