Update: ‘Asia in Histories of Science Diplomacy’ Conference

In light of current uncertainties and travel restrictions relating to the global spread of COVID-19, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the ‘Asia in Histories of Science Diplomacy’ conference. We are currently working on alternative arrangements for holding it at a later date and will provide further information once it becomes available.

CfP: Asia in Science Diplomacy

2nd Annual Conference of the DHST Commission on Science, Technology and Diplomacy

co-sponsored by The Pacific Circle

10-12 July 2020 | Beijing, China

The last decade has seen increasing interest in the concept, practice, and history of science diplomacy in international affairs during the modern period. Such discussions and debates have been dominated by ‘Western’ perspectives, tending to focus on the agency, activities, and influence of actors from Europe and North America. Yet, the danger of treating the ‘Euro-American’ context and norms as defaults against which non-Western ones are measured can often implicitly underpin or reinforce problematic value-judgements, as Phalkey and Lam (2016) have argued in relation to the wider history of science, technology, and medicine.

Building on the global focus of the DHST Commission of Science, Technology and Diplomacy’s first conference in 2019, this conference will centre on Asia, emphasising the agency, activities, and influence of Asian actors within both the intra- and inter-regional contexts of what we call today science diplomacy. We wish to address a number of interconnected questions including: what would be gained through looking at Asian history through the lenses of science diplomacy? What actors, processes, regions and activities would these new narratives encompass? Could these reflections lead to re-consider the concept and meanings of science diplomacy? 

In order to address these questions, we invite contributions exploring the entangled histories of science, technology and diplomacy in Asia. We expect contributions to involve or engage with:

  • nationalism, regionalism and/or internationalism in STM
  • official and unofficial/informal diplomatic channels
  • colonialism, imperialism and anti-imperialism, decolonisation, and development
  • alliances, non-alignment, and ‘South-South’ cooperation
  • state and non-state actors (including religious, commercial and industrial actors, international organisations, transnational networks, and party-to-party relations

We invite submission of paper proposals which include:
a title, abstract (300 words maximum), and a short CV (150 words maximum)
to Gordon Barrett (gordon[.]barrett [at]history[.]ox[.]ac[.]uk) by 30 January 2020.

Co-hosted by:
Department of History of Science, Technology and Medicine of Peking University
School of Humanities of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

CFP ESHS Bologna 2020

Call for Papers: Diplomacy and Images in Science

(Sponsored by the DHST Commission on Science, Technology and Diplomacy)

Symposium proposal in preparation for the ESHS 2020 bi-annual meeting in Bologna (https://sites.google.com/view/eshsbologna2020/home)

Deadline extended to 10 December 2019.

In recent years there has been a significant move towards a better understanding of the visual aspects of public diplomacy in an effort to demonstrate that international negotiations are more than just a “logo-centric practice”(Constantinou, 2018). Given the growing emphasis on the interaction between science, technology and international affairs, there is scope for extending this inquiry on “visual diplomacy” to scientific images and/or images of scientists and diplomats. The critical relevance of scientific images in diplomatic practice has been recently captured by US President Trump’s controversial statements, supported by a crudely assembled weather map, that Alabama lay in the path of Hurricane Dorian, a faux-pax that echoed around the globe. This is just one example of how visualized scientific data can convey messages and meanings in international affairs, especially in connection with global challenges such as climate change (Wormbs, 2013). 

This symposium aims to deepen our understanding of how scientific images and images of scientists, diplomats, and scientific practices shape diplomatic activities in public diplomacy domains and bilateral/multilateral negotiations. In particular, we invite potential contributors to consider images of science meetings with a diplomacy angle; on big science/technology artefacts shaping diplomatic relations (e.g. CERN particle collider; Channel Tunnel), scientific images playing a substantive role in international diplomacy (e.g. climatology, forensic seismology); satirical cartoons/comics referring to international events with a science/technology element. We would like such an exploration to encompass different historical periods in the modern and contemporary eras, looking for instance at the role of cartographic images and botanic illustration in the shaping of colonial and imperial diplomatic practices. The symposium will be divided into sessions covering specific topics with papers of ca. 25 minutes. We ask presenters to start with one image or set of images that will represent the focus of the talk. 

