8th  European Spring School
oN History of Science and Popularization











Maó (Menorca), 14-16 May 2015



Institut Menorquí d’Estudis (IME)

Societat Catalana d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica (SCHCT)

European Society for the History of Science (ESHS)


Organized by: José Ramón Bertomeu Sánchez and Ximo Guillem-Llobat

More information about grants and inscriptions


In recent decades, studies on experts and environmental history have become blooming areas of research placed at the crossroad of many academic traditions including history of science, technology and medicine. Studies on expertise and experience were once dubbed as the “third wave of science studies” (Collins and Evans, 2003). Numerous workshops and meetings have been organized around the problems of legitimation, authority, credibility and extension of expert knowledge in different social and cultural environments: criminal investigation departments, patent and tort litigation, advisory committees, think tanks, international organizations, industry, etc. A large number of papers, collective publications and monographs have been published on these topics during the last decade from a broad variety of perspectives ranging from Collins and Evans (2007) to Oreskes and Conway (2010). Enviromental history has also experienced an outstanding growth in the last decade, as can be clearly perceived throughout the numerous and successful initiatives promoted from the American and the European Societies for Environmental History.  Many of the studies focus on the interaction among the actors (experts, activists, NGOs, stakeholders, industry, government, etc.) involved in the process of regulating toxic products


Different perceptions of toxicants and their risks, cultures of risk assessment and civic epistemologies have been mostly studied in contemporary societies. More recent studies have shown the long roots of “risk society” before the twentieth-century (Fressoz, 2012, Le Roux, 2011). Other authors have reviewed the role of industry in making both knowledge and ignorance about toxicants, sometimes promoting public debates on the uncertainties concerning the causal connections between toxic products and health problems (Markowitz-Rosner, 2002; Proctor- Schiebinger, 2008, Oreskes-Conway, 2010, etc.). The limits of the legal systems (tort litigation) in preventing and managing risks from toxicants has been analysed by historians and philosophers of law (Cranor, 1993, 2011). Many of the studies are focussed on a particular product and its regulation, for instance, lead (Markowitz-Rosner, 2013), tobacco (Proctor, 2011), DDT (Kinkela, 2011), radioisotopes (Creager, 2013), hormone disruptors (Langston, 2010), fumes (Mosley, 2001; Uekoetter, 2009, Le Roux, 2011), etc. These and many other perspectives on environmental history and recent studies on expertise and experience have converged into a fascinating domain, which we would like to explore in the 8th European Spring School in History of Science and Popularization. The thrust of this School emerged during the seminars onToxic Atmospheres” which were organized between 2012 and 2014 in Valencia.


As in previous years, the School is structured in three key-note lectures and a research workshop. The common topics are the mentioned issues regarding the regulation and risk management of toxics from the perspective of different actors (industry, government, experts, activists, stakeholders, patients, etc.) during the last two centuries (1800-2000).  The keynote lectures will be delivered by three outstanding scholars covering three particular toxics (fumes, pesticides and lead) from the beginning of nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century.       


Thomas Le Roux (Centre de Recherches Historiques, CNRS/EHESS) Fumes: the great shift of risk management (France, Great Britain, 1750-1850)
Nathalie Jas (RiTME Research Unit, INRA) Pesticides. How and why regulating "unruly technologies"? An historical analysis.

Gerald Markowitz (John Jay College and Graduate Center, CUNY) Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of Children

Andrew Cunningham (University of Cambridge): “Mercury Rising, Mercury Falling” 


The workshop “Living in a Toxic World” is addressed to postgraduate students and young scholars interested in topics related to environmental history, risk management, experts and toxics. Papers are expected to cover issues related to the regulation of toxics, public controversies, activism, public health, toxic torts and so on. They may be focused on a particular substance or group of products: chemicals, drugs, tobacco, cosmetics, pesticides, fumes, air and water pollution, fertilizers, asbestos, food adulterants and additives, genetic modified organisms, nanomaterials, criminal poisons, etc.  Participants are expected to address historiographical problems concerning toxicants, for instance:



·          Regulation: definitions, approaches and standardization

·          Risk: assessment, management and control.

·          Experts: authority, legitimacy and extension.

·          Money: Industry, agriculture, science and economy

·          Public health: diseases, proofs and regulations.

