The Making of Earth Imagery: Workshop on the History of Space Technology and Environmental Perceptions

[via KTH]

On Thursday, 11 June 2015 Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment will host the workshop ”The Making of Earth Imagery: The History of Space Technology and Environmental Perceptions” at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The workshop will be held on the occasion of Sebastian Grevsmühl from Pierre et Marie Curie University Paris visiting the Division (for his work on space and the global environment see e.g. the e-publication from the conference ”New Perspectives on Global Environmental Images” held in Paris in 2014.

We invite students and scholars working in the broader field of space technology, satellite remote sensing and environmental perception to participate in the workshop and share their research with us. If the schedule permits we will allow for brief project presentations.

Workshop outline

How are historians of technology and environment to understand the interplay between actors, technologies, practices and the development of environmental perceptions in society? This workshop sets out to explore this question by studying the specific set of technologies and environmental images that satellite remote sensing provides. When the first satellites were placed into orbit in the second half of the 20th century, they changed not only the practices of environmental observation but also the study object, the earthly environment. New data became available and was assembled into new images of the Earth.

The diversified environmental monitoring program that took hold with the shift from military to civilian application in the 1970s has been hailed as the ”environmental turn” in the space enterprise. For many observers, among them the Apollo astronauts, seeing Earth from space represented a highly auto reflexive undertaking but, on the other hand, also a deep alienation. The workshop proposes to address the specificity of the space perspective beyond the dialectic of the distanced outer-space ”view from nowhere” and an inner space profoundly shaped by subjective intentions and imaginaries, by exploring earth satellite monitoring and surveillance both as a technoscientific practice and as a new set of ideas about local and global environments.

Our case studies on US and European satellite remote sensing projects from the 1970s to the 1990s will look particularly at the emerging images and messages about nature, at matters of the motivation, creation, appropriation and application of technologies, knowledges and environments.

If you are interested to attend and discuss your research with us, please contact one of the organizers, Nina Wormbs (, Johan Gärdebo ( or Sabine Höhler (

Call for paper: The 7th Tensions of Europe Conference, Stockholm, 3‐6 September 2015

[via Nina Worms]

The 7th Tensions of Europe Conference

Organizers: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology together with the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory.

Conference theme: Technology and Environment

Tensions of Europe Conference will have as its main theme the interaction between technology and the environment. One way of understanding the environment is to think of it as nature appropriated by humankind through technological, scientific and representational means. From farming to space travel, we use technologies and natural resources to sustain our lives. Our use of technologies leaves traces behind in the form of altered environments. Changes at global historical and geological scales are accumulated as heritage and geophysical strata respectively. The intersection of technology and the environment can also be understood culturally or socially. We use technology in our understanding and appreciation of nature (religious, poetic or physical), in monitoring it, assessing it representing it. Further, technology can be a lens and a tool in shaping our relation to the environment. Technologies not only assist in shaping and transforming nature, they also assist us to perceive, observe, record and communicate natures and environments, including imaginative representations of techno‐natures in art, literature and film.

The conference also invites scholarship in the general themes of the Tensions of Europe network, such as trans‐border flows, common resources, conflicting interests, hidden integration and cultural practices.

We not only invite traditional panel‐sessions with a number of papers and a commentator, but also strongly encourage different formats and new ideas. As long as quality can be demonstrated, the programme committee will not prioritize between formats. By quality we mean suggestions that promise constructive, stimulating and engaging discussion.

We invite scholars from all relevant fields to submit proposals to:


by 15 February 2015. All proposals should include a title, a short abstract, the academic title and affiliation of the applicant(s) and a short bio.  Please name your file with your surname.

Abstracts for individual papers and posters should be no more than 300 words. For panels, we ask for a description of the theme of the panel (max 300 words) together with shorter abstracts (max 150 words) of the individual papers. If you wish to suggest a presentation of a different format, please use these word limits as guidelines.

We will inform applicants by 1 April 2015 whether their contribution has been accepted.

A second call for papers, with information about keynote speakers and the  conference website, will be distributed before the end of 2014.

Welcome to Stockholm in September 2015!

Nina Wormbs
Head of Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
KTH Royal Institute of technology