Please send proposals of max 300 words (plus a 150-word CV) to Simone Turchetti (simone.turchetti@manchester.ac.uk) and Matthew Adamson (mhadamson@mcdaniel.hu).


Literature cited:

Costas M. Constantinou, “Visual Diplomacy: Reflections on Diplomatic Spectacle and Cinematic Thinking,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 13/4 (2018): 388-409

Nina Wormbs, “Eyes on the Ice: Satellite Remote Sensing and the Narratives of Visualized Data,” in M. Christiansen, A. E. Nilsson, and N. Wormbs, eds., Media and the Politics of Arctic Climate Change: When the Ice Breaks, New York: Palgrave, 2013.

Diplomats in Science Diplomacy: Promoting Scientific and Technological Collaboration in International Relations

Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
19-20 July 2019

Day 1

Session 1: Science Diplomacy and Geopolitical Influence

● Molly Silk (University of Manchester, Manchester, UK) “China’s Space Programme as a Tool of Diplomatic Influence.”

● Doubravka Olšáková (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic), “A Matter of Politeness: The Role of Soviet Ambassadors and ‘System Checks’ in Maintaining Influence in Czechoslovak Science after 1968.”

● Toto R. N. Matshediso (Department of Science and Technology, Pretoria, South-Africa), “Diplomats in science diplomacy: Promoting scientific and technological collaboration in international relations.”

● Giulia Rispoli, (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany), “Nuclear Winter’s Ambassadors: Between Earth-System Research and Nuclear Diplomacy.”

Session 2: Academic Institutions, Scientific Societies, and Diplomacy

●Roland Wittje (IIT, Madras, India), “IIT Madras as science diplomacy during the Cold War.”

● Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen (Arctic University, Tromso, Norway), “The other American embassy and ambassador: the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo, and Yenching University (Beijing).”

● Elena Sinelnikova (St. Petersburg Branch of S.I. Vavilov Institute for History of Science and Technology of Russian Academy of Sciences), “Soviet Diplomacy and the Russian Palestinian Society: How to Use a Scientific Society in Foreign Affairs.”

● Roberto Lalli (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany), “Physicists as Diplomats: International Scientific Societies, European Integration and Prague 1968.”

Plenary Lecture

Finn Aaserud (Niels Bohr Archive, Copenhagen, Denmark), “Statesmen and Diplomats Encounter Niels Bohr.”

Session 3: Scientists and Diplomats in the Nuclear World

● Loukas Freris (National Technical University, Athens, Greece), “Alfred Maddock in Greece: Technical Assistance or Science Diplomacy?”

● Lif Jacobsen (Niels Bohr Archive, Copenhagen, Denmark), Julia Lajus & Irina Fedorova (National Research University, St. Petersburg, Russia), “Detecting the bombs: exchange of seismographic instruments between USA and the Soviet Union, 1961-1965.”

● Simone Turchetti (University of Manchester, Manchester, UK), “The Unflinching Mr. Smith and the Nuclear Age.”

● Matthew Adamson (McDaniel College, Budapest, Hungary), “Behind the smile: Bertrand Goldschmidt and the nuclear perspective of a reduced power.”

Session 4: Science Diplomacy, Advocacy, and Novel Diplomatic Channels

● Alison Kraft (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany) and Carola Sachse (University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria), “The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs: A new intersection between science, politics and diplomacy.”

● Irina Fedorova (National Research University, St. Petersburg, Russia), “Soviet Scientists’ Participation in the Pugwash Movement.”

● Lucas Mueller (MIT, Cambridge, Mass., USA), “Cancer Diplomacy.”

● Jonathan E. Forman (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, The Hague, Netherlands), “Banning Chemical Weapons: An Intersection of Science and Diplomacy.”

Day 2

Session 5: Scientists and Diplomats beyond Borders

● Beatriz M. Rius (Sorbonne University, Paris, France), “Between the oil industry and international science: the mediating and diplomatic role of marine geophysics in France during the 1960s.”

● Ariel Shangguan (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China), “The Condition of Western Learning: on China’s quest for the scientificity and universality of knowledge.”

● Fernando García Naharro (University of Flensburg, Flensburg, Germany), “Shaping the Legitimated Expert: Scientific Mobility and the International Exchange of Publications Under Franco.”

