Canadian Science and Historical Association
XXI Biennial Conference

Diversity and Tension: Science, Technology and Canadian Regionalism in Historical Perspective

Please join us for the 2019 CSTHA biennial conference to be held November 1–3 at University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. this year’s conference theme is: “Diversity and Tension: Science, Technology and Canadian Regionalism in Historical Perspective.”

At the conference, Dr. Melanie Frappier and students in “Disputes: Methodologies in the History of Science and Technology,” a new course in the History of Science and Technology program, will be presenting on an archaeological collection found in the archive, and HOST student Megan Krempa will also be presenting on Llewellyn Jones, the first female engineer in Canada, who graduated from King’s.

Keynote lecture

Margaret E. Schott, York University, will present the Keynote lecture is on Saturday, Nov. 2, 5 – 6 p.m. The lecture is free to attend and open to the public. She will discuss the different mathematical and technical training early modern navigators from England, France, and Spain received as they came from Europe to the Grand Banks and new France.

“Diversity and Tension: Insights into Regionalism from Early Modern Navigators”

Early modern Europeans were preoccupied with the problem of safely crossing the oceans. Such trips—for trade, war, and colonial expansion—could end in disaster if the navigator fell ill or relied on outdated maps and instruments on the treacherous seas. Each polity feared that their neighbours were more successful than they were in creating new navigators. In this talk, Margaret Schotte will examine the system first developed in Iberia and then adopted in France, England, and the Netherlands to train mariners.

Her analysis of this pan-European educational model reveals that navigators from different states approached particular tasks—from assessing the speed of their vessels to estimating their position—in unexpectedly diverse ways. Many young sailors developed their skills en route to the Grand Banks and New France, but depending on the port of origin of each vessel they would learn different mathematical approaches or instrumental techniques. Given the significant geopolitical ramifications of these maritime practices, it is crucial to discuss these “national styles of science” in productive ways. By considering economics and intellectual history as well as pedagogy and print culture, Schotte offers a nuanced model to talk about these regional differences.