Do the historians gathered in the Tensions of Europe network have a particular relationship to archives, to sources, and to their research materials? What does being a historian of technologies, infrastructures, or networks imply, and is there a singularity regarding sources and archives? It is this relationship to the archives, to the sources, to the historical material at large, to the spatialities, and materialities as well, that this conference invites us to question.
The issue of “Surprising Sources” can be understood in two ways: first by reflecting on a source that is surprising in its form (use of a series of stamps, unpublished data, a natively digital archive, material traces like abandoned factory, pipes, etc.), and second by presenting a source that is surprising in its content, such as an unexpected discovery in a source that alters the meaning of the research, adds substance to it, or modifies it.