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 (