Governance Document

Commission on History of Science & Technology in Islamic Societies

SECTION 1. NAME: The name of this organization shall be Commission on History of Science & Technology in Islamic Societies (hereafter: the Commission).

SECTION 2. NATURE AND OBJECTIVES: The Commission is an international organization that seeks to encourage scholarship and to foster lines of communication among specialists concerned with the history of the origins and development of science and technology in Islamic societies as well as their transmission and influence. It invites the participation of faculty, students, and all others interested in these subjects.

SECTION 3. MEMBERSHIP: The Governing Council shall consider for membership all those who have a documented interest in the work of the Commission and have completed a membership application. The application is available in the Commission’s Newsletter and on the Commission’s website. Admission to membership shall be by majority vote of the Governing Council. Members shall have the option of being listed in the Commission’s online “Directory of Members” and subscribing to a listserve.

SECTION 4. QUADRENNIAL MEETING: The Commission shall normally hold a business meeting at the quadrennial congress of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science. At the quadrennial meetings, the members who are present shall constitute a quorum. The act of the majority of the members present shall be considered the act of the general membership. Preliminary minutes of a quadrennial meeting should be circulated within one month of the meeting. Suggestions should be submitted within two weeks.  The final version should be posted within two weeks. In addition, the Commission shall normally sponsor at least one professional session at the Congress. At the General Assembly meeting of the DHS/IUHPS, the Commission shall be represented by the President and Secretary. The Commission may appoint a third delegate from the membership if this is deemed suitable. The President shall vote on behalf of the Commission.

SECTION 5. NEWSLETTER: If finances permit, a printed newsletter shall be sent to all members once a year. In addition, an online Newsletter shall be updated at least once a month.

SECTION 6. WEBSITE: If finances permit, the Commission shall maintain a website that contains information relevant to the work of the Commission.

SECTION 7. LISTSERVE: If finances permit, the Commission shall maintain a listserve that provides a forum for communication among members.

SECTION 8. FINANCES: There shall be no dues for membership. The President shall be responsible for applying for funds for Commission activities.

SECTION 9. GOVERNING COUNCIL: The Governing Council shall carry on the business of the Commission. The Council shall be composed of five members: President, Vice-President, Secretary, and two counselors.

  1. The President. The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Commission and shall chair the quadrennial meeting. The President shall be responsible for communicating information between the Governing Council and the International Union. S/he shall also be responsible for organizing the Commission’s session at the quadrennial congress of the International Union. The President is also charged with securing funding for the Commission and keeping records of any such funding.
  2. The Vice-President. The Vice-President shall fulfill the office of the President when the President is unable to do so.
  3. The Secretary. The Secretary shall keep records of all the communications and minutes of the Commission and shall inform the membership, prior to the quadrennial meeting, of the time, place, and purpose of the quadrennial meeting, as well as maintain the membership records of the Commission. S/he shall be responsible for composing and distributing the printed Newsletter.
  4. Counselors. There shall be two counselors whose advice shall be sought on all matters before the Commission.
    The Governing Council shall allocate other duties to the officers and to other commission members as appropriate.

SECTION 10. VACANCY: In the event that a member of the Governing Council, other than the President, is unable to serve, the majority of the remaining Council may appoint an individual to fill the vacant position on the Council until the next general election.

SECTION 11. REMOVAL FROM OFFICE: Members of the Governing Council may be removed from office by the vote of four-fifths of the Council or by a petition signed by 25% of the current membership. The majority of the remaining Council may appoint an individual to fill the vacant position on the Council until the next general election.

SECTION 12. TERM OF OFFICE: The term of office shall be for four years. No officer shall serve for more than one consecutive term in a given office, except for counselors who may serve for two consecutive terms. The maximum time that any individual may serve consecutively on the Governing Council is twelve years.

SECTION 13. ELECTION OF OFFICERS: The Governing Council by majority vote shall appoint a Nominating Committee of three members chosen to represent the geographical and disciplinary breadth of the Commission. The Secretary sends to the members of the commission a list of names of the members of the Nominating Committee.┬áMembers are invited to propose nominees (off list) directly to the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee will nominate one or preferably two candidates for each position.The Nominating Committee shall forward its slate of nominees for specific positions, after ascertaining their willingness to serve, to the Secretary by December 1 of the year preceding the International Congress. The Secretary shall announce the slate of candidates to all members via email by January 1 of the year in which the International Congress is to be held. Additional nominees from the membership, supported by at least five active members of the Commission, shall be accepted by the Secretary until 15 February. The Secretary shall be responsible for ascertaining the validity of these nominations. On or before March 1, the secretary shall prepare a final ballot and email it to each active member at the address on record in the Commission files. The active members then have the possibility to make their online votes until June 1. The Secretary will keep record of the online votes and will take the record to the Commission quadrennial business meeting. Members who have no access to the internet can approach the Secretary before March 1. The Secretary will then airmail a paper ballot to such members at the address on record in the Commission files. Valid paper ballots must be placed in an unmarked envelope inserted into a second envelope bearing the voter’s name, address, and signature. Paper ballots must be received by the Secretary no later than June 1. The second, outer envelope shall be thrown away after the secretary has registered the vote on a member directory. The inner envelopes are opened and the paper ballots are counted at the Commission’s quadrennial business meeting. Council members are elected by simple majority of the Commission membership that has voted. In the case of a tie, the secretary will oversee a secret ballot among commission members in attendance at the quadrennial business meeting. This procedure may be repeated until a winner emerges.

SECTION 14. GOVERNANCE: Most matters that come before the Commission’s Governing Council should be decided by consensus, which is defined as agreement among the President, Vice-President, and Secretary. On matters where consensus cannot be reached, each Governing Council member (including the two counselors) shall have one vote and a majority vote shall be binding. In those cases, motions should be sent to the Secretary, who shall then record and announce the votes. Voting should be completed within two weeks after the secretary (or the president in case of the absence of the secretary) has notified all Council members of a motion. .

SECTION 15. GOVERNANCE DOCUMENT: The Governance Document and amendments thereto shall be formulated by the Governing Council; suggestions for modifications are welcome from any member. They shall come in force only after approval by a majority of voting members. Suggestions to change the bylaws can be made on the listserve and then a period of two months should be reserved for discussions. After that period, the (possibly modified) suggestions can be submitted by at least five members to the governing council. The secretary will organize online voting, and will notify members who do not have access to the internet so they can vote by airmail. Votes will have to be cast at most 2 months after voting has been opened. The secretary will keep record of the votes cast and will inform the members via the listserve. Proposed changes to the bylaws will take effect if approved by a majority of the votes cast. Such matters that arise within four months of the congress should be raised at the congress. In the latter case, voting shall be by paper ballots distributed during the Commission’s business meeting held during the congress. Since the Commission is under the auspices of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science, it shall also be subject to its governing bylaws and rulings.


Note: This Governing Document includes the amendments that were approved on July 26, 2013 during the Business Meeting of the Commission in Manchester. The old Governing Document before July 26, 2013 can be consulted here. For detailed minutes of the past business meetings, please contact the Secretary.