[Humanist] 25.508 publication: objects in motion cfp

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Nov 24 07:34:56 CET 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 508.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 18:13:48 +0100
        From: Nina Möllers <n.moellers at DEUTSCHES-MUSEUM.DE>
        Subject: CfP for Publication: Objects in Motion. Globalizing Technology (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2013)


Objects in Motion: Globalizing Technology
Artefacts: Studies in the History of Science and Technology, Vol. 8 
(Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2013)
Deadline for Proposal: December 12, 2011

We invite proposals from scholars in the history of science, technology, 
and medicine, science and technology studies, material culture, museum 
and cultural studies for innovative contributions that explore 
technological artefacts within the context of a history of 
globalization. The papers will be published in Volume 8 of the Artefacts 
Series by Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. Publication is 
projected for late 2013.

Global movement of people, objects and ideas—the basis of the 
interconnectedness that makes up globalization—has only been possible 
because of myriad technologies. Technology has driven globalization and 
globalization has changed technology. To understand the intricate 
relationship of both, we need to go back to the artefacts and examine 
machines, appliances and large systems in the (global) networks through 
which they have circulated. How have the dynamics of globalization been 
materialized in objects? Although technological consumer objects such as 
phones, PCs and frozen foods are frequently named when globalizing 
effects are described, artefacts often disappear in public and scholarly 
debates. Yet, by their double nature as both material entity and symbol, 
they produce, re-produce and react to globalizing effects. While 
generations of historians of technology have focused on the materiality 
of objects in the sense that they have analyzed their innovative 
technical character, their operation modes and ‘improvements’, recent 
paradigm shifts have resulted in a more integrative approach to 
technical material culture. Artefacts are increasingly understood as 
embodying both a material and immaterial side that goes beyond their 
mere modes of functioning into the social and cultural realm. Concurrent 
with that is the acknowledgment that technological objects need to be 
studied in view of increasingly globalized production and consumption 
cycles. While the globalized world has changed the ways that 
technological objects have been engineered, built and sold, it similarly 
has changed how they have been perceived and appropriated as consumer 
goods and symbols.

Successful contributions will focus on technological objects as the 
primary objects of inquiry and sources of evidence. We are currently 
accepting proposals for research papers (approx. 6,000 words), case 
studies (max. 3,000 words) and exhibition reviews/discussions (max.1,500 
words). Due to the tight timeline for this project, please limit your 
proposals to projects that are already well advanced.

A topic as large as globalization and technology poses challenges for 
potential contributors wanting to ground their projects in a manageable 
framework. For this reason we are proposing a number of research themes. 
Researchers may wish to explore one or several of these.

1. From Technology Transfer to Reciprocity
In contributing to a history of globalization, object-focused transfer 
studies will have most value where they address questions of dialogue 
and reciprocity in the transfer process, or where they problematize and 
historicize the concept of transfer itself.

2. Modernity, Nation-States and Multinational Corporations
Historians of technology need to analyze globalized technological 
artefacts in their relations to historical meta-narratives and concepts 
such as modernity and Westernization, imperialism and nationalism, 
colonialism and postcolonialism.

3. Global and Local
If we follow Madeleine Akrich’s dictum of user scripts inscribed by 
producers of technology and de-scripted, modified or rejected by users, 
the relationship between global and local contexts of artefacts become 
important. What is the relationship between globalization and localization?

4. Globalization as (Non-)Movement of People, Objects and Knowledge
Studying globalization’s effects on technology means to analyze the 
multidimensional network that is made up of subjects, objects and 
contexts. Who and what have moved in a globalized world? How have labor 
markets, international expert cultures, cooperation and knowledge 
transfer influenced globalization?

5. Globalization and Museums
Finally, the science and technology museum as medium between producers 
and consumers needs to be considered. How has globalization influenced 
the museum, its collections, its exhibitions, its research and its 
administration? How do we exhibit globalization?

Proposals should include a title and abstract (no more than 500 words), 
as well as the author’s curriculum vitae. Please send all proposals 
electronically by December 12, 2011 to:

Bryan Dewalt, Canada Science and Technology Museum, bdewalt at technomuses.ca
Nina Moellers, Deutsches Museum, n.moellers at deutsches-museum.de

Dr. Nina Möllers
Deutsches Museum
Museumsinsel 1
80538 München

n.moellers at deutsches-museum.de


More information about the Humanist mailing list