reflected face image

Department Events

Brown Bags

Brown Bag talks take place at Noon on Fridays. A schedule of upcoming History of Science Brown Bags can be viewed on the History Department Events web page.

January 28 (Thursday) at 3:30 pm

“By Lesbians, For Lesbians: Feminist Activism, Identity Politics, and Health Care Provision in San Francisco, 1979-2011”
Speaker: Judith Houck,Chair, Gender & Women’s Studies and Associate Professor, Medical History & Bioethics and History of Science Depts

Location: 3401 Sterling Hall (map)

Gender & Women’s Studies Colloquium Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series Spring 2016. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (Event Poster)

Abstract: For more than 30 years, Lyon Martin Women’ Health Services has provided medical care and psychosocial services to the lesbian community of San Francisco, but over the years, the lesbian identity of the clinic has been a continuing point of contention. For a variety of reasons--to be discussed in this talk--the clinic has always treated women (and eventually men) who identify as heterosexual. Consequently, the clinic’s stakeholders have periodically wondered how the clinic’s mission fits with its practices. The clinic has wrestled with a variety of politically charged questions: Who counts as a lesbian? Who counts as a woman? What percentage of patients must be lesbian to remain a “lesbian” clinic? Can a lesbian clinic refuse to care for straight women? Who needs the healthcare services Lyon Martin offers?

This talk traces the history of this health clinic from its founding, exploring the sexual, racial, and gender politics at the center of its history. It demonstrates the instability of the clinic’s identity, requiring the clinic, its board, its staff, and its community supporters to continuously reassess, redefine, reaffirm, and reenact its lesbian focus. Ultimately, I argue that identity politics kept the struggling institution afloat while simultaneously threatening its future.
March 4 (Friday) at 9:30 am

E is for Environment”
New Vocabularies for the Past, Present, and Future: A symposium at the Center for Culture, History, and Environment on the centennial year of Gaylord Nelson.

The graduate students of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE), part of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are sponsoring a three-day symposium to explore new vocabularies for the environmental past, present, and future.

March 4-6, 2016. Free and open to the public. (Event poster PDF file)

Our own Melissa Charenko (History of Science) will be speaking Saturday at 1:30 pm with a talk titled “The Science of Prophecy: The Historic Factor and the Emergence of Prophetic Ecology, 1900-1940.”

Location and program details:

Cosponsored by Department of Medical History and Bioethics.
April 28 (Thursday) at 1:00 pm

Eighth Annual Bioethics Symposium:
Transplant Ethics: Past, Present, and Future

At the Eighth Annual Bioethics Symposium, researchers and ethicists from UW-Madison and across the nation will discuss and debate issues of organ transplantation. Each topic will allow the audience a brief question and answer session before moving onto the next topic.

Admission is free. Program details can be found at:

Time: 1:00pm - 5:30pm

Location: Health Sciences Learning Center (HSLC), Room 1306, 750 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705 (map)

The symposium is presented by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and the Department of Medical History and Bioethics.
© 2020 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents