Summary timetable
17 December 2017 Submission of sessions proposal closes 23.59GMT
18 December 2017 Submission of individual paper proposals opens
31 January 2018 Acceptance/rejection of session proposals announced
28 February 2018 Submission of individual papers proposals closes at 23.59GMT
30 April 2018 Acceptance/rejection of individual paper proposals announced
1 May 2018 Draft programme published and opening of registration
29 June 2018 Early bird registration closes
30 July 2018 Final deadline for registration
31 July 2018 Draft final programme issued
15 August 2018 Publication of final programme
European Society for the History of Science Biennial Conference 2018: ‘Unity and Disunity’

Call for Symposia

This has now closed. Please contact


The organising committee of ESHS 2018 invite proposals for symposia to be held during the conference. Symposia may take a variety of forms, including a standard panel, a commented panel, or a roundtable (see below). We welcome other and novel forms of symposia , but organisers are advised to discuss their ideas with the programme coordinator, Frank James (fjames @ in advance of submitting a formal proposal.

Standard panel

Four or five speakers in a 90-minute or 120-minute slot respectively. Each speaker presents and takes questions in their share of the session time one after another. The organiser may propose a chair for the symposium or have one allocated by the conference organisers; the chair may not be a speaker in the session. In addition to the symposium abstract, a paper abstract is required for each speaker. [Link to paper abstract proposal form]

Commented panel

Four speakers in a 120-minute slot. Each speaker presents one after another. A commentator nominated by the organiser offers a commentary on the papers after they have all been delivered. The session is then open to questions and discussion. The organiser should propose a commentator for the symposium and may propose a chair or have one allocated by the conference organisers. The chair may not be a speaker or commentator in the session. In addition to the symposium abstract, a paper abstract is required from each speaker, but not from the commentator.


Minimum of four speakers in a 90-minute slot. Each speaker makes a short opening statement on the roundtable theme; the session is then opened up to questions and discussion. The organiser may propose a chair for the roundtable, or have one allocated by the conference organisers; the chair may be one of the named participants in the roundtable. Roundtables are best reserved for discussion of professional issues and other topics that can be addressed through informal and personal reflection and discussion, rather than a formal academic presentation. A symposium abstract is required for a roundtable proposal, but paper abstracts from the speakers are not.

Selection Criteria

In selecting symposia for the conference, the organisers will give preference to those that address, in some way, the conference theme (see below). In addition, we warmly welcome proposals that reflect diversity in their line-up of speakers. Diversity may result from including speakers with different institutional affiliations, different nationalities, and at different stages of their professional careers; it may also result from inclusion of speakers belonging to groups historically underrepresented within the profession, due to gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or other protected characteristic. We ask that all symposia proposals include at least one female speaker.

Symposia organisers will be able to comment on the diversity of their line-up when submitting their proposal, and this will be taken into consideration during the selection process. We encourage prospective symposium organisers to issue an open call for participants via the Mersenne mailing list (link) to help them meet this criterion.

Conference Theme and Strands 

The conference theme is ‘Unity and Disunity’. This can be interpreted very broadly, to address, amongst other topics, unity and disunity within and across diverse sciences, nations, periods, and historiographies; unity and disunity as ideals and realities; and unity and disunity as characterizing relations between the sciences and politics, technology, economics, and the arts.

As the conference will be hosted across several London venues, the organisers aim to organise submissions into coherent strands.Accordingly, we invite symposia that address:

unity and disunity within and across diverse sciences;

unity and disunity in science, technology, and/or medicine within and across nations and blocs;

unity and disunity in science, technology, and/or medicine within and across periods;

unity and disunity in the public culture of science, including public display and across media


Further instructions

If organisers wish to propose more than one symposium on the same theme, then they should use a single title for the connected sessions with a number to distinguish them, e.g. Unity in Modern Chemistry 1 and Unity in Modern Chemistry 2.

Please note that individuals may not appear in the programme as a speaker and/or commentator more than once, unless they are a plenary lecturer or prizewinner or one of the sessions is a roundtable. (Individuals may chair more than one session, however, and speak or comment in one session and chair another). Accordingly, individuals who have submitted an abstract as part of a symposium proposal should not respond to the call for standalone papers unless they have received notification that the symposium proposal was unsuccessful. The conference organisers undertake to inform symposium proposers whether their proposal has been successful by the end of January, well in advance of the closure of the call for standalone papers.

Proposals may be submitted from 20 October 2017  until 23.59GMT