Technology and the Making of Europe

EUROTRANS

Transmitting and Receiving Europe (EUROTRANS)

Project leader: Christian Henrich-Franke

This project aims at writing a history of Europe centered on the idea of broadcast communication being the most powerful and influential means for both national and transnational communication in the 20th century. The central objective is to problematize Europe as a broadcasting space by describing and analyzing different transmission and reception technologies of broadcast communication and by questioning their specific contribution to the medial construction of European communication spaces in constantly changing political and cultural environments. Based on the profound and varied expertise of the project collaborators and their involvement in international and European research networks, this CRP makes a strong case for an innovative European history: a history that emphasizes the role of technology and technological infrastructures in the invention and building of Europe without neglecting the institutional or individual actors in the mutual process of circulation, mediation and appropriation of Europe as a discursive construction.

This project emphasizes the tensions between the integrative and splitting forces of a transnational medium by paying attention both to the transmission and reception side. In approaching broadcasting as a mediating interface between transmitted visions of Europe and their individual appropriation, this project is making an innovative historical contribution to the theoretical discussion on media and society on a European level. The demonstration of the dynamics between the different levels of ‘Europe in the making’ on the material, institutional, and discursive levels has the advantage of conceptualizing the emergence of different ‘Europes as a result of a complex technological, social and cultural performance. In this respect, this project will constitute a challenging contribution to the cultural ‘enrichment’ of contemporary European historiography of technology. In touching several of the ‘Inventing Europe’ core themes (infrastructures, consumption, knowledge production), this project aims at producing an innovative contribution to an interdisciplinary history of Europe.