Technology, Innovation, and Sustainability: Historical and Contemporary Narratives

Type: Call for Papers
Date: February 29, 2016
Location: Portugal
Subject Fields: History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Environmental History / Studies, Intellectual History

Deadline extended to 29 February 2016

Call for papers for the International Committee for the History of Technology’s 43rd Annual Meeting in Porto, Portugal, 26-30 July 2016

Technology, Innovation, and Sustainability:
Historical and Contemporary Narratives
Innovation and sustainability have become key words of our everyday life, extending from political and economic discourse to teaching curricula and from the lay public to academia. However, the use of these terms is often abstract and simplistic, ignoring the density of their interrelationships in different geographic, historical and civilizational contexts, and the boomerang character of today’s world.
The 43rd ICOHTEC meeting aims at addressing this complex relationship by encouraging papers that contribute to a deeper understanding of the multilayer cultural and material built meaning of innovation and sustainability and on the various roles played by technology in enabling or preventing such interplay.
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 We invite submissions of new, original and unpublished work that offers fresh perspectives for the history of technology as well as exploring sources and methods.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 main theme embraces the concepts of technology, innovation and sustainability as organizing principles, thus perceiving them as actors in the building of today’s globalized society. The programme committee suggests the following non-exhaustive sub-themes for the consideration of session organisers and contributors of individual papers, and posters:
·Routes of innovation: the changing relationship between centres and peripheries  (north-south; west-east)
·Readdressing technology’s conceptual topics: from diffusionism to appropriation
·Innovating in imperial settings: western dominance, indigenous agency and go-betweens
·Rethinking global technology governance: how to make innovation work for society
·Technology, nature and power: postcolonial perspectives on innovation
· Food, environment and agriculture: industrial and cultural approaches to sustainability
·Innovation and sustainability patterns in Europe and elsewhere
·Identities in the face of innovations and environmental crises
·Linking the territory; mobility patterns and environmental choices
·"The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse": balancing urban and rural territories
·From grey to green: sustainable energy
·Inventing new consumers: innovation, sustainability and consumption
·The Big Brother syndrome: privacy in open societies
·The Grey Goo syndrome: risk and ethical choices in nuclear, biomedical, and nano technologies
·The changing historiography of innovation
·Sustainable narratives of crises: articulating disasters and challenges
·Green home in green city: sustainable architecture and urban planning
·Re-inventing health in globalized world
·Displaying the past or teaching the future? In quest for sustainable museum of technology

ICOHTEC welcomes proposals for individual papers and posters, but preference will be given to organised sessions of three or more papers. The Programme Committee will also consider submissions not directly related to the symposium theme providing that they relate to the history of technology broadly defined. All proposals must be in English, and should be submitted electronically by 29 February 2016 via  For suggestions about preparing your submission and the conference presentation, please consult the guidelines on
The ICOHTEC Board will make available a limited number of travel grants for graduates, post-graduates and young researchers who are giving papers at the Symposium.
In addition to the scientific programme, the symposium will include plenary sessions, business meetings, special sessions for the prize winning book and article, the general assembly of ICOHTEC as well as social events such as excursions, receptions, and a banquet.
If you have any questions related to the scientific programme, paper, poster or session proposals, please, do not hesitate to contact Sławomir Łotysz, the chair of the programme committee, at

Programme Committee:
·         Inês Amorim, CITCEM, University of Porto, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Porto, Portugal
·         Eike-Christian Heine, Stuttgart University, Department of History, Section for the History of the Impact of Technology, Stuttgart, Germany
·         Peter Koval, Cluster of Excellence Image Knowledge Gestaltung, Humboldt University, Berlin, Slovakia/Germany
·         Dick van Lente, Erasmus Universiteit, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
·         Sławomir Łotysz (chair), Institute for the History of Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
·         M. Luísa Sousa, CIUHCT, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
·         James Stark, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom