Congratulations to New HPS PhDs

Congratulations to Moiz Hasan and John Slattery. Both HPS students successfully defended their dissertations on April 6, 2017. 

Moiz's dissertation "Foundations of Science in Post-classical Islam: Philosophical, Historical and Historiographical Significance of Sayyid al-Sharif al-Jurjani's (d.1413) Project" was co-advised by Robert Goulding (Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame) and Jamil Ragep (Professor, Medieval Studies, McGill University). Other committee members included Lynn Joy (Professor, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame), and Robert Wisnovsky (James McGill Professor, Medieval Studies, McGill University).

John Slattery is the first graduate student in HPS's History of Theology Track. His Dissertation "Old Science, New Problems: A Theological Analysis of John Zahm's Attempt to Bridge Evolution and Roman Catholicism" was directed by Matt Ashley (Associate Professor, Theology, University of Notre Dame) and his committee included Celia Deane-Drummond (Professor, Theology, University of Notre Dame) Don Howard (Professor, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame), and Father Robert Krieg (Emeritus Professor, Theology, University of Notre Dame)

Janet Kourany Receives Mullin Hancock Teaching Award

Prof. Janet Kourany (Philosophy, HPS) has been selected as the second recipient of the Gender Studies Program’s Marian Mullin Hancock Teaching Award.  

"Dr. Kourany’s students described her as a “generous and dedicated mentor” who expresses a genuine interest in her students and cares for them “both in the classroom and outside of it.” Students wrote that her classes – on topics of feminist philosophy of science and feminist epistemology, as well as the philosophy of gender and sexual difference itself – were “extremely unique, captivating, and well thought out.” She is one of the “strongest and most innovative teachers” in her department.  Her former students also noted how challenging Dr. Kourany's courses are. One student described the specific approach that they felt made Dr. Kourany such a phenomenal professor:  “We never knew the nature of her philosophical commitments. She constantly assumed a contrary position to serve the foil for one’s claim, which shifted the focus away from trying to provide the ‘right’ answer and toward a more comprehensive understanding of one’s own argument.” 

Monica Solomon Awarded 2-Year Fellowship

Congratulations to Monica Solomon, who is taking up a two year postdoctoral fellowship as a member of the University of Southern California Society of Fellows in the Humanities, affiliiated with the USC School of Philosophy. Monica will defend her dissertation later this semester, and take up her fellowship at USC in the summer.

Congratulations to Laura Bland

HPS PhD alum Laura Bland has just been appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Liberal Studies in the Honors College at the University of Houston in Houston, TX.  Bland is currently teaching in Notre Dame's Program of Liberal Studies. She is also working on a book manuscript on the "Great Comet" of 1680 to explore how natural disasters became "natural" on the eve of the Enlightenment. 

Evan Ragland Wins ACLS Fellowship

The American Council of Learned Societies has named Evan Ragland, Assistant Professor of History and HPS a 2017 ACLS Fellow. The set of 71 fellows was selected through ACLS’s rigorous, multi-stage peer-review process from a pool of nearly 1,200 applicants—one of the largest in the history of the program. The fellowships support scholars for six to twelve months of full-time research and writing.

Ragland will use his fellowship time to work on a project titled "Experimental Life: Medicine, Science, and the Emergence of a Culture of Experiment."

HPS Program welcomes two new postdocs

The Reilly Center's History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program welcomes two new postdoctoral fellows, James Nguyen (Philosophy) and Scott Trigg (History). 

James Nguyen received his Ph.D. in Philosophy London School of Economics and Political Science and Scott Trigg received his Ph.D. in History & History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Read More

Anjan Chakravartty wins Guggenheim fellowship

Anjan Chakravartty has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship! During his year off, Chakravartty will explore how people should think about the rationality of their beliefs in the face of disagreement among experts.

Read more here.

Monica Solomon wins ACLS fellowship

Congratulations to Monica Solomon, who has been named as one of the 2016-17 ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows Monica’s dissertation is entitled "On the Interaction between Mathematical Methods and Metaphysics in Isaac Newton’s Writings: The Case of Mathematical Forces”.

You can read more about Monica’s project here.

Robert Goulding to Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study in 2016-17

Congratulations to Reilly Fellow and HPS faculty member Robert Goulding, who has been awarded a place at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study in 2016-17! 

There he will work on a book manuscript on the optics of the Elizabethan mathematician and polymath Thomas Harriot. His project will use the manuscript papers of Harriot to reconstruct his experiments on light, with mirrors, lenses, prisms, both in his workshop and in his imagination. Harriot discovered the law of refraction some twenty years before Snel and Descartes, and, through his experiments with prisms, anticipated the color theory of Newton by half a century. Robert's work will examine Harriot's optical researches, and put them in the context of early-modern optics and natural philosophy, where they can be seen both to spring from common concerns of the period, and to be utterly original and much more sophisticated than any of his contemporaries. 

