CfP for SHOT 2015 Panel: "Outside Technologies"

Outside Technologies: Instruments and their Users in the Field Sciences

Society for the History of Technology, Annual Meeting, 8-11 October 2015, Albuqerque, NM

This panel will focus on the use and users of technologies in the field sciences from the second half of the nineteenth to the second half of the twentieth century. Following recent calls to pay more attention to the material context of scientific field work, the papers will address the ways in which practitioners from different disciplines selected and worked with scientific instruments in different places around the globe to gather environmental information and data. What kind of criteria did scientists employ in their choice of available technologies on expeditions into foreign environments? What kind of training and preparation did specialists and lay practitioners go through before setting out with their instruments? How did practitioners deal with the issues of adjustment and calibration in different and changing environments? How did they mediate between their own instrument readings, laboratory research, and local technologies and knowledge? And what kind of information and data were made available – or possibly lost – by the use of new technologies in the field. In examining these and related questions, we are particularly interested in discussing how scientists and lay observers understood both the role of their instruments and their own role as instrument handlers in construing new understandings and images of local and global environments – from national, to colonial, to post‐
colonial contexts.

To propose a paper for this panel, please contact Philipp Lehmann at plehmann@mpiwg‐ by 22 March 2015. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words.