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Cycles and circulation: a theme in the history of biology and medicine

Cycles and circulation: a theme in the history of biology and medicine,”History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43:89 (2021), 1-39. [PDF]

Nick Hopwood, Staffan Müller‑Wille, Janet Browne, Christiane Groeben, Shigehisa Kuriyama, Maaike van der Lugt, Guido Giglioni, Lynn K. Nyhart, Hans‑Jörg Rheinberger, Ariane Dröscher, Warwick Anderson, Peder Anker, Mathias Grote, Lucy van de Wiel, The Fifteenth Ischia Summer School on the History of the Life Sciences

Abstract

We invite systematic consideration of the metaphors of cycles and circulation as a long-term theme in the history of the life and environmental sciences and medicine. Ubiquitous in ancient religious and philosophical traditions, especially in representing the seasons and the motions of celestial bodies, circlesonce symbolized perfection. Over the centuries cyclic images in western medicine, natural philosophy, natural history and eventually biology gained independence from cosmology and theology and came to depend less on strictly circular forms. As potent ‘canonical icons’, cycles also interacted with representations of linear and irreversible change, including arrows, arcs, scales, series and trees, as in theories of the Earth and of evolution. In modern times life cycles and reproductive cycles have often been held to characterize life, in some cases especially female life, while human efforts selectively to foster and disrupt these cycles have harnessed their productivity in medicine and agriculture. But strong cyclic metaphors have continued to link physiology and climatology, medicine and economics, and biology and manufacturing, notably through the relations between land, food and population. From the grand nineteenth-century transformations of matter to systems ecology, the circulation of molecules through organic and inorganic compartments has posed the problem of maintaining identity in the face of flux and highlights the seductive ability of cyclic schemes to imply closure where no original state was in fact restored. More concerted attention to cycles and circulation will enrich analyses of the power of metaphors to naturalize understandings of life and their shaping by practical interests and political imaginations.

August 23, 2021 at 11:16 am Leave a comment

My review of Jane Addams’ Evolutionary Theorizing

Marilyn Fischer, Jane Addams’s Evolutionary Theorizing: Constructing “Democracy and Social Ethics.” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019).

ISIS 112:1 (March 2021), p. 195-196 [PDF]

March 30, 2021 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

Greenhouse Book Talk: The Power of the Periphery

Environmental Humanities Book Talk: The Power of the Periphery, The Greenhouse, University of Stavanger, Nov. 2, 2020.

November 6, 2020 at 8:53 am Leave a comment

Book Talk: The Power of the Periphery

Book Talk: The Power of the Periphery: How Norway became an Environmental Pioneer for the World. Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University, Oct. 6 2020.

In conversation with Eric Klinenberg. Recording on YouTube

October 7, 2020 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

Deep Impact

Terreform ONE, Mitchel Joachim, Peder Anker, Nicholas Gervasi, “Deep Impact: Animal-, Plant- or Insect-Aided Design as techniques to mitigate stress on urban non-human species,” Topos Magazine, 112 (Sept. 2020), 32-37.

Get the Topos Magazine here.

Presenting the article at the “Critical Density: Health, Ecology, Economy & Equity” symposium. New York Institute of Technology, Sept. 30 2020, at the 14:20 mark.

September 26, 2020 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

My review of Embattled River

David Schuyler, Embattled River: The Hudson and Modern American Environmentalism, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018).

 The Journal of American Studies, 54:4 (2020), E50. [PDF]

September 21, 2020 at 4:41 pm Leave a comment

My review of The Responsive Environment

Larry D. Busbea, The Responsive Environment: Design, Aesthetics and the Human in the 1970s. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020).

Environmental History, 25:4 (2020). [PDF]

September 21, 2020 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

Design with Life Discussion

May 30, 2020 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

My Review of The Environment and International History

Scott Kaufman, The Environment and International History, (London: Bloomsbury, 2018).

Environmental History 25:3 (2020), 548-550. PDF

May 25, 2020 at 10:44 am 1 comment

Frack off!

Puppets group image

Frack off! A Puppet Play for Grown-Ups

Dialogue by Michael Dinwiddie and Peder Anker. Music and lyrics by Michael Dinwiddie. Puppets by Barbara Guzik-Budzilo. Forthcoming.

February 17, 2020 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

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