Workshop: Interdisciplinary perspectives on technology

Online (Zoom), Monday 19 April 2021 (University of Helsinki, Finnish Society for the History of Technology)

This one-day online workshop invites presentation proposals from scholars working in different fields of history and dealing with technology or aspects of technology in their work. The workshop is part of the Baltic Connections conference organised by the University of Helsinki. The workshop encourages in particular graduate students and early career scholars to present their work.

The aim of the workshop is to stimulate interdisciplinary discussion about the role and the relevance of technology in different historical research approaches. Technology is an important element in the development of past societies and the everyday lives of past people. Accordingly, technology has been integrated into historical analysis in various useful and fruitful ways, for instance, by seeing technology/ies as neutral and marketable assets, as complex systems of national pride, or as value-laden elements affecting human relations. Are the various approaches complimentary or should they, rather, be interpreted as divergent or clashing? Through presentations on different historical research cases, the workshop delves into the different roles technology has in historical analysis and offers interdisciplinary insights for our work and perspectives on technology: What role should technology have in historical analysis? How can interdisciplinary perspectives contribute to our research about technology?

The workshop has two invited speakers, Julia Lajus (HSE University, St Petersburg) and Alessandro Nuvolari (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa), who will talk about their research perspectives on technology: Lajus approaches the theme through the lens of history of environment and science while the viewpoint of Nuvolari is economic history and innovation.

We invite paper proposals from all areas of history with a perspective on technology. We especially encourage presentations about project ideas or emerging work. The proposals should include an abstract of 100-200 words and a biographical description of 2-4 sentences about the presenter. Proposals should be submitted by 16 March 2021 to Notifications of acceptance will be sent out in the following week. The Finnish Society for the History of Technology covers the Baltic Connections conference participation fee for the workshop presenters.

The workshop is a one-day workshop with 4-5 sessions. The presentations will be grouped into thematic sessions with an expert speaker, who introduces the theme and discusses the presentations. The proposals can be related to the following areas of research, but should regard technology in a historical setting:

  • business history and technology
  • technology and environment
  • digital humanities and the history of technology
  • technology, culture and urban history
  • economic history and technology
  • history of innovation, patents and technological change
  • transnational and regional approaches to technology
  • technology and gender in history
  • politics of technology and nationalism
  • technology and media history
  • historical data or artefacts about technology

The workshop is organised jointly by the Baltic Connections conference and the Finnish Society for the History of Technology.
For more information about the workshop, please contact Matti La Mela (Uppsala University),