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CfP: Decoding Europe: Technological Pasts in the Digital Age

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CfP: Decoding Europe: Technological Pasts in the Digital Age

Photo: Babbage difference engine Counter detail – front side. By Jitze Couperus  [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr / cropped and filter applied

The Tensions of Europe conference is organised biennially by an interdisciplinary community of scholars who study the shaping of Europe through the lens of technology and material culture. The 9th edition of the conference will be organised by the C²DH around the theme ‘Decoding Europe: Technological Pasts in the Digital Age.


Decoding Europe: Technological Pasts in the Digital Age investigates the way in which our approach to European technological pasts is influenced, shaped and may even be transformed in the digital age, and, conversely, how the digital present and future of Europe is the result of long-term historical trajectories and patterns.

In the current narrative, digitisation is a process profoundly shaped by US visions. This conference also aims to rediscover European influences in this process, alternative EU visions, etc. Although Europe will be at the centre of most of the analyses, proposals that compare global, national, regional and/or local approaches and combine several scales and trajectories to shed light on technological pasts in the digital age are also welcome.

Along with the impact of digitisation on historical archives, resources and practices, we also invite presentations exploring the writing and shaping of European history in a critical, experimental and interdisciplinary way: retro-digitised and born-digital heritage, new tools and digital practices of European historiography, digital narratives and teaching methods in the field of European history.

Our aim is to encourage a process of cross-fertilisation by including contributions from a wide variety of historical disciplines as well as from archivists and fields such as geography, digital humanities, science and technology studies, Internet studies, media studies, information and communication sciences, and infrastructure, platform and code studies.

Also welcome are themes that extend the general research agenda of the Tensions of Europe network, e.g. transnational histories of technology, history of European infrastructures and networks, environment and technology, the democracy–technology relationship, conflicting interests and technology, technology and hidden integration, technology and culture, gender and technology, technology and ethnicity, and technology and disability.


Some possible topics:

  • The history of computerisation and digitisation in Europe
  • Continuity and change between the analog and digital eras
  • Computerisation and digitisation in specific fields, industries and sectors
  • The history of robotics, automation, artificial intelligence in Europe, etc.
  • The history of data (data histories, historicising big data, etc.)
  • Critical perspectives on the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”
  • The influence of US trajectories and alternative European visions
  • Digitised and born-digital material culture in European history
  • Heritagisation of Europe in the digital age
  • Digital tools and methods for analysing historical datasets/digital sources
  • New digital narratives and teaching methods in history of technology/European history
  • General topics on the ToE research agenda


Tensions of Europe conferences have always featured alternative meeting formats. We encourage proposals for non-traditional sessions with different formats and new ideas (e.g. round tables, agenda-building sessions, brainstorming sessions, break-out groups with assignments, poster discussions, film discussions and event-based sessions). As long as quality can be demonstrated – with the potential for constructive, stimulating and engaging discussion – the program committee will not prioritise between formats.

The organisers invite scholars to submit proposals by 15 November 2018 (submissions will open on 15 October 2018).

For information on the academic and social programme of the conference, affiliated events and keynote speakers, see the conference website: www.toe2019.org.

All proposals should include a title, a short abstract and the academic title, affiliation and short biography of the applicant(s). Please name your PDF document with your LastName-FirstName.

Abstracts for individual papers and posters should be 250-300 words.

For panels, please describe the theme of the panel (max. 300 words) and provide shorter abstracts (max. 150 words each) for individual papers.

Two “My PhD in 10 minutes” sessions will allow young scholars to present their research. Please submit an abstract of 150 words (and specify that you are applying for these sessions).

If you wish to suggest a presentation in a different format, please also use these word limits as guidelines.

We will inform all applicants whether their proposals have been accepted by 20 January 2019.


Important dates

  • Opening of submissions: 15 October 2018
  • Deadline for proposals: 15 November 2018
  • Notification of acceptance: 20 January 2019
  • Confirmation of participation: 20 February 2019
  • Publication of draft programme: 15 March 2019
  • Opening of registration: 20 March 2019



If you have any questions, please contact toe2019@uni.lu.

Conference website: www.toe2019.org

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