Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology
Supporting new interpretations of the life sciences through humanities and the arts
The Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology was created in 2018 to establish a permanent home for the humanities at CSHL, one of the world’s premier private, nonprofit scientific research institutions.
The Center promotes humanistic understandings of modern biology and medicine and offers a variety of educational programs. We organize public events, host virtual and physical exhibitions, and create and publish resources for popular and scholarly audiences. The center also awards a range of visiting fellowships and internships.
Since its inception the Center has also taken over CSHL’s oral-history initiative and the lab’s series of annual History of Science meetings, both of which are aimed at creating and preserving historical records to complement the material in our archives. The CSHL history meetings are distinctive in bringing participants who shaped a significant field of scientific research together with current practitioners, educators, and historians of that field. These activities have been supported by donors including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.
The Center is guided by an advisory board of distinguished historians, scientific researchers, and biotechnology pioneers, including two Nobel laureates and two past presidents of the History of Science Society.
The Center is located in CSHL’s historic Carnegie Building alongside the library and archives. The archives preserve an internationally significant collection of primary material on the life sciences and medical research since 1890. In addition to institutional records from CSHL and a variety of precursor institutions and philanthropic organizations, the archives hold personal collections of nearly three dozen notable scientists from around the world.