Second flagship program

Technology & Societal Challenges, ca. 1815-2015





Today ToE is building a second flagship program that engages with current debates on crises and 'grand challenges' haunting our present-day world -- such as climate change and other environmental crises; the threatened breakdown of unsustainable cities and energy, mobility, financial, and health systems; migration and security challenges; and so on. The new program was announced at the 7th ToE Conference (Stockholm 2015)The argument in short:

  • Current societal and scholarly debates center on social and environmental 'grand challenges' that haunt our present-day world;
  • Technology plays a pivotal, yet ambiguous role as both cause and solution to these challenges;
  • Technology has played this double role for centuries (and centainly throughout the modern era);
  • This raises the compelling historical question: how was (and is) technology involved in the (un)making of past and present challenges?
  • Tensions of Europe, as a community studying technology & transnational history, has the network and research experience to address this question.

At a kick-off workshop in Vught, the Netherlands, in 2016 representatives from 13 partner institutions launched an explorative program. Working groups, grouped around relevant themes, set out to build a network of engaged scholars and a research agenda. This explorative program is to be followed by an in-depth research program. In September 2017  the program was discussed at the 8th ToE Conference in Athens, Greece.


Current working groups

This theme list serves as starting point. Scholars and institutions are invited to get involved and join developing theme groups or propose new themes.


More information


First workshop of the Technology, Environment and Resources working group in St. Petersburg, 2016

Kick-off workship in Vught, the Netherlands, 2016