Chinese workers

Residential Research Institutes

Research Institute for the History of Science and Technology

Anthroforming the Landscape: A Historical View from Asia
A Residential Summer Institute at The Huntington

EVENT CANCELLED: Due to the spread of the Delta variant, we have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the institute. 

Montage of historical images of Chinese railroad workers and map

The Research Institute in the History of Science and Technology at Caltech and The Huntington seeks applications from graduate students and post-doctoral scholars to participate in a week-long residential institute on the theme of ‘Anthroforming the Landscape: A Historical View from Asia.’ Given contemporary concerns about environmental sustainability across the globe, it is now more urgent than ever to understand the historical roots of humanity’s ongoing transformation of the world’s landscapes. This institute will focus on the anthroforming of Asia and more particularly on the history of Asian influence on travel and transportation; mining and metallurgy; technology and communication; the management of water and other natural resources; and the geopolitics of the locale, of the region and of the globe.

The Huntington invites junior scholars with interests and expertise in the environmental, scientific, and technological history of Asia to apply for the opportunity to undertake a week-long, immersive, and directed research project of their choosing based on Huntington collections.

Those collections can be discerned remotely on three key sites: (for printed and manuscript sources); the Huntington Digital Library; and the Online Archive of California, which lists hundreds of searchable, highly granular collections guides.

Admission is limited to ten participants. The Summer Institute is convened by Daniel Lewis, the Dibner Senior Curator for the History of Technology at the Huntington Library. The Library is located in San Marino, California, close to Caltech, about an hour from downtown Los Angeles. The Huntington is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry and Arabella Huntington that hosts scholars from around the world to pursue their research. It includes a famous landscaped garden dating from the Gilded era, art galleries, a botanical collection, and exhibition spaces that will be open to Institute participants.

The Summer Institute will offer three mornings of seminars focusing on the use of Huntington resources of particular relevance to the projects of individual participants, providing extensive, hands-on guidance for the discovery of appropriate collections. The rest of the week will be given over to participants’ active use of the collections as research scholars. It is a primary goal of the Institute to help early-career scholars think critically about the identification, interpretation, and navigation of those archival sources which might inform their research.

The residential institute will include a virtual conference “Rich Rocks, the Climate Crisis, and the Tech Imperium,” which will focus on global competition surrounding technological development, the decarbonization of the economy, and access to critical mineral resources. The conference takes place Monday, July 12 through Wednesday, July 14 and will be held online via Zoom. The sessions on July 12 and 13 are open to the general public. The session on July 14 is for conference participants only. Participants in the Institute will be extended an invitation to attend the “Rich Rocks” conference, though attendance is not mandatory. For registration details and the conference schedule, please visit Caltech's calendar of events.

Each of the ten participants will receive a stipend of $500 and reimbursed travel expenses up to a maximum of $1,500. Accommodation will be provided free of charge at the Caltech Athenaeum. A full range of dietary choices is available for purchase at The Huntington’s several cafés.

Travel and Duration
Travel should be arranged so that participants can be on-site to be issued with a Reader’s card and attend an introductory session for the Institute.

Applicants must be graduate students or post-doctoral scholars registered in a university degree program in a relevant discipline. Early career faculty with interests in the history of the environment, and of science and technology, in Asia are also eligible.

Please note: It is not a requirement that the applicant is based in the US, that they are an American citizen, or that they are enrolled specifically in a program in the history of science and technology. We aim for internationalism and inclusivity. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are warmly encouraged to apply. The language of the Institute is English.

Conference Director
Sophia Kalantzakos is Global Distinguished Professor in Environmental Studies and Public Policy at New York University and currently a long-term affiliate at NYU Abu Dhabi. She is the author of China and the Geopolitics of Rare Earths (Oxford University Press, 2018); The EU, US, and China Tackling Climate Change: Policies and Alliances for the Anthropocene (Routledge, 2017); and co-editor, with Nikolaos Farantouris, of Energy and Environmental Transformations in a Globalizing World: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue (Nomiki Vivliothiki, 2015).

Research Institute Director
Daniel Lewis is the Dibner Senior Curator for the History of Technology at the Huntington Library, where he oversees the institution’s modern history of science and technology materials. He is the author of Belonging on an Island: Birds, Extinction and Evolution in Hawaii (Yale, 2018) and The Feathery Tribe: Robert Ridgway and the Modern Study of Birds (Yale, 2012). He is also a lecturer in Environmental Humanities at the California Institute of Technology.

Applicaton Procedure
There is no application form. An application consists of items 1–4:

  1. A cover sheet with the following information: Name; mailing address; email address; telephone number; present rank and institution name; date PhD received or expected; citizenship status.
  2. A 1500-word statement which indicates the applicant’s own research project and explains why this particular program is of interest.
  3. Curriculum vitae of no more than three pages.
  4. 2 short letters of recommendation. It is the applicant's responsibility to contact his/her referee and supply them with a description of the project. Please do not send letters from your job dossier or from Interfolio Scholar Services. Please do not submit any materials in excess of the items listed above.

Submission Guidelines

  • The application must be submitted as a single document in PDF file format only to [email protected].
  • Letters of recommendation—in PDF file format only—must be submitted directly from the recommender to [email protected]. Please reference applicant’s name in SUBJECT line. Letters should be no more than two pages in length.
  • Please direct questions about the academic content of the program to Sophia Kalantzakos at [email protected]. (Do not send applications or letters to this email address.)
  • Please direct questions about the application process to Natalie Serrano at [email protected]. (Do not send applications or letters to this email address.)

All applications and letters will receive an email acknowledgment of receipt. All successful candidates will be notified of the results on or shortly after Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Dr. Steve Hindle
W.M. Keck Foundation Director of Research
The Huntington Library