Thematic workshop:

 "Natural History and Evolution
Just Before Darwin"
 7 to 9 December 2008 (Itu, SP, Brazil)



    The International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) meets every two years, in odd numbered calendar years. The next meeting (2009) of the ISHPSSB will be held in Brisbane, Australia (July 12-17 2009, Emmanuel College, St Lucia). More details will be made available at

     During the even-numbered, "off" years, the Society stimulates and provides support to thematic workshops. In 2008, the ISHPSSB approved the proposal of the Brazilian Society for Philosophy and History of Biology (ABFHiB - Associação Brasileira de Filosofia e História da Biologia) of promoting a meeting on "Natural History and Evolution Just Before Darwin". 

     This thematic workshop will be held in the city of Itu, São Paulo State, Brazil, from 7 to 9 December 2008. 

     The workshop on "Natural History and Evolution Just Before Darwin" is included in the series of events commemorating the second centennial of Darwin’s birthday and the sesquicentennial of publication of “The Origin of Species”. Its subject is the period preceding the publication of Darwin’s fundamental works. There are no rigid chronological limits, but any contribution that precedes the publication of “The origin of species” by more than one century should be accompanied by a justification of its relevance for this special workshop. Papers on history, philosophy and social studies of biology addressing this period will be welcome. 

    Invited speakers:

* Richard Burkhardt, “The Lives of the Specimens”

* Thomas F. Glick, “Jefferson and the Great Chain of Being”

* Nelson Papavero, “The Evolution of the Principles of Biological Taxonomy from Linnaeus to Darwin

     Scholars interested in presenting a paper should submit an abstract with 500 to 800 words, plus bibliography, before July 30. Abstracts should be sent to All members of the ISHPSSB and other interested scholars are eligible to attend. Graduate students can also submit papers for presentation. 

     There is some funding available to help graduate students to participate in this meeting. The International Society for History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology has allocated a maximum of $100 for graduate student participants who come from outside Brazil and are members of ISHPSSB in good standing at the time of the workshop. The Brazilian Society for Philosophy and History of Biology will also provide $100.00 for each graduate student in the above conditions. Therefore a total amount of $200.00 will be available for each student.

     The scientific committee of the meeting will select speakers taking into account:

* whether the paper deals with history, philosophy and/or social studies of biology;

* whether the subject of the paper is adequate for this specific thematic meeting;

* whether it is an original research paper or not.

     Each speaker will have 25-30 minutes for his/her presentation, plus 10-15 minutes for discussion (total time of 40 minutes for each paper). 

     After the meeting, speakers will be invited to submit a final version of their papers for publication in book form. This book will not include all contributions; papers will be submitted to referees, and only high-quality papers will be accepted for publication.

Local organizing committee:

 * Lilian Al-Chueyr Pereira Martins (chairperson), Professor of the Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP), President of the Brazilian Association for Philosophy and History of Biology.

 * Maria Elice Brzezinski Prestes, Professor of the Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP), Treasurer of the Brazilian Association for Philosophy and History of Biology.

 * Roberto de Andrade Martins, Professor of the State University of Campinas (Unicamp).

 * Nelio Bizzo, Professor of the University of São Paulo (USP).

 * Waldir Stefano, Professor of Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Secretary  of the Brazilian Association for Philosophy and History of Biology.

Site of the workshop:

     Although scholars from several Brazilian universities are involved in the organization of this meeting, it was decided that the best place to run this specific meeting would be a hotel out of the main Brazilian cities, because this would present the best opportunity for informal discussions in a relaxed atmosphere. 

     The meeting will be held in the city of Itu, São Paulo State, Brazil. This is a small town (150,000 inhabitants), a quiet, safe and pleasant city close to São Paulo (65 miles). The advantages of this city are that it is close to the largest international airport in South America, and it is linked to São Paulo by very good highways; there are adequate facilities for academic meetings; and hotel prices are better than in the big cities.

     All activities will be held in a hotel, which offers special rooms for people using wheelchair, with total accessibility to the conference rooms, restaurant and and other rooms (Itu Colonial Plaza). The city has two other hotels with special rooms for wheelchair users – and that is quite uncommon for a small city like this one.

     Itu is a small city, and the only attractions are several old buildings and churches (18th and 19th centuries), antiquaries and a few shops. There is also a paleontological site (Varvite from Itu – see There will be guided visits to the Varvite site on the days before the beginning and after the end of the workshop. Foreign visitors who would like to visit other places in Brazil can contact the organizing committee ( We will be glad to assist our visitors in choosing excursions run by reliable travel companies.

Transportation to the site:

     All major international airlines have flights to the São Paulo International Airport of Guarulhos (GRU). In early December, the price of air tickets is low; it is easy to obtain excellent discounts when air tickets are bought several months in advance. 

     From São Paulo to Itu, transportation can be made by bus, hired cars (many international companies operate at GRU airport), taxis or vans (it is also possible, but quite expensive, to take a helicopter to the hotel). The organization of the meeting will be able to help with local transportation in the case of foreign participants: there will be people waiting for foreign visitors at the São Paulo airport to help them with all practical issues. It is possible to book local transportation in advance. For people who choose to drive to Itu, there is free parking at the hotel. 


 1. Registration costs: US$50.00 (US$25.00 for students) 

 2. Hotel rooms: the daily fee for a single in-suite room is R$120,00 (about US$70.00) including breakfast, and R$145,00 (about US$85.00) for a double in-suite room, including breakfast. There are other less expensive nearby hotels in the city. 

 3. The use of all hotel facilities (including Wi-Fi Internet) is free.

 4. Meeting banquet (optional): R$50.00 (about US$30.00).

 5. Meals: Buffet-style lunch and dinner will be available at R$25,00 (about US$15.00). A sandwich costs about R$10,00 (US$6.00). Special meals can be provided for vegetarians or people with other special diet needs, on demand. There are many nearby restaurants, and it will not be necessary to have meals at the hotel. 

 6. Local transportation (São Paulo to Itu, and back) in minibus or van: R$100,00 (US$60.00)

     Estimated total cost to registrant (excluding travel to Brazil): Registration fee + 3 nights in single room + 5 meals + meeting banquet + local transportation = US$425.00


    July 30, 2008 – deadline for submission of paper proposals (send an abstract with 500 to 800 words, plus bibliography, to

    August 10, 2008 – authors will receive information of acceptance of their papers

    August 10 to 31, 2008 – registration and hotel reservation (registration forms and further information will be available in July)