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43rd annual meeting (2016)

Here you will find useful information about our upcoming annual symposium. Next summer we will meet in Porto, in Portugal, to discuss the following theme Technology, Innovation, and Sustainability: Historical and Contemporary Narratives. The page will be updated regularly, so you’d better bookmark it.

: : Call for Papers (updated 6 October 2015)

: : Paper submission system (open till 8 February 2016)

: : Official Conference Website

: : Proposal Guidelines

: : Travel Grants (updated 5 April 2016)


Panelists sought:


Playing with Materials and Technology – Call for Papers for a Session

Deadline 20 February 2016
Research in the field ‘Playing with Materials and Technology’ ought to contribute to the development of theory in the history of technology: materials, appropriate technology and play have crucial influence on the environment and on human life. Technological shaped materials – especially synthetics, since the mid-20th century – dominate our everyday environment. Technology and play have strongly influenced the development of societies. Thus research in this field might open new perspectives on the question how and why people deal with technology.

The session in Porto will focus on materials of play; papers might deal with:

- Playful approaches to scientific research on materials

- Influences of play on the biography of synthetic materials

- The role of new materials in sports and leisure

- The role of new materials in design

- Biography of toys and their link to different materials of construction

Contributions on other issues of the fields ‘Technological Shaped Materials’ and ‘Playing with Technology’ are welcome, too.

Please contact us until 20 February 2016 – Thank you.

Maria Elvira Callapez, CIUHCT, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, mariaelviracallapez@gmail.com

Stefan Poser, Helmut-Schmidt University, Hamburg, poser@hsu-hh.de


The illusion of globalized world, sustainability and fair technology

We are seeking panelist for a session proposal for ICOHTEC’s Symposium in Porto, 26-30 July 2016, “The illusion of globalized world, sustainability and fair technology”.

„It’s our world, take care of it”; “Being Green is Sexy“; “Keep your Earth Clean and Green”; “Reduce, Reuse & Recycle” – these are broadly known environmental awareness campaign slogans. The conclusion is quite simple: “We need to save and protect our planet” – climate, forests, the rest of environment, and also we need to think about… This kind of argument is typical for nowadays ecological discourse. Technology should follow the ecological paths and make civilized world less artificial and more natural. Let us examine the historical aspects of “the game of thrones” between “kingdoms” of technology, ecology, globalization and the needs of contemporary societies.
The healthcare and beauty industries, food production, automotive development of societies, building industry as well as military production etc., are responsible for environmental degradation. For years ecological politics was the problem of any given country, so, there are well known historical examples of some companies and globally active corporation which tried to move production and utilized wastes in the countries of liberal environmental politics. It was possible due to globalization and the desires of developed consumer society of the Western world. Fairness to the citizens of the other countries was not so important.
We assume that globalization – is the trend, sustainability – the idea, consumerism – the social activity, and technology – the main factor of social and cultural changes. In some optimistic visions both, globalization and sustainability, promote cooperation in very competitive conditions of consumer society typical to late stage of capitalism. However, to some researchers “globalization” is only the cover of westernization or Americanization of the local cultures and economies across the globe. Especially because when the newest wave of globalization started after the collapse of the communist system in Europe. Sustainable development seems to be more political than scientific idea. In the 20th century some doctrines on sustainability were introduced into the political game; although at the same time underdeveloped societies of the, so called, Third World suffered because of exploitations of their resources and human work force.
We invite theoretical and empirical papers dealing with the mentioned problems, we will try to answer the following (and other) questions:

  1. How the development of technology is supported/ suppressed by the sustainability politics? The analysis focused on the different historical periods are welcomed.

  2. The results of technological competition between the sides of the Iron Curtain could be so devastated to environment as the nuclear tests. Are there any benefits of the technological competition as well?

  3. Could we identify the examples of cooperation between the countries from the opposite political blocs during the bloom of technological inventions after WWII?

  4. Globalization, sustainability, technology - are they in cooperation? In opposition? Or in the other form of relation? More subtle, more complex?

Please submit proposals to Urszula Jarecka (ujarecka@ifispan.waw.pl) and Sławomir Łotysz (s.lotysz@gmail.com) by 22 February 2016.



The Wine in the History : between Technology, Science and Transfer of Knowledge from 17th to 19th centuries

We invite submissions for abstracts to join the panel titled "The Wine in the History : between Technology, Science and Transfert of Knowledge from 17th to 19th centuries."

Wine is inextricably linked to the human civilization. A highly symbolic cultural phenomenon which made the delight of poets and artists, it is associated both with the pleasures of life and conviviality and with their excesses. However, the social historical function of winegoes well beyond this symbolic representation. Indeed, without wine, many antic and medieval societies simply would not have survived, especially after the rise of the cities and the concomitant process of massive water pollution. The wine is also an economic phenomenon because its production and trade made the wealth of many cities, regions and countries.

Biggest beneficiary of Christian religious practices, the wine in the 17th century Europe suffered from the competition with the imported exotic drinks (tea, coffee, chocolate) before finding a new impetus in the technological innovations of the Enlightenment (bottles, corks and so on). During the 19th century, science and technology intervened actively in this traditional field, changing progressively the technical conditions of the production of wine and of its related accessories required for packaging, preservation, storage and transportation. The improved communications and the promotion of national legislations greatly contributed to transform the wineproduction into a world-wide spread industry having gained a foothold even in those geographical areas that had never experienced this culture before.

This session aims to explore some inedited aspects of this problematics linked, in particular, with engineering innovations in the field ofwine production and with the role played in this process by the transfer of knowledge.

Please submit proposals to Irina Gouzevitch and Dmitri Gouzevitch (i_gouzevit@yahoo.fr) before Sunday, 22 February 2016.


Radio Technologies in the Postwar Europe: Engineering, Institutions and Practices

The postwar Europe, divided by the Iron Curtain, saw a new constellation of political powers, which operated on various levels. Universal access to radio became one of the determinants of the modernization process of the continent devastated by the recent war. This new political situation affected also the broad spectrum of practices related to technology, one of them being the radio broadcasting and radio technology. This series of panels seeks to create a comparative approach to the development of radio industry and radio technologies on both sides of the Iron Curtain and is aimed at exploring the differences and mapping the possible points of convergence on a number of levels.
Topics may include, but are not limited, to the following.
– tensions between the official state policy and the actual engineering practices;
– development of military-industrial complex and the role of this process in the further development of radio industry;
– continuities and discontinuities in the structure of ownership and their impact on the development of radio technologies;
– use of radio broadcasting technology for propaganda and commercial purposes;
– role of experimental practices in the development of radio technologies;
– transfer of technologies from the military sphere to civilian practices;
– transfer of technologies within the COMECON;
– subversive use of radio technologies in different political contexts;
– artistic practices related to radio technologies;
– design and radio technology;
– decline of radio industry companies in the East European countries after the fall of Communism
Paper proposals (up to 150 words) should be sent to Dr Joanna Walewska (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland; joanna.walewska@gazeta.pl) by February 20, 2016.





Page updated: 9 February 2016
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