Europeanization, Globalization, Americanization, Sovietization... Conceptual Tools of Framing the History of Technology in Europe

Deutsches Museumm, München, in Kooperation mit dem European Science Foundation EUROCORES Program “Inventing Europe. Technology and the Making of Europe, 1850 to the Present” und dem internationalen Forschernetzwerk “Tensions of Europe”
08.09.2008 - 13.09.2008
Philipp Aumann

Europe and the European countries have been linked since the mid 19th century through trans-national flows of people, goods and information. This secular process of “Europeanization” is the central issue of the Summer School. The notion of Europeanization has developed into a powerful tool of historical analysis in conjunction with partially competing and partially complementary concepts such as Globalization, Americanization or Sovietization. They all have shaped numerous narratives of the history of technology in Europe. Using these concepts as tools of historical analysis will help us to define Europeanization and to write its history. It will add to our understanding of European integration on the one hand and the European dimension of technical change on the other hand.
The notion Europeanization is used in different ways. First as a synonym to “Westernization” when it is understood as a result of enlightenment marked by three characteristics: parliamentary democracy, free markets, individualism, and the freedom of arts and science. Historians of technology could contribute to this task by reflecting how basic European values are embodied in technologies and how they are appropriated, reinterpreted or rejected by applying European technology in a colonial or postcolonial context. The second way of using the notion centres on the territorial expansion of the EU, the development of institutions at the European level and the Europeanization of national systems of governance. Of special interest is the gradual merger of the originally two by the iron curtain separated areas of integration. Here the question arises, which technologies and how they fostered trans-national integration in Europe and thereby transformed the territorial regime of nation states.
In contrast, Americanization and Sovietization refer to a partly voluntary, partly coercive adaptation to and appropriation of values, institutions, technologies, organizational and behavioural patterns, symbols and norms from both superpowers by their allies or defeated enemies. Both processes went beyond technological and knowledge transfer as they aimed not just at the transplantation of knowledge and technology into a new environment but strove to transcribe the receiving environment too. Whether these processes succeeded so that no longer more or less closely demarcated/defined technologies but rather techno-political regimes were subjects of transfers and how these transfers transformed both the technological landscape and the territorial regimes of “Europe” is one major topic of the summer school.
Globalization is the third concept that needs to be scrutinized carefully for its explanatory power for the invention and innovation of Europe. This process often is attributed more or less exclusively to technological change, especially to the “distance annihilation” and “time-space compression” effects of information and communication technologies or more broadly to high-speed technologies. These technologies are said to allow de-territorialization, a growing social interconnectedness across existing geographical and political borders, and an acceleration of social activities. These are cutting edge changes that call the nation state into question. Against it, macro-regions like the European Union emerged as a middle ground between the global and the national sphere because they were able to pool their resources in order to share in steering globalization.

The Summer School will introduce these conceptual tools and evaluate them as means to frame the history of technology in Europe, as it is understood by the research agenda of the network of Inventing Europe (and Tensions of Europe). Furthermore it aims at linking history of technology with general history, trans-national history, global history and other approaches to frame the history of Europe in a broader context.
Besides that conceptual approach the summer school offers the participants an opportunity to present their own work and to discuss it with senior historians of technology and international experts in related fields such as cultural history and trans-national or global history. And last but not least, it will teach the writing of book reviews to all participants.


All participants are expected to stay throughout the duration of the whole Summer School. The program consists of lectures, workshops, round table discussions, sessions of student project presentations, special sessions on how to write and present book reviews, and slots for open discussions between teachers and students. It also includes guided tours to exhibitions of Deutsches Museum and other Munich museums.

- Prof. Dr. Ruth Oldenziel (University of Amsterdam and University of Eindhoven)
- Prof. Dr. Johan Schot (University of Eindhoven)
- Prof. Dr. Raymond Stokes (University of Glasgow)
- Prof. Dr. Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum and University of Munich)
- Prof. Dr. Karin Zachmann (Technical University of Munich)

Applicants are to send a CV, a paper (4.000-6.000 words) which outlines their current research projects (dissertation or post-doc project) and its relations to the conceptual frameworks of the Summer School, and a recommendation letter by June, 13, 2008 to Prof. Dr. Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum, Museumsinsel 1, G-80538 München, Germany, both in electronic form and in a printed version. They will be informed about acceptance no later than June 23, 2008. Admittance will be based on thematic fit and overall quality of application. Residential costs will be covered for all participants. A limited budget is available for a contribution to travel costs. The need for such contribution, including the amount needed, has to be indicated in the application.
Once admitted, all students and post-docs are expected to study the paper of all other participants, which will be pre-circulated, and the obligatory reader (ca. 300 pages) based on publications selected by the teachers. Besides that, they have to outline their current research project in a 20-minutes’ presentation during the Summer School. And last but not least, the Summer School will use the tool of writing a book review for an in-depth discussion of some key works in the field.

Europeanization, Globalization, Americanization, Sovietization... Conceptual Tools of Framing the History of Technology in Europe, 08.09.2008 – 13.09.2008 München, in: H-Soz-Kult, 01.05.2008, <>.
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