Once that project is completed, he will be turning to another project he has been working on in recent years, concerning the natural philosophy of the sixteenth-century logician and educational reformer, Petrus Ramus.

HPS student Julianna Poole heads to Iceland

HPS student Julianna Poole will be attending the 2016 Summer Course in Modern Icelandic, a language immersion program held in Reykjavík by the University of Iceland and the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. For her dissertation, she plans to study the history of medicine in medieval England and Scandinavia. Modern Icelandic will be essential to her studies because much of the current literature on medieval Scandinavia is published in Modern Icelandic, this being the native language of many prominent scholars in the field. Julianna's participation in the program is funded through a Notre Dame Summer Language Abroad Grant.

Notre Dame HPS Among Ten University Programs Joining ACLS’s Postdoctoral Partnership Initiative

ACLS has announced partnerships with 10 US institutions of higher learning as part of the new Postdoctoral Partnership Initiative (PPI). In June, ACLS issued an open call for proposals from institutions that wished to augment the number or benefits of humanities postdoctoral fellowships that they would offer in the 2015-16 competition cycle (for fellows to take up two-year positions beginning in 2016-17). The initiative, made possible by the generous assistance of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed to provide insight into the impact of postdoctoral fellowships on humanities scholars’ careers and the value of such postdocs to the institutions that host them. It also seeks to foster cross-institutional conversation about the role of these positions in the changing humanities professoriate. Click here to read more from the ACLS website.
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The Collaboration Conundrum: Special Interests and Scientific Research

The Collarboration Conundrum Conference is taking place at the University of Notre Nov. 5-7.  Speakers and panelists include HPS faculty and Alums, Anjan Chakravartty (Reilly Center Director, UND Philosophy), Janet Kourany (UND Philosophy), Kristin Shrader-Frechette (UND Philosophy, O'Neill Chair),  Manuela Fernandez-Pinto (University of Helsinki), and Kevin Elliot (Michigan State University)

Midwest PhilMath Workshop

The sixteenth annual meeting of the Midwest PhilMath Workshop will take place November 7-8, 2015 on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. All sessions of the workshop will be in room 129 of Debartolo Hall. The Program and additional inforamtion can be found at

Teh to host "Categories of Understanding Workshop"

Dr Nicholas Teh is a philosopher of physics who is working on articulating and developing the conceptual insights that category theory brings to the foundations of physics, as well as exploiting its fruitfulness as a lingua franca for philosophers, mathematicians, and physicists."

Since its incipience, category theory has provided fruitful and novel ways of drawing connections between mathematics, logic, philosophy, and physics. The goal of this interdisciplinary workshop is to survey new questions about “physical theories” that have arisen as a result of this interaction.

This workshop is open to all members of the Notre Dame community, although we ask that participants register at so that lunch can be catered accordingly. Graduate students are especially welcome. The organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of an ISLA Integrative Scholarship Grant. catworkshopflyer.pdf

Invited speakers and commentators:

  • Antonio Delgado (Physics, Notre Dame)
  • Hans Halvorson (Philosophy, Princeton)
  • Chris Kapulkin (Mathematics, UWO)
  • Christopher Kolda (Physics, Notre Dame)
  • Stephan Stolz (Mathematics, Notre Dame)
  • Nicholas Teh (Philosophy, Notre Dame)
  • Dimitris Tsementzis (Philosophy, Princeton)

Janet Kourany to speak at celebration of Martin Carrier in Bielefeld

A conference in honor of the 60th birthday of Martin Carrier wil be held at Bielefeld University, Germany on October 12. Carrier is a Professor of Philosophy at Bielefeld.

Conference speakers include HPS faculty member and Reilly Fellow Janet Kourany, who was a fellow at Bielefeld's Center for Interdisciplinary Research in 2014. Other speakers include Philip Kitcher (Columbia), Paul Hoyningen-Huene (Hannover), Torsten Wilholt (Hannover). 

Bielefeld's science studies programs (formerly the graduate History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science Program, HPSS, and now the graduate History, Economics, and Philosophy of Science Program, HEPS) and Notre Dame's HPS Program are partners in a thriving exchange program. The collaboration involves student, post-doc, and faculty exchanges, the joint organization of conferences, and collaborative publications, such as the volume The Challenge of the Social and the Pressure of Practice: Science and Values Revisited, by Martin Carrier, Don Howard, and Janet Kourany, eds. (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008).

