First call for papers: Teknik- och vetenskapshistoriska dagar 2017

[via Björn Wallsten]

Den 20-22 september 2017 anordnas den nationella konferensen Teknik- och vetenskapshistoriska dagar i Norrköping. Konferensen går av stapeln vartannat år och riktar sig till doktorander och forskare inom teknik- och vetenskapshistoria och angränsande forskningsfält, samt till personer verksamma inom museisektorn. Arrangör för 2017 års konferens är Svenska Nationalkommittén för teknik- och vetenskapshistoria i samarbete med institutionen för Tema, Linköpings universitet.

Historiska studier av vetenskap och teknik bedrivs inom en rad discipliner och områden, alltifrån teknik- och vetenskapshistoria, idéhistoria, medicinhistoria, miljöhistoria, ekonomisk historia och teknik- och vetenskapsstudier till etnologi, sociologi och kulturstudier. Arrangörskommittén vill uppmuntra doktorander och forskare från samtliga dessa discipliner att delta, och välkomnar följande typer av bidrag:

  • Individuella papers eller presentationer på valfritt tema
  • Förslag på sessioner på valfritt tema
  • Individuella bidrag som anknyter till konferensens teman

Ett av konferensens bärande teman kommer att vara miljöhistoria. Denna historiska disciplin kom till Sverige i slutet av 1990-talet och innebar då ett förhållandevis nytt sätt att undersöka historiska förändringar. På senare år har ett växande miljöhistoriskt forskningsintresse kunnat skönjas såväl i Sverige som internationellt, vilket inte minst syns i satsningar på miljöhumaniora vid ett flertal lärosäten. Syftet med att ha miljöhistoria som tema på en teknik- och vetenskapshistorisk konferens är att skapa diskussion kring tekniken och vetenskapens relation till vår samtids miljöutmaningar. Givet hur klimatförändringarna och andra miljöproblems betydelse som drivkraft för samhällsutvecklingen hamnat allt högre på agendan under det gångna århundradet, har också synen på tekniken och vetenskapens möjligheter och problem i relation till miljön förändrats. Teknikens inneboende ambivalens som både skapare av och tänkbar lösning till olika sorters miljöproblem kommer således särskilt att lyftas fram och diskuteras.

Utöver miljöhistoria har även medicinsk historia och digital humaniora fastställts som teman. Professor Rosalind Williams från MiT har tackat ja till att vara en av konferensens keynote speakers. Eftersom 2017 års upplaga är den första som återvänder till en stad där den organiserats en gång tidigare (2002), kommer en paneldebatt att ägnas åt reflektion kring konferensens historia, funktion och framtid.

Konferensens språk är svenska, övriga skandinaviska språk samt engelska.

Sista dag för anmälan av individuella abstracts och förslag på sessioner är 1 februari 2017.

Anmälan och eventuella frågor skickas till:

English summary

A national conference on the History of Science and Technology will be held in Norrköping, September 20-22, 2017. The conference is held every two years and is aimed at graduate students and researchers in the history of technology and science and adjacent research fields and to people working in the museum sector. Organizer for the 2017 conference is the Swedish National Committee of the History of Technology and Science in cooperation with the Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University. The main topic of the conference is Environmental history.

For further information, please send a message to:


CFP: From above: On a scientifically privileged postion, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 12-13 January 2017

Workshop invitation

From above: on a scientifically privileged position

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Linnésalen, 12-13 January 2017

The dream of an ”Apollo’s eye” in viewing the earth goes back to antiquity, but in the modern period technologies have enabled a production of scientific knowledge literally from above, e.g. from mountain tops, balloons and satellites. Seeing the world in overview is a modern capability shaping symbols and narratives of the earth and global contexts. Our sense of the global has a deep historicity, affecting what we can think, feel and say about planetary scales.

The aim of this workshop is to explore the modern history of scientific technologies, cultural practices and aesthetic conventions that produced extra-ordinary views from above. The workshop focuses on the period 1750-2000 and investigates what a history of observations from an elevated position looks like. Instruments, at times intertwined with the vessels which carry them, have a history which give them meaning far beyond the task of measurement. Positions involving overview have been considered privileged. Accordingly, the workshop also aims at exploring imagery as well as cultural narratives of overview relating the highs and the skies to power, indeed to ideas about freedom, paradise, afterlife and the eternal.

The meeting is organised as part of the research programme ”Science and Modernization in Sweden: An Institutional Approach to Historicizing the Knowledge Society”, hosted by the Center for the History of Science at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is also the venue for the meeting.The theme ties into ongoing research in the programme and at Stockholm University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and University of Gothenburg.

