Conference Announcement

“EuroNets—EuroChannels—EuroVisions: Towards a History of Telecommunications in 20th-Century Europe”

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich is sponsoring a workshop on telecommunications history to be held May 15-17, 2003. The conference organizers define telecommunications broadly and are interested in the many ways in which telecommunication technologies affect all aspects of public and private life in Europe, as well as the tight interlocking of technological and social change.

Their stated aim is to examine the knowledge and expectations that circulate among the main network actors, the existing interests and connections within and between organized actors, the strategies and procedures that enhance the implementation of specific technical settings, devices, and standards, and the hidden paths among organizational problems, system design, and political economy, including the problems of technologi-cal redundancy, transformations within institutional frameworks, and failed projects.

The organizers also are interested in such aspects as how societal standards, rules, and norms guiding public and private life form through telecommu-nications, and how legal and economic control over infrastructures occurs. Other areas of interest include public and private security and control, crime and political subversion, and the pronounced role of institutional outsid-ers, such as radio amateurs and hackers. They welcome papers that deal with the visions, expectations, prom-ises, fears, warnings, and unexpected results that accompany the implementation of telecommunication networks. They also are interested in the interaction between culture and technology as expressed through exhibitions, sports, war, terror attacks, national and international tourism, the internationalization of finances, as well as telecommunications as a means for expressing social differentiation.

In addition to presenting their own work, work-shop participants will receive a colleague’s contribution in advance, which they will discuss with the author. Send an abstract (about 250 words) and a short biographical note, including a list of selected publications, before December 18, 2002 to:

bonhage@history.gess.ethz.ch.
For further information, visit http://www.tg.ethz.ch/ (Chair of the History of Technology) or http://www.histech.nl/tensions/ (Tensions of Europe).