Solomon Presents at Joint Meeting of Hypatia & the APA Committee of the Status of Women

Monica Solomon (philosophy track) will present her paper (“Individuals and Individualism in Philosophical Communities”) at the 2015 Hypatia and the APA Committee on the Status of Women joint meeting. This year's meeting is entitled "Exploring Collaborative Contestations and Diversifying Philosophy" and will take place at Villanova University, May 28-30. 

HPS Graduate Student Laura Bland Receives Two Fellowships

Laura received a Graduate Fellowship at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study for 2015-2016. The fellowship will allow her to finish her dissertation, which examines the cultural and religious background of scientific ideas in the early modern Atlantic World. In particular, she explores how writers without scientific training understood questions about the role of God in nature, superstition, and natural order. At the broadest level, her work contributes to ongoing historical discussions of the “disenchantment of the world,” the decline of magic, and the secularization of society in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Her dissertation compares Catholic and Protestant conceptions of superstition and divine intervention in nature as they were articulated in several hundred pamphlets printed in the wake of the “Great Comet” of 1680 in Spain, England, New England, and Latin America. She has also been awarded the Dibner Fellowship in the History of Science and Technology by the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, CA.

Michelle Marvin presents her work at the Midwest American Academy of Religion conference

HPS Theology and Science student Michelle Marvin recently presented her work on religious identity in comparative theology at the Midwest American Academy of Religion conference, as part of the Sensory and Material Cultures of Religion panel. Her paper, entitled "The Sound of Theology: A Comparative Study on Taizé Chant and Vedic Mantra," investigates the ways in which the musical practices of specific Hindu and Christian communities serve as expressions of theological identity.”

HPS grad students to present at Midwest Junto

The 58th annual meeting of the Midwest Junto for the History of Science will be held by the Department of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 17-19, 2015. HPS Graduate students Sarah Naramore and Xiaoxing Jin, as well as HPS alum Steve Case, are on the meeting program. Sarah will present her paper "From Within and Without: The Emergence of Yellow Fever as a Public Disease, 1790-1820”; Xiaoxing will present his paper “The Origin of Evolutionary Misunderstanding: Origin in China”; and Steve Case will present "‘The Landmarks of the Universe’: John Herschel Against Positional Astronomy.”

ND HPS - Edinburgh exchange program update

Janet Kourany 2012

HPS faculty and steering committee member Janet Kourany has recently returned from her stint as an IASH [Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities] Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.  While there Janet did a masterclass on agnotology, the new area of enquiry concerned with the social construction of ignorance, and she also gave a paper related to this area of enquiry, entitled “Should Some Knowledge Be Forbidden? The Case of Cognitive Differences Research.”  These presentations were in conjunction with the Edinburgh Women in Philosophy Group's Spring Workshop on “Ignorance and Underrepresentation.”  Janet's visit was supported by the IASH International Research Group on the Philosophy of the Natural and Human Sciences, and a main aim of her visit was to spearhead an ongoing faculty and graduate student exchange between Notre Dame's History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program and Edinburgh's counterpart graduate program.  The very lively and diverse philosophical community Janet met with in Edinburgh makes such an exchange especially attractive to pursue. A podcast of the workshop on Ignorance and Under-representation can be found here (, and Janet’s masterclass on agnotology is available here: .  

Laura Bland presents her work on comets at the Columbia History of Science Group meeting (March 2015)


Congratulations to HPS graduate student Laura Bland for her hugely successful talk at the recent Columbia History of Science Group meeting. Laura’s talk, entitled “Unfriendly Skies: Secularizing Comets in the Spanish World, 1680-1700” drew on her dissertation research.” 



Ramsey & Pence Awarded NSF Grant

Grant Ramsey

Charles Pence

Congratulations to ND HPS faculty member Grant Ramsey and ND HPS alumnus Charles Pence on receiving an NSF grant in support of their evoText project, which is a “Big Data” tool for science literature aimed at opening up new research possibilities in history and philosophy of science, and with potential for use in schools. Further details are available here:

Stellar year for ND HPS Placements

Richard Oosterhoff

2014 was a great placement year for our HPS program, with all of our job candidates accepting excellent positions: Manuela Fernandez Pinto has taken up her post-doc at the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (, Elise Crull and Charles Pence accepted tenure-track positions in philosophy at CCNY and LSU respectively, Richard Oosterhoff (pictured) has accepted a multi-year post-doc at the University of Cambridge, and our first ND HPS post-doc Catherine Jackson accepted a tenure-track position in history of science UW-Madison.

