This field of research, which has been one of the MFO’s areas of research since the beginning of the 2000s, is managed by the History of Science steering committee. Since September 2020 Judith Rainhorn, a Professor in Modern History at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and historian of 19th-20th centuries history of urban societies, environment and the medical knowledge, has been in charge of History and History of Science programme at the MFO.
The MFO works closely with the Faculty of History of the University of Oxford, namely the Oxford Centre for History of Science, Medicine and Technology, as well as with Oxford Brookes University. They are striving to increase the number of partnerships with various institutes around Oxford and other cities in the UK.
Since January 2018 a yearly programme has been set up for visiting scholars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology, affiliated to Wolfson College over the Hilary, and now Trinity term (April to June).
At the crossroads of the History of science, the history of technology and human sciences, the history of environmental and industrial diseases, this area of research aims at fostering transverse approaches to disciplines in humanities and social sciences, but also hard sciences, by encouraging links between sciences and humanities, science and societies. It also emphasises a social, cultural and material approach of knowledge through material culture of sciences - objects, instruments, collections - and practices - printed material and ways of writing, experiments and performances, communities of scholars and exchange networks.
The aim is also to foster a reflective and epistemological approach of materials – taxonomy, knowledge, uses, work, imaginaries - and long-term environmental issues (history of environmental poisons, sanitary and industrial risks, etc.).
The programme entails study days, workshops, conferences and also regular work groups from various partnerships:
- Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (HSMT) of the University of Oxford and its weekly seminar: https://www.hsmt.ox.ac.uk/ - Oxford Seminar in the History of Alchemy and Chemistry with SHAC (Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry)
- The “Materials and Time: An Anthology” project, with the Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris, which will soon have its own blog.
- the “Encyclopédie Nouvelle” Seminar, with the « ANR Saint-Simonisme 18/21 » programme: https://stsimonism.hypotheses.org
- the Early-Modern research group in Literature and the History of Technology: Writing Technology/the Technology of writing: https://writingearly.hypotheses.org