Project on Race and the History of Science

Despite its cosmopolitan nature, the academic disciplines of history of science, technology, and medicine originated as largely white communities in the twentieth century. The conceptual framing of these disciplines—their methodologies and their assumptions—is an artifact of their heritage, and the result has been that topics relating to race and people of color are marginalized here, just as they have been in the Western world at large. The bibliographies of the disciplines reflect this bias.

As a corrective, the IsisCB establishes a new project on Race and the History of Science in order to reorient our focus, where we seek out and include new material, new topic areas, and new communities of scholars that we have not engaged before. The first statement of this project was posted on June 9, 2020, and you can read that declaration here.

Advisors. This project will have an advisory task force that will supplement the work of the IsisCB Advisory Board. Currently, this Task Force on Race and People of Color includes Stephen Weldon (Editor of the IsisCB, University of Oklahoma), Rayvon Fouche (Director of American Studies, Purdue), Sylwester Ratowt (Gainesville Georgia), Edna Bonhomme (Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin), and Kristal S. Boulden (University of Oklahoma Libraries). 

Published resources. We will build the content of the IsisCB database by focusing on the addition of bibliographical resources related to people of color, race, and similar topics. Furthermore, we will find ways to bring these resources to the attention of researchers in the online Explore service (similar to what we have done with African Americans and science where we went through and brought together diverse material under a single keyword).

Essays. We intend to publish bibliographical essays on secondary sources on issues relating to race in the history of science, technology, and medicine. These essays will provide guidance to researchers, teachers, students, and others who seek an introduction to the field. The essays will be peer reviewed and published online. They will all be open access.

Other resources. We will build a resource page or series of pages that will help guide researchers toward material, such as scholarly websites, databases, archives, and primary sources, that are not cited in the IsisCB database.

If you are interested in this project and would like to participate in it, please contact Stephen Weldon at stephenpweldon @ gmail . com.