SHOT Annual Meeting – Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA) 26-29 October 2017

Call for Papers and Sessions


The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) is an interdisciplinary and international organization concerned not only with the history of technological devices and processes but also with technology in history and society. We explore the production, circulation, appropriation, maintenance and abandonment of technology under specific historical circumstances. And we scrutinize the epistemic, economic, social, cultural and political conditions of this development. Our approaches are informed by a broad concept of technology encompassing knowledge resources, practices, artefacts and biofacts, i.e. artefacts in the realm of the living. Accordingly, the Program Committee invites paper and session proposals on any topic in a broadly defined history of technology, including topics that push the boundaries of the discipline. Submitters are encouraged to propose sessions that include a diverse mix of participants: multinational origins, gender, graduate students and junior scholars with senior scholars, significantly diverse institutional affiliations, etc.

To pay tribute to the venue of the 2017 annual meeting – Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed – we want to encourage proposals that engage topics related to technology, democracy and participation. The birthplace of the oldest participatory democracy is the ideal setting for reflecting on, and interrogating, the overlapping subjects of technology, democracy, and participation. Philadelphia was not only the first capital of the United States, but also an early capital of industrialization and the accompanying transformations of work, skill, creation and maintenance, all of which continue to shape modern participation in the world. Commercial systems, slave economies, and immigration patterns developed locally alongside complex technologies of production and infrastructure in Philadelphia. Industrialization also led to an era of increased human intervention in the environment, now referred to as the Anthropocene. City and region participated in the cyclical expansion and contraction of global trade and supply chains of commodities, labor, and cultures. As other urban and rural, industrialized and agricultural polities have historically contended with similar forces of change, and transnational networks have carried the impacts of modernization agendas to both willing and unwilling communities, the cultural embrace of technology, notions of democracy, and ideologies of participation have played out in myriad ways around the world. These cultural commitments and their interactions, as seen in Philadelphia’s history and across a wide range of other global settings, thus form an appropriate theme for the 2017 SHOT meeting.


For the 2017 meeting the Program Committee welcomes proposals of three types:


  • Traditional sessions of 3 or 4 papers, with a chair and a commentator. Deadline: March 31, 2017.
  • Unconventional sessions, with formats that diverge in useful ways from the typical 3 or 4 papers with comment. These might include round-table sessions and workshop-style sessions with pre-circulated papers. Deadline: March 31, 2017.
  • Open sessions: Individuals interested in finding others to join panel sessions for the Annual Meeting may propose Open Sessions, starting January 20, with a final deadline of March 15. Open Sessions descriptions, along with organizer contact information, will appear as soon as possible on the SHOT website. (The earlier the proposal, the earlier it will be posted to the website.) To join a proposed panel from the Open Sessions list, contact the organizer for that panel, not the Program Committee. Open Session organizers will then assemble full panel sessions and submit them to SHOT by the end of the regular call for papers on March 31, 2017. The Program Committee will review the resulting fully formed session proposals, whether traditional or unconventional, for quality and adherence to SHOT standards of gender, geographic, and institutional diversity.
  • In special cases, proposals for individual papers will be considered, but the Program Committee will give preference to organized sessions, either Traditional or Untraditional. Those scholars who might ordinarily propose an individual paper are instead requested to propose Open Sessions themselves or to join an Open Session that is posted between January 15 and March 15.


SHOT allows paper presentations at consecutive meetings but rejects submissions of papers that are substantially the same as previous accepted submissions. Submissions covering the same fundamental topic should explain the difference(s) with the prior presentation.

The SHOT Executive Council is formulating its response to US Presidential measures to restrict access to the United States for select foreign nationals, including to our annual meeting. Please keep an eye open for this statement and, if possible, do not be discouraged from submitting a paper by the current situation.


***For more information on preparing and submitting a proposal please visit the SHOT website at***

***The deadline for proposals is 31 March 2017, but please see special instructions for Open Sessions ***

Please forward this call!

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