Georgiana Kotsou: "Scientific recreation: Leisure, consumption, and community-building in 20th century international chemical congresses"

  • Datum: –15.00
  • Plats: Engelska parken 6-3025 (Rausingrummet)
  • Arrangör: Institutionen för idé- och lärdomshistoria
  • Kontaktperson: Hanna Hodacs
  • Seminarium

Högre seminariet i idé- och lärdomshistoria

Forskningspresentation av Georgiana Kotsou, Universiteit Maastricht. Kotsou gästar Institutionen för idé- och lärdomshistoria, Uppsala universitet, under vårterminen 2023.


Mid-twentieth century large, disciplinary, international congresses were often characterised by extravagant social programs that may appear odd by today’s standards. In 1957, the participants of the XVIth International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry rented suits in order to attend a luxurious banquet in the Orangery of Versailles, enjoyed an original play by Molière performed for the first time since his era, and danced in front of the palace, illuminated by a light show. In this paper, drawing from anthropological theory on rituals and discussion on the different forms of capital, I explore the functions and materiality of social programs in international conferences: how they bridged the tensions between work and leisure, and how they participated in the attendee’s identity and community formation. As part of the larger European collaborative project ‘The Scientific Conference: A Social, Cultural, and Political History’, my research focuses on international conferences of the 20th century organised by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Community formation was particularly significant in the discipline of chemistry since it was characterised by a) disciplinary tensions, such as the ones between academic and industrial practitioners and b) international tensions surrounding WWI, WWII and the Cold War.

Bilden visar banketten under XVIth International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Paris, 1957. Bildkälla: Société chimique de France, célébration du centenaire de sa fondation (Paris, 1958).