● Iqra Choudry (University of Manchester, Manchester, UK), “‘Decolonizing’ Antarctica: science diplomacy and post-colonial discourse.”

Commission General Assembly

Session 6: Agents of Science Diplomacy

● Gordon Barrett (University of Oxford, Oxford, UK), “Science Diplomacy from the ‘Outside’: Scientists and China’s Foreign Affairs Infrastructure, 1949-1972.”

● Daniel Gamito-Marques (Nova University, Lisbon, Portugal), “A Scientific and Diplomatic Scramble for Africa: Barbosa du Bocage, colonial science, and the Berlin Conference of 1884–85.”

● Maria Rentetzi & Myrto Dimitrokali (National Technical University, Athens, Greece),“What is a Queen Doing at CERN? Science Diplomacy in Greece in Early 1960s.”

● Pete Millwood (LSE, London, UK), “‘An Extraordinarily Difficult Undertaking: Sino-American Diplomacy and China’s Reintegration into Globalized Science.”

Session 7: Contextualizing National Styles of Science Diplomacy

● Martin Emanuel (National Research University, St. Petersburg, Russia), “Establishing Swedish-Soviet Techno-Scientific Collaboration, ca 1960–80.”

● Henrik Knudsen (Danish National Archives, Copenhagen, Denmark), “Rockets over Thule? The Politics of Military Research and Rockets in Cold War Greenland.”

● Eiiti Sato, Iara Leite, Nicole Gayard & Julia Mascarello (University of Brazília; Federal University of Santa Catarina; Brazilian Center of Analysis & Planning; Federal University of Santa Catarina), “Brazilian diplomatic thought on science, technology and innovation: a preliminary overview.”

Symposium: When Science Diplomacy Divides

European Society for the History of Science 8th Biennial Meeting
London, 14-17 September 2018

The concept of science diplomacy has gained traction in recent years, as the foreign offices of various nations have appreciated and begun reassessing the influence and importance of the soft power of science and technology. Scientists themselves are also recognising the diplomatic roles they have played historically and how they have contributed to global relations. This symposium (divided in five sessions), focusing on the history of science diplomacy, draws together a variety of scholars exploring different aspects of science, technology, and diplomacy at the international and transnational levels. Rather than merely echoing and reifying the scientists’ own accounts about the benign effects of science diplomacy, they challenge them with provocative case studies and newly proposed interpretative frameworks.

Session 1 (15 September, 11:00-13:00)

Matthew Adamson (McDaniel College), ‘Science Diplomacy to Stop the Science? Nuclear Promotion and Safety, IAEA Experts, and Reactor-Building in Morocco, 1978-2008’.

Ronald E. Doel (Florida State University), ‘Stimulating Natural Science Research in Cold War Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Accra: The International Geophysical Year (1957-58) in Comparative Global Contexts’.

Claudia Castelo (University of Lisbon), ‘Africa as a Disputed Site for Social Research in the Era of Decolonisation: CCTA-UNESCO Competition.’

Manoj Saxena (Kings College, London), ‘A Scientist of Consequence: Case Study of the AQ Khan Network in Pakistan.’

Erika Luciano (Department of Mathematics, University of Turin), ‘Jewish Intellectual Emigration from Fascist Italy: Global Aspects and Individual Fates (1938-1948)’.

Session 2 (15 September, 16:00-18:00)

Maria Paula Diogo and Ana Simões (University of Lisbon), ‘Cultivating Scientific and Diplomatic Networks: The Case of the Naturalist Abbé Correia da Serra’.

Luciana Viera Souza da Silva (University of São Paulo), ‘Diplomatic Accords and Ruptures: The Science in University of São Paulo from the Perspective of Gleb Watghin’s Trajectory in Brazil (1934-1949)’.

Simone Turchetti (University of Manchester) and Matthew Adamson (McDaniel College, Budapest), ‘Friends in Fission: The Brazilian Atomic Energy Project and Its Backers in North America and Europe, 1950-1975’.

Zhang Li and Zhu Yanmei (University of Chinese Academy of Sciences), ‘Experiment on Science and Technology Diplomacy: An Investigation of America sending Scientific and Technical Experts to China in World War II’.

Waqa Zaidi (Lahore University of Management Sciences), ‘Natural Scientists as Political Experts: Atomic Scientists and Their Claims for Expertise on International Relations, 1945-1947.’

