CfP: ICOHTEC conference 2023: Interdependencies. From Local Microstories to Global Perspectives on the History of Technology

Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia, Tallinn University of Technology and the University of Tartu, 14-18 August 2023

The 2023 ICOHTEC annual conference invites scholars to reflect on the complex, mutual relations between technology and the environment, culture, and politics, as well as the ways in which they are entangled at the local, regional, transnational, and global levels. The crises we face today as a consequence of climate change, wars, or the COVID pandemic expose the reality that no institution, company, country, community, or body is independent. They all depend on diverse others within various networks, e.g. production and distribution systems; supply chains, especially of food, energy, materials, and medical products as well as human workers; support and care systems created at the global, national, and interpersonal levels. Within these networks, the solutions developed by unprivileged groups to manage the shortcomings they cope with daily can also be, and in fact are, applied more broadly in the face of the crisis (such as permaculture inspirations in Indigenous people’s methods of water conservation) and for commercial purposes (as evidenced by the long list of solutions invented by or for people with disabilities and then mainstreamed).

By taking up the concept of interdependence, the conference aims to scrutinize the traditional historiographies of technology and to question the narratives they offer about agency, power, and the concept of usually unidirectional paths and impact. We also seek to consider the broader implications of the interrelations of technology with the environment, along with diverse values and beliefs, knowledge and epistemic practices.

We invite scholars working on different aspects of the history of technology, various historic periods, different geographical areas, and welcome researchers working at the intersection of history of technology or philosophy of technology, and other fields, including anthropology, design studies, film and media studies, social sciences, minority and identity studies, to share their perspectives and analyses. We look forward to opening new avenues for exploring the interdependencies between disciplines, paradigms, research methods and theories that relate to technology.

Submissions may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • the local histories of technology/knowledge/practices exchange
  • the local adaptations of technological inventions
  • invisible histories of technology
  • the minority/disability-driven inventions
  • the technologies of the excluded, and the histories of appropriation by the mainstream
  • between appropriation and innovation – brands, companies, policies
  • the interrelations of politics/environment/culture and technology
  • global chains of energy/food/medicine – continuities, disruptions, and temporary/local provisions and hacks
  • maintaining technological systems locally and globally
  • globalization and changing local labour patterns
  • interdependencies and technological entanglements of ecological systems in change
  • the changing scales of technological and scientific inventions – from grassroot to corporate
  • interdependencies between technologies
  • interdependencies between histories and imaginaries
  • methodologies for studying local, small, invisible histories of technology, technology appropriation
  • decolonizing Western/Northern history of technology

Individual paper proposals must include: (1) the presenter’s name and email address; (2) the title of the paper; (3) an abstract (max. 300 words); (4) the presenter’s bio (max. 250 words).

We strongly support the submission of proposals for pre-constituted panels of 3 or 4 papers. Panel organizers are asked to submit: (1) an abstract of the panel theme (max. 300 words); (2) a list of presenters that includes their names, email address, and paper titles, as well as the name and email address of the session chairperson; (3) abstracts for each paper (max. 300 words); (4) a bio for each contributor and the chairperson (max. 250 words each).

Submit all session and individual paper proposals by 15 January 2023 via the ICOHTEC paper submission system:

Please pay close attention to the instructions, particularly to the word limits of the submitted documents.

The programme committee reserves the right to relocate papers to different themes and add papers to panels.

We especially encourage and welcome proposal submissions from graduate students and early career researchers and their participation in the symposium. Limited travel grants will be available.


Programme Committee:

Magdalena Zdrodowska (Poland)

Anna Åberg (Sweden)

Irene Anastasiadou (Netherlands)

Yoel Bergman (Israel)

Yana Boeva (Germany)

Leticia Galluzzi Nunes (Brasil)

Jan Hadlaw (Canada)

Peeter Müürsepp (Estonia)

Marisol Osorio (Colombia)

Maria Rikitianskaia (United Kingdom)

Magdalena Zdrodowska, Chair of the Programme Committee