We invite abstracts of 1-2 pages and a short cv, deadline 10 June 2016. Notice of acceptance will be given no later than 24 June 2016. The workshop will not have precirculated papers however we envision a tight and thematic schedule with engaged comments and discussions. Depending on the interest and outcome of the accepted papers we will consider moving forward with a future publication on the topic. We will cover travel and two nights of accommodation for presenters. Questions and submissions should be directed to:

Nina Wormbs, Associate professor, History of Science and Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology,

Staffan Bergwik, Associate professor, History of Ideas, Stockholm University

Björn Billing, Senior lecturer, History of Ideas, Gothenburg University

CFP: A Treason of the Intellectuals? International Scientific and Intellectual Relations with Germany during the Nazi Era, Uppsala University, December 8-9 2016

Among intellectuals the proper relationship between knowledge and power has been debated since antiquity. With the rise of Communism, Fascism and Nazism intellectual pursuits of all kinds seemed to become politicized by necessity. A common strategy then — as it still is — was however to claim that the pursuit of knowledge is by its very nature unpolitical. The ideological circumstances of the interwar era and the Second World War in fact made claims of apolitical knowledge production very political indeed. Such claims were common among intellectuals with a positive view of German developments. Some of them argued not only that knowledge production should be politically impartial but also that developments in the Third Reich should be viewed impartially (in contrast to politicized criticism from e.g. the left). Such discourses implicitly connected unpolitical knowledge making with anti-democratic tendencies.

Relations between NS Germany and other countries have been extensively investigated in some areas (foreign policy, economics etc.). As for intellectual and scientific connections with Germany, research has been more neglected. The aim of this symposium is to gather scholars working on relations between ”pro-German” (i.e. with a positive view of the Hitler regime) intellectuals outside of Germany, among themselves and with German colleagues, during the Nazi era. In particular we are interested in discussing how intellectual pursuits were shaped in interactions with the academic system in NS Germany (e.g. through Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst or Deutsches Wissenschaftliches Institut) where scientific and cultural exchange was viewed as part and parcel of ”cultural propaganda”.

The symposium will investigate views on knowledge and politics among ”pro-German” intellectuals through a comparative approach. We presume that positive views on the Hitler regime were indicative of a broader discontent with democracy that, among other things, represented an alternative approach to modernization that was not limited to the German heartlands.

Keynote speakers at the symposium are: PD Dr. Susanne Heim, Institut für Zeitgeschichte München – Berlin and Professor Mark Walker, Union College, Schenectady, NY .

We welcome proposals for papers on the following topics that we think are suitable for discussion from a comparative perspective. Other themes within the broader frame of the symposium are also welcomed.

  • Networks of ”pro-German” intellectuals. Judging by the Swedish case, pro-German scientists, journalists, and other intellectuals tended to congregate in networks that spanned various professions, and that were manifested e.g. through the creation of organizations, through publishing ventures, and not least through personal friendship. Such networks are at the empirical core when investigating the movement we are interested in.
  • Ideological commonalities. Unsurprisingly anti-democratic tendencies seem to have been common among ”pro-German” intellectuals, as were political views informed by strong nationalist or eugenic (not necessarily explicitly anti-Semitic) sentiments. It is hoped the symposium will help broaden the understanding of the intellectual radical right through discussions of a wider gamut of common ideological denominators among this group.
  • Exchange and Propaganda. Exchange between Germany and other countries was of central concern to the regime and to ”pro-German” intellectuals in other countries. Reasons for exchange included the usual ones – the need to keep up with developments in science and culture, forge collaborations etc. But exchange was also justified and shaped by ”cultural propaganda”. How such exchange was played out is an important topic for cross-national comparison as it would reflect on the relationship between local intellectual cultures and broader political concerns (not least those of foreign policy).
  • Views on knowledge and knowledge production. A common critique from democratically minded intellectuals directed against the Nazi regime was that it was anti-intellectual and that it undermined the credibility of German science and culture. Such matters constituted an essentially contested problem area for the regime as well as its friends abroad. Strategies for handling this matter included attempts to de-politicize knowledge production using a rhetoric of non-political science, non-political journalism etc.
  • The ”Jewish question”. Anti-Semitic persecution hit the intellectual professions immediately after the NSDAP seizure of power and immediately affected academic exchange. One goal of Nazi cultural propaganda was to diminish the effects of anti-Semitic policies on the international status of German science and culture. The Swedish case indicates that in matters pertaining to intellectual exchange the Jewish question was handled mostly through a ”policy of silence”.

Practical information

The symposium takes place at Uppsala University December 8-9, 2016 (two full days). Information about venue and other practicalities will be given in a second call.

Abstracts of 200-300 words should be submitted no later than May 1, 2016, to Sebastian Hoas, Please provide full name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. The maximum number of papers is 25. By June 1, 2016 applicants will be notified if their papers have been accepted or not.

The symposium, including lunches, dinner and accommodation (two nights) is free of charge. It may be possible to obtain economic support for travel expenses. Please indicate in the application if such support is required for attendance and what level of support (not more than EUR300) is needed.

The conference language is English.

The symposium is arranged by the Department of History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University. It is organized as part of an ongoing research project on intellectual relations between Sweden and Germany during the Nazi period, financed by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.


Maria Björkman, Olof Ljungström, Patrik Lundell & Sven Widmalm