Speaking at McGill SSoM

February 26, 2020

The McGill University Social Studies of Medicine Department will host Robin Scheffler as he speaks on:

 Genetown: Boston and the Modern Biotechnology Industry

Today, the Boston area hosts the densest cluster of biotechnology and biopharmaceutical firms anywhere in the world. Economists and urban theorists have embraced Boston’s biotechnology industry as a model for how cities and nations can create innovation districts based on the life sciences, neglecting the historical contingencies of its development. Historians of science and medicine, meanwhile, have passed over Boston in favor of examining developments in the San Francisco Bay Area, the other major cluster of the American biotechnology industry. However, the development of the industry followed different paths in these two clusters. Documenting the history of biotechnology in Boston is therefore not only a means of addressing a historical asymmetry but also of exploring new approaches to the history of biotechnology. In this talk I discuss the questions that my exploration of biotechnology in Boston  has raised for me regarding the role of urban history in the history of science, the nature of scientific labor, and the operations of biotechnology as a business. 


All lectures take place at 3647 Peel Street from 4:30 pm-6:00 pm, Don Bates Seminar Room 101 unless noted otherwise.

Please note that seminar times MAY VARY, so be sure to check each individual listing carefully!