School of History, Classics & Archaeology

History of Science, Medicine and Technology Group seminars

The History of Science, Medicine and Technology Group seminars take place throughout the academic year and are open to all.

Seminar description

This research group organises a seminar series  about the history of science, medicine and technology. We also have a seminar series in the history of medicine, in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and you can find details on their seminar webpage 

Time and location

Sessions take place 1.10-2pm,  in room 2.27, Doorway 4 , Old Medical School. Everyone welcome!

Event schedule

Semester 2, 2022/23

Date Speaker Topic
29 Mar

Dr Heena Heena (University of Edinburgh)

Dr Heena is a British Academy Newton International Fellow at the HCA, University of Edinburgh. Her project examines the social history of domestic servants in 18th and 19th century Awadh state in India.  

‘Time readers in Awadh: Astrologers, state, and society in Early Modern north India (1700-1900)’ 

Abstract: Astrology has been a widespread phenomenon in the Indian subcontinent. People turn to astrologers for every big and small decision, including predictions about election results, cricket matches and reality TV shows. The new generation access astrology through social media platforms such as online astrology apps, Instagram handles, YouTube videos and podcasts. What produces this obsession with future telling and astrology? Can we trace a historical tradition behind this reliance on and fascination with astrology?  

This paper examines the socio-political history of astrology and astrologers in pre-colonial and colonial north India. It focuses on the state of Awadh, which emerged as an independent kingdom after the fall of Mughal rule and was annexed by British officials in 1856. The paper attempts to unravel the diverse perceptions and usage of astrology in contemporary society and politics. It answers why and how the Awadh royal state, nobles, and common citizens patronized astrologers even at a time when strong reservations came from Wahabi puritans and British official/non-official persons. The paper adds to the historiography of India’s transition to British colonial rule during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by highlighting fluctuations in concepts and ideas about religion, science, and modernity.  

12 Apr

Mark Hersey (Mississippi State University)

Mark Hersey is an environmental and landscape historian, especially of the American South, with strong interests in the history of science too. We’ll be having a wideranging, informal conversation, using Mark’s recent publication as a prompt: “Shared Ground: Between Environmental History and the History of Science,” History of Science 57 (2019). 

‘Emerging trends in history of environment and history of science—A conversation’


19 Apr

Dr James Bradley (University of Melbourne)

James Bradley is senior lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne. Initially a historian of sport, following his PhD at Edinburgh he worked at the Wellcome Unit (Glasgow), before moving to Australia. He is currently in Edinburgh finishing off a biography of the Scottish surgeon and anatomist Charles Bell before undertaking an oral history of post-World War II psychiatry.

‘Demanding characteristics: Psychology, psychiatry and the therapeutic practices of Martin T. Orne’ 

26 Apr

Philippe Schmid (IASH)

Philippe is the Centre for Research Collections Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh. For more, see 

‘Broker of practice: Colin Campbell and the Early Modern mathematical community’ 

Semester 1, 2022/23

Date Speaker Topic Register
Mon 31 Oct

Daniel Margocsy (University of Cambridge)

‘Finding God in Kerala: Natural History and the Production of the Hortus malabaricus’ 

Co-organised with the History Research seminars

NB 4:10-6pm 

Sydney Smith Lecture Theatre, Doorway 1, Old Medical School


Wed 9 Nov

Brad Bow (University of Aberdeen

‘Race in the American enlightenment’ 

NB 1:10-2:00pm 

50 George Square, room G.05

Further information

Please contact the organiser if you have any questions.

Dr Zubin Mistry (BA, MA, PhD)

Lecturer; Early Medieval European History

  • University of Edinburgh
  • School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Contact details

Dr Richard Oosterhoff

Lecturer in History; Early Modern Europe

  • University of Edinburgh
  • School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Contact details

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The School of History, Classics and Archaeology offers an exciting programme of seminars across many subjects areas. Visit the research seminars website to find out what else is happening.