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Call for Papers and Sessions

ICOHTEC Symposium –– Saint-Étienne, France –– 17 to 21 July 2018

Deadline for proposals is 5 February 2018

The International Committee for the History of Technology will hold its 45th symposium at the Jean Monnet University in the city of Saint-Étienne, France. The general theme of the symposium is “Technological Drive from Past to Future? 50 years of ICOHTEC.” Our intention is to inquire into long-term trends in interactions between technology and society, as well as utopian and dystopian views of the future in connection with technology. We aim to examine how the role of technology has changed in history and what historians can anticipate the character and trends of technological change in the future. The value of memories of the past to the present and future has been frequently discussed. The German theologian Albert Schweitzer claimed that “happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory, whereas the Spanish philosopher George Santayana argued “those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.The symposium is to explore whether there is any possibility to solve the dilemma between history and future.

As usual, the ICOHTEC program committee welcomes papers on a wide range of topics, covering the changing relations between technology and society in the past. The programme committee suggests the following non-exhaustive list of subthemes for the consideration of session organisers as well as contributors of individual papers and posters:


1.    Expressions of “technological momentum” in history

2.    The role of technology in the development of societies and in globalisation

3.    Political power and the power of technology: Shaping technology under the pressures of society

4.    Regionalism and universalism of technology: Can technology be constructed as neutral independent on its contexts?

5.    Innovations and risks: relations between technology and the environment

6.    Technology, culture, and landscape: border and interfaces of natural and artificial

7.    Playing with technology and playful approaches to technology

8.    Media, communication and technology: Mutual dependencies?

9.    Significance of technological heritage to the future

10. The beauty of machines: Art, design and culture in industry and technology

11. Representations of technology and industry in utopias and dystopias

12. Heritage in the centennial commemorations of World War I: industry, technology, and the Great War

13. Digitalisation and computerisation: Technological trends and social effects

Because ICOHTEC celebrates its 50th anniversary at this symposium, a plenary session will be organized to look back on our organization’s contribution to the last fifty years of history writing, as well as looking ahead, to explore new topics and approaches. More details on this event will be announced on our website.

The symposium covers all periods and areas of the globe. We invite submissions of new, original and unpublished work that offers fresh perspectives for the history of technology as well as exploring sources and methods.

The programme committee prefers submissions of coherent session proposals of three to four papers, although individual papers are welcome, too. We also encourage poster presentations, which will be exhibited during the whole period of the symposium. Each poster will be assigned a short time slot in a special session, during which the presenter will briefly clarify its topic and engage in discussion with the audience. Posters are appropriate to doctoral students and museum curators as well as all those who want drawing attention to their focused topics. Besides these types of proposals, the committee also encourages to propose unconventional formats, for example roundtables on recent important books or research issues or panel discussions on films or videos dealing with the history of technology.

Proposal Guidelines

Papers, sessions and poster proposals must be submitted in English.

INDIVIDUAL PAPER proposals must include (1) a 200 – 300-word abstract, and (2) a one-page biographical sketch. Abstracts should include the author’s name and email address, a short descriptive title of the paper, a concise statement of the thesis, a brief discussion of the sources, and a summary of the major conclusions.

Presentations should be compact analytical summaries of the author’s research. You will have 15 or 20 minutes for an oral presentation (depending on whether your session has three or four papers), which is roughly equivalent to 5 – 7 double-spaced typed pages.

Contributors are encouraged to submit full-length versions of their papers after the symposium for consideration by ICOHTEC’s peer-reviewed journal ICON by 1st of December 2018.

SESSION proposals must include (1) an abstract of the session (300 – 400 words) with the list of proposed papers and a suggestion for a session chairperson; (2) abstracts for each paper (200 – 300 words) (3) a one-page biographical sketch for each contributor and chairperson. Sessions should consist of three to four speakers or three speakers and one commentator. It is possible to propose several related sessions, which can take place over more than one day. The programme committee reserves the right to relocate papers to different sessions and to add papers to sessions. We also encourage proposing roundtables and other “untraditional” session formats.

POSTER proposals must include (1) a 200 – 300-word abstract; and (2) a one-page biographical sketch. Abstracts should include the author’s name and email address, a short descriptive title, a concise statement of the thesis, a brief discussion of the sources, and a summary of the major conclusions.

Note: Membership in ICOHTEC is not required to participate in the symposium but members will pay a reduced registration fee. We especially encourage graduate students and young researchers to participate in the symposium and submit their proposals. A limited number of travel grants of 350 euro will be available for Ph.D. candidates and young researchers, who are giving papers at the Symposium, see further information at: .

Submission of proposals

The deadline for all submissions is 5 February 2018.

Please, submit proposals for papers and sessions via the ICOHTEC online submission system at:

( )

Please, check updated instructions on submissions at our website:

Should you have any queries on the submission procedure or programme, please contact Timo Myllyntaus, the chair of the programme committee, via email (




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