CFP: Technology, Environment and Modern Britain

This is a call for papers for a workshop that will explore the intersections of history of technology and environmental history in modern British contexts. “It can be difficult to write environmental history without paying at least passing attention to technology”, noted Jeffrey K. Stine and Joel A. Tarr over a decade ago, in a ground-breaking survey article, “Conversely, it can also be difficult to write technological history without touching on some environmental element”. This entanglement has remained the case even as both historical specialties have explored an increasing diversity of technologies and environments. Yet it is also true to say that both specialties have taken different, perhaps more expansive, trajectories in the United States and continental Europe than in Britain, both as a location for writing and as a topic of study.

We are inspired by a number of exciting investigations. For example, Harriet Ritvo located the dawn of modern environmentalism in the conflict to secure Thirlmere in the Lake District for Manchester’s technological system of water supply; Richard Grove, on the other hand, identifies British imperial contexts in his answer to the same question. While historians of the sea, space and polar regions have explored life-preserving, unmistakeably technologically-mediated environments, technologies also frame all aspects of British encounters with nature and environment. Wilderness, however, is not our theme: from Arthur Tansley’s opening observation in The British Islands and their Vegetation (1939), that his topic was thoroughly “semi-natural”, through Oliver Rackham’s distinctive insistence on the human-made history of woodland, there has been recognition of the deep artificiality of British environments. In the nineteenth and especially twentieth centuries, the industrialisation of organisms, for food, sewage and materials, has gathered pace. What are their histories? Bill Luckin has traced the environmental histories of London’s air and river, but what are the histories of intersections between urban technology and environment in other cities? With the motorcar, did the contrast between city and countryside, the cultural power of which was dissected so well by Raymond Williams, falter? One kind of answer might be found in the rich history explored by David Matless, for one country, in Landscape and Englishness. There are histories of environment and technology from above (Kitty Hauser’s Bloody Old Britain) and below (Ted Nield, Underlands).

This intersection of subjects will necessarily draw on studies from different scholarly specialties: general history, the cluster around the crossroads of “Science and Technology Studies” (STS, including the history and sociology of science and technology), historical geography, and environmental history. This call for papers recognises this fact, while seeking to focus discussion productively by asking for papers that satisfy all three of the following criteria: a) papers that take a primarily historical approach, b) papers that focus on Britain, broadly understood, and c) papers that discuss both technology and environment.

Possible subjects include, but are not restricted to:

  • Technological systems and their environments. Technological systems (in Thomas P. Hughes’s sense), include: networks of light and power, water, sewerage, communication, roads, rail and flight
  • Urban environments, artificial/natural
  • Industrialised organisms in countryside and city
  • Domestication of nature and technology
  • Evolutionary history (in Edmund Russell’s sense) of modern Britain
  • Infrastructures and pathogens, air and pollution, gardens and weeds
  • Bureaucracy (the ‘Government Machine’), nature and conservation
  • Maintenance
  • Agency as a historiographical issue in history of technology and environmental history
  • Comparative national (and transnational) historiographies of technology/environment as steps towards a critical historiography of the technologies and environments of modern Britain

Technology, Environment and Modern Britain will take place at UCL on Wednesday 27 April 2016. Registration will be free.

We invite proposals for thirty-minute papers. Proposals of no more than 350 words, together with the name and institutional affiliation of the speaker should be sent to Jacob Ward at jacob.ward.12@ucl.ac.uk. The closing date for submissions is 1 December 2015.

The workshop is convened by Jon Agar, Professor of Science and Technology Studies, UCL and Jacob Ward, Doctoral Candidate, UCL/The Science Museum.

Kind regards,

Jon Agar and Jacob Ward

CFP: The 7th Tensions of Europe Conference – Technology and Environment

The 7th Tensions of Europe Conference
Stockholm, 3-6 September 2015
Conference theme: Technology and Environment

The 7th Tensions Of Europe Conference will have as its main theme the interaction between technology and the environment. One way of understanding the environment is to think of it as nature appropriated by humankind through technological, scientific and representational means. From farming to space travel, we use technologies and natural resources to sustain our lives. Our use of technologies leaves traces behind in the form of altered environments. Changes at global historical and geological scales are accumulated as heritage and geophysical strata respectively. The intersection of technology and the environment can also be understood culturally or socially. We use technology in our understanding and appreciation of nature (religious, poetic or physical), in monitoring it, assessing it representing it. Further, technology can be a lens and a tool in shaping our relation to the environment. Technologies not only assist in shaping and transforming nature, they also assist us to perceive, observe, record and communicate natures and environments, including imaginative representations of techno-natures in art, literature and film.

The conference also invites scholarship in the general themes of the Tensions of Europe network, such as trans-border flows, common resources, conflicting interests, hidden integration and cultural practices.

We not only invite traditional panel‐sessions with a number of papers and a commentator, but also strongly encourage different formats and new ideas. As long as quality can be demonstrated, the programme committee will not prioritize between formats. By quality we mean suggestions that promise constructive, stimulating and engaging discussion.

We invite scholars from all relevant fields to submit proposals to:

7toe‐2015@kth.se

by 15 February 2015. All proposals should include a title, a short abstract, the academic title and affiliation of the applicant(s) and a short bio. Please name your file with your surname. Abstracts for individual papers and posters should be no more than 300 words.

For panels, we ask for a description of the theme of the panel (max 300 words) together with shorter abstracts (max 150 words) of the individual papers. If you wish to suggest a presentation of a different format, please use these word limits as guidelines.

We will inform applicants by 1 April 2015 Whether their contribution has been accepted. A second call for papers, with information about keynote speakers and the conference website, will be distributed before the end of 2014.

Welcome to Stockholm in September 2015!

Nina Wormbs Head Of Division Of History Of Science, Technology And Environment KTH Royal Institute of Technology

CFP: Transplanting Modernity: the Environmental Legacy of International Development

June 23-24, 2015

Washington, DC Area

Conveners: Tom Robertson of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Jenny Leigh Smith of the Georgia Institute of Technology

This two-day, NSF sponsored workshop will focus on the environmental impact technological modernization and other forms of development assistance had in the Global South during the twentieth century. Historians and other scholars interested in science, technology and environmental change will gather in the Washington DC area June 23-24, immediately before the Society for the History of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Conference in Washington, DC. Conference papers of 5000-7000 words will be pre-circulated among workshop participants. Conference papers may be included in an edited volume that will be assembled after the conference. Continue reading

CFP: Green Capitalism? Exploring the Crossroads of Environmental and Business History

A conference October 30 and 31, 2014, at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware sponsored by the Center for the History of Business, Technology and Society and the German Historical Institute – DC.

This conference hopes to point to fresh opportunities for joining the insights of environmental and business history. We are especially interested in providing historical perspectives on a question of obvious relevance today: Can capitalism be green – or at least greener? Our title – “Green Capitalism?” – is admittedly drawn from contemporary discourse. But we are convinced that history can provide invaluable insights into the complex and changing relationship between business and the environment.

We invite papers that consider in specific historical contexts the extent to which the business enterprises that are central to capitalism operated in an environmentally sound or detrimental manner by the way they dealt with their refuse, by managing their use of resources, and mitigating or ignoring any harmful impact on those who handled their products or are affected by their waste. Though business activities have had many deleterious environmental consequences, businesses sometimes have acted to protect the environment, reduce their direct and indirect environmental impact, and promote environmental reform in society. That is true now, but it also was sometimes the case long before the rise of modern environmentalism.

Papers can take many forms. We expect that many papers will focus on the history of particular firms. Others may analyze historical controversies about the use of resources or the cultural, political, and environmental factors that have shaped how business treats the environment. Given the global nature of business activity and environmental concerns, we encourage papers that take a transnational perspective on these issues. The papers may address any area of the world in the industrial era, roughly after 1800.

Papers might consider, among others, the following questions:

  • In what instances, and in what ways, has business mitigated pollution and other harmful environmental impacts, for what reasons and objectives, and in what political, economic, and social contexts?
  • What were the intended and unintended consequences of the innovations instituted by businesses to mitigate their impact on the environment?
  • Why and in what context has business or business organizations advocated for government regulation of environmental conditions?
  • When, and in what specific episodes, have there been conflicts among businesses and business sectors over environmental and energy issues?
  • When and why have businesses sought to encourage changes in consumer behavior that have environmental implications?
  • In what ways have business interests drawn on or adapted environmental concerns to their business strategies?
  • How has privatization of resource allocation functions once reserved for public agencies (e.g. energy distribution, water procurement) influenced engagement with environmental issues by business?
  • How has the globalization of business activity affected the terrain of environmental concerns: where products are made, used, regulated, and discarded or recycled?
  • How has the location of environmental and resource concerns in local, regional, national, or international contexts influenced business initiatives?
  • How have business initiatives around the environment been shaped by local and national conditions, regulatory regimes, legal institutions, and/or political culture?

The program committee includes: Adam Rome (University of Delaware), Yda Schreuder (University of Delaware), Hartmut Berghoff (German Historical Institute), Erik Rau (Hagley Museum and Library), and Roger Horowitz (Hagley Museum and Library).

Proposals may be up to 500 words in length, and should include a summary of the paper’s argument, the sources on which it draws, and the larger historiographic context or contemporary debates with which it engages. A short c.v. or resume should accompany the proposal. The deadline for receipt of proposals is May 1, 2014 and should be sent via email to Carol Lockman, clockman@Hagley.org. Presenters will receive travel support to cover most costs to attend the conference.

Envirotech Travel Grant – ASEH 2014

The Envirotech Special Interest Group is pleased to announce a $400 travel grant for the upcoming 2014 ASEH conference. Eligibility for the award is limited to those presenting a paper addressing the interrelated histories of environment and technology at the upcoming ASEH meeting in San Francisco, CA, March 12-16, 2014. The grant is available to current graduate students, recent Ph.D.s (earned within three years) and independent scholars. The application is due by Monday, December 16, 2013. The winner will receive a check for $400 at the Envirotech breakfast meeting during the conference.

Applicants should complete this form, and email it along with a one or two page C.V. to TravelGrant@envirotechhistory.org. Any questions should be addressed to Chair, Envirotech Travel Grant, and submitted by email to TravelGrant@envirotechhistory.org.

Envirotech Travel Grant Application – SHOT 2013

The Envirotech Interest Group is pleased to announce a $400 travel grant for the upcoming SHOT conference in Portland, ME. Eligibility for the award is limited to those presenting a paper addressing the interrelated histories of environment and technology at the 2013 SHOT meeting in Portland (10-13 October 2013). Those who have completed their Ph.D. more than three years prior and are fully employed are not eligible. Independent scholars are eligible regardless of the date the Ph.D. was received. This application must be received by Monday, September 2nd, 2013. The winner will receive a check for $400 at the Envirotech meeting during the conference.

Applicants should complete this form, and email it along with their C.V. to TravelGrant@envirotechweb.org. Any questions should be addressed to Chair, Envirotech Travel Grant, and submitted by email to TravelGrant@envirotechweb.org.

CFP: Workshop for the History of the Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science (WHEATS), March 15-17, 2013

The Doctoral Program in History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to be hosting WHEATS in 2013. Now in its ninth year, the Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science (WHEATS) brings together graduate students studying topics contained under this heading. The Workshop will take place March 15 through March 17, 2013. WHEATS welcomes submissions from any discipline that engages with these fields.

Pre-circulated papers of 25-30 pages will be discussed by participants and senior scholars in roundtable format. This arrangement is well-suited for works in progress, and the workshop will have sessions on professional development as well as opportunities to meet and interact with members of a larger Philadelphia area scholarly community working in relevant fields.

Potential participants should visit the website linked below to submit a brief abstract (200 words) and a short curriculum vitae by August 1, 2012. Accepted papers will be due February 1, 2013.

To submit a proposal, please visit:
https://sites.sas.upenn.edu/wheats/pages/call-proposals

For further information, visit:
http://sites.sas.upenn.edu/wheats

Contact the organizers at:
wheats2013 at sas.upenn.edu

Envirotech Travel Grant Application – SHOT 2012

The Envirotech Interest Group is pleased to announce a $400 travel grant for the upcoming SHOT conference in Copenhagen. Eligibility for the award is limited to those presenting a paper addressing the interrelated histories of environment and technology at the 2012 SHOT meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark (October 4–7, 2012). Those who have completed their Ph.D. more than three years prior and are fully employed are not eligible. Independent scholars are eligible regardless of the date the Ph.D. was received. This application must be received by June 30, 2012. The winner will receive a check for $400 at the Envirotech meeting during the conference.

Applicants should complete this form (EnvirotechTravelGrantAppplication_SHOT2012), and email it along with their C.V. to TravelGrant@envirotechweb.org. Any questions should be addressed to Chair, Envirotech Travel Grant, and submitted by email to TravelGrant@envirotechweb.org.

CFP: Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), 2012 Annual Meeting, 4-7 October, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Society for the History of Technology will hold its annual meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark from 4-7 October at the Copenhagen Business School. The Program Committee invites paper and panel proposals on any topic in the history of technology, broadly defined. The Committee welcomes proposals for individual papers or sessions, as well as works-in-progress from researchers at all levels (including graduate students, chaired professors, and independent scholars). It welcomes proposals from those new to SHOT, regardless of discipline. Multinational, international, and cross-institutional sessions are particularly encouraged. We especially encourage proposals from non-Western and Eastern-European scholars. Since this is a non-North American meeting, the Program Committee will permit scholars who presented at the 2011 Cleveland meeting to give papers in Copenhagen. It is SHOT’s policy to relax its rule about not presenting papers at two consecutive meetings in order to attract as many people as possible to meetings outside of North America.

For the 2012 meeting the Program Committee continues to welcome unconventional sessions; that is, session formats that diverge in useful ways from the typical three/four papers with comment. These might include round-table sessions, workshop-style sessions with papers that are pre-circulated electronically, or “author meets critics” sessions. We also welcome poster proposals for presentation in poster sessions.

THE DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS IS 31 MARCH 2012.

DETAILED SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE BY 13 FEBRUARY 2012.

While paper and session proposals on all topics are welcome, the Program Committee is especially interested in proposals that engage the following themes:

SHOT 2012 SPECIAL THEMES
I. Technology, sustainability, and environment.
SHOT has a long history of analyzing how technologies have interfered with or shaped nature and our social or cultural environments. The search for sustainable technology solutions has recently become a main preoccupation of engineers, designers and tinkerers all over the world and is high on the political agenda too. Possible themes to address are:
– Questions of scale: onsite, small- and community-scale technology as challenges for large-scale and centralized models of technology design, both in rural and new urban environments
– Smart design: ecodesign and sustainable industrial or product design as evidence of smart solutions for an accountable handling of technology
– Natural infrastructures: infrastructures as “natural” environments and nature (air, water, soil) as co-producers of large-scale infrastructures
– More with less: new technologies and the search for efficiency in energy consumption or technologies of power saving in housing, transport, and communication

II. Technology, East-West relations, and the Cold War.
During the Cold War, Europe was one of the central laboratories for experimentation with ideological and political regimes, which deeply affected traditional paths of knowledge and technology transfer in Europe. While the history of the Cold War has mainly been told as a history of discontinuity and fragmentation, we would especially welcome papers and sections dealing with examples of successful co-operation or “hidden continuities” in inter-European technology transfer during the 20th century. General areas to be explored are:
– Changing times: continuities and discontinuities in the transfers of knowledge and technology between Eastern and Western Europe and the rest of the world from the mid-19th century to the present
– Negotiating identities: spaces and places of co-operation or confrontation before, during, and after the Cold War
– Blurred boundaries: spill-over effects and holes in the Iron Curtain
– Trading zone: Europe as symbolic battlefield and diplomatic playground for world hegemony
– Chilling effects: Technologies at war & wartime technology
– Secret stories: technologies of intelligence and espionage and their staging in popular media (comics, films, magazines, television & radio)
– Competing Modernities: the uses of technology in a variety of economic development and modernization schemes

Evaluation Criteria, General Ground Rules, and Specific Requirements for Individual Paper Proposals and Session Proposals
The Program Committee’s highest priority in evaluating paper and panel proposals is scholarly excellence.

General ground rules: SHOT rules exclude multiple submissions (i.e., submitting more than one individual paper proposal, or proposing both an individual paper and a paper as part of a session). However, scholars may both propose a paper and serve as a commentator or session chair.

Proposals for individual papers must include:
1. a one-page abstract (maximum 600 words)
2. a one-page curriculum vitae, including current postal and e-mail addresses

Proposals for complete sessions must include:
1. a description of the session that explains how individual papers contribute to an overall theme (300 words max)
2. the names and paper titles of the presenters
3. for each presenter, a one-page summary (maximum 600 words) of the paper’s topic, argument(s), and evidence used
4. for the commentator, chair, and each presenter: one-page c.v., with postal and e-mail addresses

* Please note that in general we discourage panels with more than three papers.
**Please indicate if a proposal is sponsored by one of SHOT’s special interest groups.

DETAILED SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE BY 13 FEBRUARY 2012.

Further Information:
For more information about the Society for the History of Technology and our annual meeting, please see the SHOT webpage: http://www.historyoftechnology.org/.
For general questions about the Society for the History of Technology, please contact SHOT Secretary Bernie Carlson at SHOTSecy@virginia.edu.

Call For Proposals: Workshop for the History of the Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science (WHEATS) 2011

The Doctoral Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) at MIT is pleased to be hosting WHEATS in 2011. Now in its eighth year, the Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science (WHEATS) brings together graduate students studying topics contained under this heading. The Workshop will take place September 30-October 2, 2011. WHEATS welcomes submissions from any discipline with interests in these fields. Pre-circulated papers of 25-30 pages will be discussed by participants and senior scholars in roundtable format. This arrangement is well-suited for works in progress, and the workshop will have sessions on professional development as well as opportunities to meet and engage with members of the broader HASTS community at MIT.

Funding to defray travel costs will be provided, as will most meals. The option to stay with local students will be available, should participants wish to do so. Potential participants should submit a one-page abstract (200 words) and a short curriculum vitae by April 30, 2011. Applicants should note their year of graduate study or Ph.D. completion date. Accepted papers will be due August 31, 2011.

For further information, contact:

wheats-organizers@mit.edu

Or visit:

wheats.mit.edu

Send submissions to:

wheats-submissions@mit.edu