Call for Papers

We would like to invite the submission of paper and poster abstracts for a five-day conference on the history of objects and practices in science education. The conference had initially been planned for June 2020 but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding the history of science education is essential if we want to understand the generation, reproduction and circulation of scientific knowledge, practices, practitioners, and objects. While history of science education has moved from the periphery to the focus of history of science in recent decades, the central role of instruments, demonstrations and models in teaching has barely been explored. Particularly with respect to the analysis of scientists’ formation in different periods, the role of objects and of practices in laboratories appears to be crucial. Moreover, with respect to the political and social function that was ascribed to science, the role and purpose of objects in school science education needs a more thorough reflection. 

In this conference, we want to discuss objects that were explicitly designed for the purpose of science education such as teaching demonstrations and students’ experiments, models and collections of specimens. Moreover, we want to address the relationship between teaching and research instruments and collections, and the practices associated with them. We explicitly want to bring together objects and practices from the different contexts and periods of science teaching in schools and technical training institutes, the formation of future scientists at universities, and teaching a general audience about and through science. Following the conference Learning by Doing hosted in 2009 at the University of Regensburg, we invite historians of science as well as scholars from neighboring fields such as material culture studies, history of education and science museums to present their work on the historical development and role of objects that were intended to represent, present and transfer knowledge within the scientific disciplines.

We invite proposals for presentation of individual papers of 20 minutes as well as posters. Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 October 2020, notification about acceptance will be sent by 5 November 2020. If your abstract has already been accepted for the 2020 conference, you do not need to send your abstract again but you should let us know whether you will be able to present your paper / poster at the new dates. 

We will not hold this conference as an online conference and assume that it will be possible again to travel and meet in person in July 2021. However, in the case of travel restrictions for individual regions due to COVID-19, we will consider the possibility of online participation and presentation of affected participants.