Second Annual SRPoiSE Meeting

The Consortium for Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering ( seeks to support and conduct philosophical studies that contribute to public welfare and collective wellbeing. The John J. Reilly Center is one of the consortium's five founding members. SRPoiSE will hold its second annual meeting on March 27-28, 2015 at Michigan State University's Detroit Center and Reilly Center is well represented in the conference.

  • Mousa Mohammadian (HPS student, Philosophy of Science track) presents his paper “Cognitive Values are a ‘Collective Pool’: On Douglas’ Theory of Cognitive Values.”
  • Don Howard, Melinda Gormley and Mark Bourgeois are on the meeting program to present on the research project they have been developing over the past years. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF awards 1338652 and 1449469) the research project assesses and compares two ethical leadership training programs. One is grounded in the research and literature of business and management ethics. The other grows out of the research and literature on ethics training for STEM students. The research project will answer the question: since cultivating cultures for ethical STEM requires effective leadership, what training content and methods most successfully turn STEM students into ethical leaders?
  • Kevin Elliot (Reilly alumnus, Michigan State University) co-presents two papers: “Exploratory Analysis and Big Data” and “STEP (Science Teams’ Effective Practices).”    

Based on past experience, this promises to be an excellent event, and one which we are keen to support. If a group or groups of students would like to go together, the Reilly Center would be very happy to cover the cost of gas and/or rental vehicles and/or any the cost of any other land-based form of transportation. 

HPS Nahyan Fancy to Princeton IAS

Nahyan Fancy

HPS alum Nahyan Fancy (Associate Professor of History at DePauw University and author of Science and Religion in Mamluk Egypt: Ibn al-Nafīs, Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection (London: Routledge, 2013)), has been offered membership at the School for Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and will spend Fall 2015 in residence there.

HPS Students to Present in Düsseldorf

HPS students Jamee Elder, John Hanson, Monica Solomon, and Jeremy Steeger, along with Philosophy Department student Aaron Wells, will be presenting their work on Émilie Du Châtelet at this year’s European Philosophy of Science Association meeting in Düsseldorf in September. Their successful symposium submissions includes papers addressing a variety of themes from Du Châtelet’s Institutions de Physique (1740), including her views on the uses and abuses of hypotheses, her treatments of space and time, her criticisms of Newton’s views of gravitation, and her account of Leibniz’s law of continuity.

Alum Steve Case wins Annals of Science Prize

Stephen Case

HPS alum Dr. Stephen Case (Department Chemistry and Geosciences at Olivet Nazarene University) is the winner of the Annals of Science Prize for 2014, for his paper on “'Land-marks of the Universe: John Herschel Against the Background of Positional Astronomy.” This essay was based on a chapter from Steve's dissertation. 

Congratulations to Laura Bland

Laura Bland has been awarded the Writing and Rhetoric Graduate Assistantship, a full-year fellowship to support advanced graduate students while they receive pedagogy training and teach two courses in the University's Writing and Rhetoric program. She hopes to use this fellowship to develop a course on evaluating scientific and medical claims in the digital age, a theme her students explored in her recent course on the history of food.

HPS celebrates 25th anniversary of doctoral program

See conference photo album

HPS 25th anniversary pic

On September 26-27, 2014, we marked the 25th anniversary of our doctoral program with a celebration conference (click here for conference program). We reflected on the origins of the program going back to the establishment of the HPS master’s in 1969; we heard from many of our alumnae and alumni about their research, their memories of the program, and what they’ve been up to since graduating from Notre Dame; and we reflected on what it means to be doing HPS today. We took the opportunity to thank many of those without whose support our program would be unable to flourish, including our administrative assistants, the Chairs and DGSs of the departments from which we draw our faculty, the College of Arts and Letters, and the past directors of the program. Most importantly, we remembered Jack Reilly.

The occasion of the 25th anniversary was also used to launch a new HPS Director Fund for Scholarship and Professional Development, in recognition of past directors of the program, and with the goal of providing support to current graduate students (click here for more details). We welcome your donations!

HPS launches new graduate minor

From this fall, we now offer a graduate minor in HPS, open to all graduate students across the university. Our graduate minor provides students with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the historical, philosophical, social, ethical, political and conceptual dimensions and contexts of science and technology in societies past and present. We welcome students from all disciplines, including those in the sciences and engineering who wish to explore their own specialist discipline from different perspectives. Please contact the HPS director, Katherine Brading ( if you would like to learn more.
Click here for more information about our HPS degree programs. 

For more news from the HPS program, click on one of the following:
HPS Faculty News
HPS Graduate Student News
HPS Alumni/ae News

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