Session 3 (16 September, 9:00-10:30)

Margaret O. Meredith (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam), ‘Thomas Jefferson as Philosopher and Statesman: Diplomacy and Science in the Enlightenment’.

Geert Somsen (University of Maastricht), ‘The Philosopher and the President: Henry Bergson’s International Relations Missions between 1914 and 1925’.

Elena Sinelnikova (St. Petersburg Branch of Institute for the History of Science and Technology), ‘Scientific Societies as Diplomatic Instruments for the International Policy of Soviet Russia in the 1920s’.

Session 4 (16 September, 11:00-13:00)

Roberto Lalli (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin), ‘Spacetime Diplomacy: Unifying the International General Relativity Community during the Cold War’.

Gordon Barrett (University of Oxford), ‘”In the Spirit of Democratic Consultation, Solidarity, and Cooperation”: Chinese Science Diplomacy at the Peking Science Symposia and the Sino-Soviet Split’.

Frans Van Lunteren (University of Leiden), ‘The International Bureau of Weights and Measures and the Politics of Science’.

Wallis Eckhard (Université Pierre et Marie Curie), ‘Setting Standards in Timekeeping – A Case of Science Diplomacy’.

Sam Robinson (University of York), ‘Anticipating Ocean Exploration and the Law of the Sea (1968-84)’.

Session 5 (16 September, 14:00-15:30): DHST Historical Commission on Science, Technology and Diplomacy EGM

Workshop: Science Diplomacy: Themes and Case Studies

Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM),
University of Manchester, UK
9 February 2018

In recent years a number of scholars from international relations studies and science and technology studies have started to explore the relevance of “science diplomacy” to both international affairs and 20th century scientific collaborations. This attention has seen prominent learned societies such as the Royal Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science involved in the scholarly effort to provide a novel understanding of the science diplomacy phenomenon and its relevance. It is equally true that we know far less on its dimensions and relevance in the history of science, technology and medicine. This workshop aims to start a conversation on key themes and case studies with contribution from a number of scholars elucidating on science diplomacy in the past, present and future.

Each session consists of 20 minutes papers plus a short Q&A session.

12:00 Lunch, Registration, and Introduction (Simone Turchetti)

12:35 Session One: Science Diplomacy and International Organizations
(chaired by Matthew Adamson)

  • Gordon Barrett (Faculty of History, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK), ‘From Party to Party-State: The Chinese Communist Party’s Evolving Science Diplomacy at the World Federation of Scientific Workers, 1946-1956.’
  • Doubravka Olšáková (Institute for Contemporary History, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague), ‘Science Diplomacy and Dissent Culture in Eastern Europe.’
  • Sabine Clarke (Department of History, University of York, UK) ‘Competitive collaboration: how did Britain and America deploy experts in an attempt to shape the post war future of the Caribbean?’

13:55 Session Two: Nuclear Diplomacy
(chaired by Sam Robinson)

  • Matthew Adamson (McDaniel College, Budapest Campus, Budapest, Hungary), ‘Uranium, Diplomacy, and Nuclear Reach.’
  • Simone Turchetti (CHSTM, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK), ‘Friends in Fission: The Brazilian Atomic Energy Project and Its Backers in North America and Europe, 1950-1975.’

14:50-15:10 Coffee Break

15:10 Session Three: Environmental Diplomacy
(chaired by Doubravka Olšáková)

  • Iqra Choudhry (CHSTM, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK), ‘Science Diplomacy and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.’
  • Sam Robinson (Department of Sociology, University of York, York, UK), ‘Anticipating Ocean Exploitation and the Law of the Sea (1968-84).’

16:05 Session Four: Science Diplomacy from Past to Present
(chaired by Simone Turchetti)

  • Janina Onuki and Amanda Domingues (Institute for International Relations, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil), ‘The Perspectives of Scientific Diplomacy in Brazil: The Case Study of the State of São Paulo.’
  • Sara Giorgi (independent researcher, European Medicines Agency, London, UK),  ‘Science Diplomacy in the Time of Brexit: Italy-UK Scientific Relations.’

17:00 Concluding Remarks

  • Kieron Flanagan (Alliance Manchester Business School – Innovation Management and Policy Division, University of Manchester)