·          Law: toxic torts, lawyers and litigation

·          Activism: Social groups, litigation and experts

·          Controversies: Academic and public debates

·          Circulation: Toxics in a global world.

·          Academics: activists, litigation and historical research


Proposals of approximately 500-600 words summarizing the contents of the paper, historical actors, main focus and general approach, accompanied by a brief CV (one page) of the author(s), are due by October 1, 2014. A limited number of grants (covering lodging and meals) might be available for those presenting papers. Please direct proposals or queries to Ximo Guillem (ximo.guillem@uv.es) and José Ramón Bertomeu-Sánchez (bertomeu@uv.es)

Further information:    [+]




Toxicants, Health and Regulation since 1945. Edited by Soraya Boudia and Nathalie Jas. Pickering & Chatto: London. 2013.

Powerless Science? Science and Politics in a Toxic World. Edited by Soraya Boudia and Nathalie Jas. Berghahn Books: London. 2014.

“Essay Review. Chemicals and Environmental History”, By Nathalie Jas. Ambix 61 (2), (2014): 194-198.

Common Ground: Integrating the Social and Environmental in History. Edited by Geneviève Massard-Guilbaud and Stephen Mosley. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle. 2011.


Lead Wars. The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children. By Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. University of California Press and Milbank Memorial Fund: New York. 2013.

Deceit and Denial. The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution. By Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. University of California Press and Milbank Books: New York. 2002.

Débordements industriels : environnement, territoire et conflit (XVIIIe-XIXe siècle). Edited by Thomas Le Roux et Michel Letté. Presses universitaires de Rennes: Rennes. 2013


Le laboratoire des pollutions industrielles : Paris, 1770-1830. By Thomas Le Roux. Albin Michel: Paris. 2011.

Golden holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. By Robert N. Proctor.  University of California Press: Berkeley. 2011.

Toxic Airs. Body, Place, Planet in Historical Perspective. Edited by james Rodger, Ann Johnson. University of Pittburgh: Pittburgh. 2014.


The Turning Points of Environmental History. Edited by Frank Uekoetter. University

of Pittsburgh Press : Pittsburgh, Pa. Published in cooperation with the Rachel Carson Center, 2010.





  1. Museums (May 17-19, 2001)
  2. Journalism (April 3-5, 2003)
  3. Cinema (April 14-16, 2005) 
  4. Publicity and Propaganda (May 17-19, 2007)
  5. Radioactivity in the Public Sphere (May 21-23, 2009)
  6. Visual Representations in Science – (May 19-21 May, 2011)
  7. Science on Television (May 16-18, 2013)


Former lecturers



Bleichmar, Daniela (University of South California, USA),

Benet, Vicente (Universitat Jaume I, Castelló, Spain)
Bennett, Jim (University of Oxford, England)
Brenni, Paolo (Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze, Italy)
Cantor, Geoffrey (University of Leeds, England)

Hentschel, Klaus (Universität Stuttgart, Germany)

Hopwood, Nick (University of Cambridge, UK).

Jurdant, Baudouin (Université de Paris VII, France)
Martinet, Alexis (Institut de Cinématographie Scientifique, Meudon, France)

Menéndez Navarro, Alfredo (Universidad de Granada, Spain)
Olmi, Giuseppe (Università di Bologna, Italy)
Pickstone, John (University of Manchester, England)
Rasmussen, Anne (Université de Strasbourg, France)

Soubiran, Sébastien (Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France)
Smith, Melissa (University of Manchester, England)

Tansey, Tilli (Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, London, England) 
Walker, Mark (Union College, Schenectady NY, USA)
Weinants, Thomas (Visual Media, Belgium)
Weingart, Peter (Bielefeld Universität, Germany)




For further information please contact:


Ximo Guillem, ximo.guillem@uv.es

José Ramón Bertomeu Sánchez, bertomeu@uv.es


Institut Menorquí d'Estudis
Camí des Castell, 28
07702 Maó (Menorca)
Tel.: 971 35 15 00
Fax: 971 35 16 42



Institut d’Estudis Catalans
Societat Catalana d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica
del Carme 47 – 08001 Barcelona
Tel.  +34 93 324 85 81
Fax: +34 93 270 11 89


Institut d'Història de la Medicina i de la Ciència "López Piñero"

Universitat de València-CSIC

Plaça Cisneros, 4

46003 VALENCIA (Spain)

TF: + 00 34 963926241 / 963864164