Technology and the Making of Europe

Electric worlds: creations, circulations, and tensions, from the 19th to the 21st centuries

18 December - 19 December 2014
Location: Paris, France

Call for papers

18-19 December 2014
Paris (Espace Fondation EDF, 6 rue Récamier F-75007), France

Deadline: 15 March 2014

This conference builds on recent developments in transnational, global, and imperial histories to explore new approaches to the history of energy and electricity. It will examine the worlds of electricity along four axes:

  1. Creations: the dynamics of innovation that shape electric systems and cultures in different contexts; comparisons and connections among these dynamics; electrification of rural spaces; alternative energy sources; smart grids.
  2. Circulations: the movement of people, knowledge, and technologies through political spaces. Far from being a purely national phenomenon, for example, the development of commercial nuclear power – or of most other sources of electricity – can be examined in the context of international politics, multinational corporations and lobbies, and civil society organizations whose purview ranges from local to global scales.
  3. Tensions: social inequalities mark the development of energy projects throughout the world. The technopolitical nature of electrification is visible through social, environmental, and economic controversies over issues ranging from poverty and precarity to energy consumption and savings.
  4. Transitions: relations between electricity and other energies reveal the complex processes of, and discourses on, energy transitions in the long term.

The conference aims to cultivate an interdisciplinary dialogue on the history, politics and culture of electrification. We welcome approaches from history, sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, economics, and law. We encourage papers that approach the history of energy through critical examinations of science, technology, consumption, war, urban spaces, culture, gender and environment.

The working languages will be French and English. A bilingual publication will ensue.

We welcome proposals for single papers, or for thematic panels that include 3-4 papers. Proposals should take the form of a 500 word abstract (per paper) in French or English as well as a 1-page CV. In addition, panel proposals should include a panel abstract of not more than 500 words. Limited travel funds are available for graduate students and for scholars from non-OECD countries (only one travel grant per paper). Please include any requests for financial support as a separate document in your proposal submission.

Please send your submission by the 15th of March, 2014 to:

Applicants will be notified by the program committee by the 15th of April, 2014.

Program committee:
Alain Beltran, CNRS, Irice UMR 8138, president of the Committee for the History of Electricity and Energy (Paris, France); Christophe Bouneau, Université Bordeaux 3; Yves Bouvier, Université Paris-Sorbonne; Daniel Breslau, Virginia Tech; Gabrielle Hecht, University of Michigan; Léonard Laborie, CNRS, Irice UMR 8138; Stéphanie Le Gallic, Université Paris-Sorbonne; Pierre Lanthier, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières; Serge Paquier, Université de Saint-Etienne.

Organising institutions:
Committee for the History of Electricity and Energy:
CNRS, UMR Irice: