CFP: Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) Annual Meeting

The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) is an interdisciplinary and international organization concerned not only with the history of technological devices and processes but also with technology in history and society. We explore the production, circulation, appropriation, maintenance and abandonment of technology under specific historical circumstances. And we scrutinize the epistemic, economic, social, cultural and political conditions of this development. Our approaches are informed by a broad concept of technology encompassing knowledge resources, practices, artefacts and biofacts, i.e. artefacts in the realm of the living. Accordingly, the Program Committee invites paper and session proposals on any topic in a broadly defined history of technology, including topics that push the boundaries of the discipline. Submitters are encouraged to propose sessions that include a diverse mix of participants: multinational origins, gender, graduate students and junior scholars with senior scholars, significantly diverse institutional affiliations, etc.
To pay tribute to the venue of the 2017 annual meeting – Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed – we want to encourage proposals that engage topics related to technology, democracy and participation. The birthplace of the oldest participatory democracy is the ideal setting for reflecting on, and interrogating, the overlapping subjects of technology, democracy, and participation. Philadelphia was not only the first capital of the United States, but also an early capital of industrialization and the accompanying transformations of work, skill, creation and maintenance, all of which continue to shape modern participation in the world. Commercial systems, slave economies, and immigration patterns developed locally alongside complex technologies of production and infrastructure in Philadelphia. Industrialization also led to an era of increased human intervention in the environment, now referred to as the Anthropocene. City and region participated in the cyclical expansion and contraction of global trade and supply chains of commodities, labor, and cultures. As other urban and rural, industrialized and agricultural polities have historically contended with similar forces of change, and transnational networks have carried the impacts of modernization agendas to both willing and unwilling communities, the cultural embrace of technology, notions of democracy, and ideologies of participation have played out in myriad ways around the world. These cultural commitments and their interactions, as seen in Philadelphia’s history and across a wide range of other global settings, thus form an appropriate theme for the 2017 SHOT meeting.