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Australasian Association for the History,
Philosophy and Social Studies of Science

Issue No.49, March 1995 (ISSN 0158 9040)

Edited by Tim Sherratt on behalf of AAHPSSS.

HPS Melbourne Report

HPS at Melbourne is always an exciting place to be, and right in the middle of preparing this report I was delighted to receive an official memorandum (which I am pleased to share with you) from the manager of our record services telling me of the existence of a new form to be added to our collection (now occupying two drawers of our filing cabinets): a 'Request for Archived Student Files Form'. Now beat that!

The reason that I (in particular) was privileged to get this little fillip to my day is that I am currently acting Head while Rod Home is away (Germany, Minnesota and London for the year from mid-94 to mid-95) buying his next BMW. Howard Sankey is also away on study leave at Pittsburgh for first half of this year, but is apparently content to make do with his '62 Valiant V8.

Homer Le Grand is still Dean of the Arts Faculty, and is also famous for his vehicular tastes, as those of you who catch up on gossip via the Campus Review will perhaps recall.

Not all the news is so substantial however. Neil Thomason has just had his continuing position confirmed; Anni Dugdale has been appointed to a 3-year position in social studies of science and technology; Warwick Anderson (a former postgraduate student of ours) has arrived back from Harvard, to take up another 3-year lectureship in the history of medicine (which is being substantially supported by the Faculty of Medicine).

Dipesh Chakrabarty (from our Social Theory bureau) is leaving us in the middle of the year to take up some flash chair in Chicago; and Henry Krips has resigned, confirming his intention to remain in Pittsburgh.

More interesting for us here perhaps is the fact that the Department is to be 'reviewed' this year, so we have something else to think about beyond where we are best able to store our forms etc., and must soon confront this huge process. It begins, alas, before Rod returns.

This will require us to think out our whole programme afresh, a process which has already begun. We have, for example, recently doubled our first year offerings, with four 1-semester units now attracting what seems to be an increasing number of students: History of Astronomy (Keith Hutchison); Human Values, Social Change and New Technologies (Anni Dugdale); Darwinism (Warwick Anderson); Philosophy, Science and History (Neil Thomason). At the other end of the scale, we are concerned at a marked decline in enrolments in our Masters in Science and Society programme.

A few PhDs have recently been completed (in the HPS section of the Department): Libby Robin (on the environmental movement in Victoria), Doug McCann (on the history of evolutionary genetics in Australia); Rod Buchanan (on the history of psychological testing). As some of you know, Libby has been dragged off to London for a couple of years. Rod and Doug are scraping together the usual collection of part-time work.

- Keith Hutchison, HPS Dept., University of Melbourne.

Published by the AAHPSSS on ASAPWeb, 18 August 1995
Prepared by: Tim Sherratt
Updated by: Elissa Tenkate
Date modified: 8 September 1997

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