Bologna ESHS Conference


Because of the current pandemic it is no longer possible to hold the 9th ESHS Conference live in Bologna. The Organizing and Scientific Committees, together with the ESHS Officers and Board Members, have decided to hold the conference on-line.


Important adjustments will be announced shortly concerning fees, format for EC grants and deadlines (which have all been postponed), as well as technical guidelines for taking part in the conference. All participants who have sent proposals for symposia and individual papers will be informed about the new procedures for carrying out their sessions and presentations.



For more information, submission and registration please use the

conference dedicated website


The 9th International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science (ESHS), hosted by the Centre for the History of Universities and Science at the University of Bologna (CIS) and by the Italian Society for the History of Science (SISS), will take place in Bologna, from the 31st of August to the 3rd of September 2020.

The theme of the 2020 meeting is “Visual, Material and Sensory Cultures of Science”, a very broad and inclusive topic. Sessions and talks might address the history of the sensory approaches to scientific objects, their material culture, as well as the building of scientific practices based on the use of the senses (vision, hearing, touch and smell), with particular attention to the history of the relationship between the visual arts and the sciences across nations, periods, and historiographies; visual epistemologies and the cultural practice of thinking scientifically with images; and the relationship between different media (print, photography, digital imaging, etc.) and scientific disciplines in various social, political, and economic contexts. Given the developments of the discipline in the past twenty years, we see this theme as particularly topical and capable of generating broad historical questions at the same time. This theme will provide ample opportunity to take stock and reflect on “sensory cultures” and on the “visual turn”, to assess their strengths and weaknesses, but also to explore their relationship with competing or overlapping historiographical trends such as the material and global history of science, medicine and technology.

Bologna is one of the major centers for the study of the history of science in Italy, and this distinguished tradition goes back a long time. Since the later Middle Ages Bologna has been at the core of significant developments in European medicine, natural philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and a wide spectrum of other emerging scientific disciplines. Over the centuries, the city and its university have collected and preserved a vast amount of documentation that traces the practice and evolution of these disciplines within a variety of institutional and civic contexts. As a result, Bologna can praise itself for hosting some of the richest archives for the history of science and medicine in Europe. The anatomical teaching of Mondino de’ Liuzzi in the 14th century, the birth of one of the first proper scientific museums through the legacy of Ulisse Aldrovandi, and the development of mechanical philosophy around Marcello Malpighi are only three of the many scientific achievements associated with the city and its university that have attracted international scholars. By the late 19th century, Bologna hosted the first chairs in the history of medicine and mathematics, and immediately after the process of Italian unification it became one of the leading universities where different traditions in the historiography of science first developed in Italy. These traditions, now open to global influences, have continued to flourish to this day.

Important dates

  • Submission of symposium proposals opens: 15 October 2019
  • Submission of symposium proposals closes 23.59GMT: 15 December 2019 extended to 20 January 2020!
  • Submission of individual paper proposals opens: 16 December 2019
  • Acceptance/rejection of symposium proposals announced: 31 January 2020
  • Conference fees published on website: 31 January 2020
  • Submission of individual paper proposals closes at 23.59GMT: 29 February 2020
  • Acceptance/rejection of individual paper proposals announced: 27 April 2020
  • Submission of applications for Early Career Grants opens: 28 April 2020
  • Opening of registration/draft schedule published: 30 April 2020
  • Submissions of applications for Early Career Grants closes: 10 May 2020
  • Awarding of Early Career Grants announced: 1 June 2020
  • Early bird registration closes/draft programme published: 15 June 2020
  • Final deadline for registration: 16 July 2020
  • Publication of final programme: 27 July 2020