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Department News for 2011

“Anna Zeide Receives University Exceptional Service Award”
December 2011

Congratulations to Anna Zeide who has received a University Exceptional Service Award. This award recognizes outstanding graduate student teaching assistants who, in addition to their regular teaching duties, perform exceptional service related to the education mission of their departments in the form of volunteerism, committee work, mentoring, and more.

Anna's considerable service includes: work with the Nelson Institute's Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) as a Project Assistant; helping at Community GroundWorks, a local nonprofit that connects people to nature and food; acting as a liaison with the UW GreenHouse Environmental Learning Community; assisting in her own department on brownbag panels and other committees; and giving her time in work across campus — serving as a panelist for new graduate student orientation; panelist for the 40th Earth Day celebration; teaching a course on food for the PEOPLE (Pre-College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence) program, which is a pre-college pipeline for students of color and low-income students; organizing an oral history workshop; and contributing to a Slow Food UW handbook.

Well done Anna!

“Robinson Awarded Population Health Dissertation Grant”
November 2011

Katie Robinson, a M.D./Ph.D. candidate in the History of Science, has received a 2011-2012 UW-Madison Population Health Dissertation Grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program. Robinson plans to use this grant toward her dissertation which explores the history of the Fat Acceptance Movement and its struggles with medical and scientific communities over the last forty years. Her project offers an interdisciplinary understanding of the current “obesity epidemic.” Rather than taking the dangers of obesity at face value, she examines the creation of scientific knowledge as a contested and politically fraught process. Congratulations Katie!

“Professor Susan E. Lederer Elected a Fellow of the Hastings Center”
October 2011

Professor Susan E. Lederer, Robert Turell Professor of Medical History and Bioethics, and Chair, has been elected a Fellow of the Hastings Center. Her work focuses on the history of medical research and the use (and abuse) of the body in medicine and medical research. She brings a deep background in the medical humanities and the gifts and sensibilities of a historian. She joins fellow department members R. Alta Charo, JD, and Norman Fost, MD, MPH, as Hastings Center fellows.

Founded in 1969, the Hastings Center is the world’s first research center devoted to bioethics. Its elected association of nearly 200 international fellows performs research in numerous fields influential in bioethics.

“Numbers to be a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto”
October 2011

In the Winter of 2012, Ronald L. Numbers will be Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto in their Centre for the United States. He will teach an undergraduate/graduate course on “Science, Medicine, Religion in America” in the Department for the Study of Religion from January 31 - February 3, 2012 and February 28 - March 2, 2012.

Numbers is Hilldale Professor of History of Science and Medicine in the departments of Medical History and Bioethics and History of Science, Medicine, and Technology.

“Gregg Mitman named Vilas Professor”
October 2011

Professor Gregg Mitman has been named Vilas Professor, one of the highest honors for established UW faculty. Vilas Professorships, created “for the advancement of learning,” recognize proven research ability and unusual qualifications and promise. The individual must have contributed significantly to the research mission of the University and be widely recognized both nationally and internationally for the quality of research.

Gregg Mitman is interim director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and William Coleman Professor of History of Science and Professor of Medical History and Science & Technology Studies. He joined the faculty in 2001. Earlier this year, he was named the next president of the American Society for Environmental History. His latest book, Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape Our Lives and Landscapes, was supported, in part, by fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

“Holtz Center Travel Award to Kathleen Robinson”
June 2011

Doctoral candidate Kathleen Robinson received a UW Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies travel grant in support of her planned research work at the Dodd Research Center in Storrs, CT, and the Schlesinger Library in Cambridge, MA, to examine archival materials in the Mayer Collection of Fat Liberation. Congrats Katie!

“Schalick accepts position with the Central Wisconsin Center”
June 2011

Congratulations to Walt Schalick, MD, PhD, who has accepted a clinical position with the Central Wisconsin Center for the Developmentally Disabled, effective June 20, 2011. The Center is a state residential and short-term treatment facility for individuals with developmental disabilities, located in Madison.  Dr. Schalick was an active member of the Disability Studies Cluster at the University, through which he galvanized opportunities for the interdisciplinary study of disability history, law and ethics. In addition to teaching the history of disability within the Department of Medical History and Bioethics, he was affiliated with the Waisman Center and the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, where he both provided clinical care of patients and engaged with ethicists, policy-makers and clinicians on a variety of topics related to developmental disabilities, particularly regarding children.

Walt's dedication to treating young patients and his sensitivity in working with their families will be enormously beneficial to the CWC in his new clinical position.  We wish him well in this new direction in his career.

