The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) brings together scholars from diverse disciplines, including the life sciences as well as history, philosophy, and social studies of science. The biennial ISHPSSB summer meetings are known for innovative, transdisciplinary sessions, and for fostering informal, co-operative exchanges and on-going collaborations.

The 2015 meeting took place in Montréal, on the main campus of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). PDFs of the program booklet and the book of abstracts are available, as are (for now) the event website with the interactive meeting program.

Below is a pre-Meeting presentation by the local co-organising chairs as well as a post-Meeting writeup.

A warm welcome from Frédéric Bouchard and Christophe Malaterre, local organizers.

We are extremely happy to welcome you all to Montréal for the next ISHPSSB meeting, July 5–10 2015.

Montreal - Stade OlympiqueYou all know Montréal: it is a North American city with a European heart! It is highly diverse city in all respects: linguistically, culturally, and socio-economically. It is a French city in which it is easy to get around solely in English (over half the population is bilingual). And, because of its large student body — the highest proportion of student/general population in North America — it offers many affordable eating and lodging options.

Montréal international airport is within easy reach of most destinations. Direct flight times typically range from 1 to 6 hours when coming from the US, from 6 to 8 hours when traveling from Europe, and not surprisingly longer from Asia. The city’s highly developed public transit system — voted best in North America — as well as its public bicycle sharing system “Bixi” make it a very manageable city for temporary visits.

UQAM-Campus MontrealThe meeting will be organized at the UQÀM campus which is conveniently located downtown Montréal, at walking distance from the numerous restaurants and hotels of the Quartier latin. The UQÀM campus is also situated nearby one of the major subway nodes, the Berri-UQÀM station, which is directly served by the airport shuttle-bus. The financial district and its shopping areas are just a few subway stations away, and so is the old-Montréal district (a tourist favorite) and its harbour by the Saint Laurent river.

The practical organization of this event will be a joint effort of three local institutions: two universities with historians, philosophers and sociologists of science and, in particular, of biology (UQÀM and UdeM), and an inter-university research center that focuses on science studies (CIRST, whose members are UQÀM, UdeM and Sherbrooke University). We have already started to assemble a set of diverse options in terms of accommodations situated at walking distance from the UQÀM campus. This includes 3- and 4-star hotels with bedrooms ranging from $90 to $160 per night, as well as student residencies and studios ranging from $55 to $80.

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 9.59.42 PMBeing located right at a main subway interchange, the conference venue makes it easy to go all over town for a quick shopping or eating trip. We hope people will focus on the meeting, but many quick diversions are within easy reach. A quick subway, bus, or bicycle ride can take you to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Contemporary Arts Museum, or maybe a quick stroll through Mount Royal Park or in Montreal Botanical Gardens (one of the largest and most diverse plant collections in the world). And if public transit is not enough, you can always hail one of the many taxis in town to get back from one of the many (many) restaurants and bars all over the city. More importantly, you can eat very well at all price ranges in Montréal.

If you wish to stay longer, you can rent a car and you’re within easy reach (60–90 minutes drive) of the Laurentians or the Eastern Townships, where green hills and mountains are peppered with lakes of all sizes. Camping, canoeing, windsurfing, hiking, fishing, or just drinking beer(s) looking at sunsets are common summer activities. But you can also decide to stay downtown and enjoy Montréal’s numerous cultural highlights, museums, concert venues and summer festivals. Whichever option you choose, we are sure you will love it here!

Overview of the Meeting

Thanks to all involved!

This was the largest meeting yet with over 640 delegates from over 35 countries. About 40% of attendees were students, which shows how dynamic our field is. Over the 6 days of the meeting, some 530 papers were presented on a broad range of topics related to the philosophy, history and social studies of biology. Two extremely well-attended plenaries took place, one by Sandra Harding (“What is objective research for social justice movements?”) and the other by Ford Doolittle (“Hugging the tree of life”).

In addition to session-packed days, the 2015 edition included many opportunities for social interactions, from the “Welcome cocktail” to the “Pub night” — during which was awarded the “Montréal best poster prize” — and the “dining buffet”. Several other working meetings took place during that week, including several “Council meetings”, an “Early career scholar mentoring lunch”, a “Membership diversity meeting”, the “Graduate student general assembly”, as well as the “ISHPSSB 2015 Awards Ceremony and General Meeting”.

The Local Organizing Committee co-chairs, Christophe Malaterre (UQàM) and Frédéric Bouchard (UdeM), wish to thank all the members of the local arrangements team, the council and the partners of the event, including many Canadian universities, research centers, and funding agencies that have contributed to make this 2015 ISH meeting a success in the continuity of all the past meetings.