“Mini-Conference in Honor of David Lindberg”
June 2011

Wrestling With Nature: A Mini-Conference in Honor of David Lindberg took place on June 4, 2011, at the Pyle Center on the UW-Madison campus. Eight talks appeared on the day's schedule - seven presented by PhD students guided by Lindberg - followed by five speakers who each described "The Lives of David Lindberg." A dinner at the new Wisconsin Institute of Discovery concluded the program.

In further celebration of Lindberg's contributions to the history of science, a book titled Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science has been published by the University of Chicago Press. Edited by Peter Harrison, Ronald L. Numbers, and Michael H. Shank, the book “offers a fresh perspective on the history of science and on what it meant, in other times and places, to wrestle with nature.”

“2011 Mellon/ACLS Fellowship to Amrys Williams”
May 2011

Amrys Williams received a 2011 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship in connection to her dissertation titled “Cultivating Modern America: 4-H Clubs and Rural Development in the Twentieth Century.” Congrats Amrys.

“Mitman elected president of the ASEH”
May 2011

Congratulations to Gregg Mitman who has been elected President of the American Society for Environmental History for a two-year term starting in 2013. Mitman will be the third UW-Madison professor to lead the ASEH since the society's founding in 1977.

Mitman is William Coleman Professor of History of Science and Professor of Medical History and Science & Technology Studies. Also, he is the interim director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

“AAHM Lifetime Achievement Award to Judith W. Leavitt”
April 2011

For her many distinguished academic contributions, Professor Emerita Judith W. Leavitt was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM) at their recent 2011 annual meeting in Philadelphia.

This award is presented “to a member of the Association who has retired from regular institutional affiliation or practice, with a distinguished record of support of the history of medicine over many years, and who has made continuing scholarly contributions of a distinguished nature.” Congratulations Judy!

“Cornell College of Human Ecology Fellowship to Williams”
April 2011

Amrys Williams is the recipient of the 2011 Dean's Fellowship in the History of Home Economics from the Cornell College of Human Ecology. This fellowship includes a $6,000 stipend to support a six-week summer residency to use the unique resources available from the College and the Cornell University Library System in pursuit of scholarly research in the history of home economics and its impact on American society.

Williams is pursuing a dissertation entitled “Cultivating Modern America: 4-H Clubs and Rural Development in the Twentieth Century” that explores these ideas in the context of the youth agricultural and domestic science clubs known as 4-H. Her advisor is Prof. Gregg Mitman.

Update: On November 14, 2011, Amrys presented a talk on the results of her Cornell research viewable at

“Shannon Withycombe Named ACLS New Faculty Fellow”
March 2011

Recent graduate Shannon Withycombe has been named a New Faculty Fellow by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and will join the History department at Duke University for the academic years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. This fellowship program allows recent Ph.D.s in the humanities to take up two-year positions with an American university or college where their particular research and teaching expertise augment departmental offerings.

Shannon received her Ph.D. in 2010 with a dissertation titled Slipped Away: Pregnancy Loss in Nineteenth-Century America. We wish her well in this new position.

“Jeff Jentzen on PBS/Frontline”
January 2011

Jeffrey M. Jentzen (Ph.D. 2007) talks about his recently published dissertation (now book) on death investigation in America on the February 1, 2011, episode of PBS/Frontline titled “Post Mortem.”

“Keller receives UW Graduate School Award”
January 2011

Professor Richard C. Keller has been awarded a H. I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship from the UW-Madison Graduate School. This award is intended to recognize and support tenured faculty and is based on the quality, significance, and productivity of a nominee's research as well as the quality and programmatic value of their teaching and service. Congrats Rick!

“Colloquia for Spring 2011 Semester”
January 2011

In association with this year’s “Go Big Read” book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, the department Colloquium Series will examine diverse perspectives on the nature and implications of appropriations in science. All talks are open to the public (location). The scheduled colloquia are:

February 8 - Mitch Aso (University of Wisconsin-Madison), “The ‘Vietnamization’ of Rubber: Appropriating French Colonial Science in Postcolonial Vietnam”

March 22 - Pilar Ossorio (University of Wisconsin-Madison), “Appropriating Research Data and Medical Information”

March 29 - Bruno Strasser (Yale University), “Collecting Experiments: The New Production of Biomedical Knowledge”

April 19 - Nicholas Dew (McGill University), “Weight in the Tropics: French Expeditions and the Globalization of Science, c. 1670-c. 1740”

News from prior years:

Department newsletters:

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