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[Athena] call for papers_re-imagining imaginaries_November 2020

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  • From: Gemma Cirac <gemma.cirac AT>
  • Subject: [Athena] call for papers_re-imagining imaginaries_November 2020
  • Date: Fri, 15 May 2020 13:47:56 +0200



XVI Trobada d’història de la ciència i la tècnica, 12-14 November, 2020 (virtual conference, due to COVID-19 circumstances)


Organizer: Gemma Cirac-Claveras (Marie Curie Fellow, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)


Those interested in participating in this panel should prepare a one-page abstract (300 words maximum) and a one-page short CV (300 words maximum) with current contact information. Please send these materials to Gemma Cirac-Clave
ras (
gemma.cirac AT no later than May 23, 2020.

Panel abstract:

Sociotechnical imaginaries (Jasanoff and Kim, 2009) are performative: they participate in building the sciences and technologies that they imagine. Think about, for instance, nuclear energy, nanotechnology, electricity, the great explorations, electrical cars, or medical imagery. Collectively shared reperesentations about these areas not only incorporate national goals, institutional identities, professional ambitions, or moral imperatives, but they also shape research topics, funding, disciplines and professions, institutional reorganizations, career paths, values and attitudes, and uses and users.

Imaginaries are produced by specific social groups, with specific resources and motivations, in specific places and times. They take place at various scales: state or groups of states, organizations, professional groups, individuals. They reflect and reinforce determinate ideologies, ontologies, teleologies and epistemologies. An imaginary can be promoted by some, contested by others; it can allow the coexistence of alternative imaginaries, some of which may pretend to become dominant. They are not monolithic or stable, but dynamic and multifacetic.

The goal of this panel is to re-imagine sociotechnical imaginaries. It is an invitation to rethink these great cultural frames in which, deliberately or not, historians place the history of science and technology and, in so doing, orient it.

This is a call for empirical contributions that re-imagine the imaginaries that permeate diverse science and technology areas (in different disciplines, periods, places). To orient the discussion, three entries are suggested –although other questions will be also considered:

-                      Dominant sociotechnical imaginaries. How do certain imaginaries become socioculturally dominant, even hegemonic? Who does imagine? In which context, with what resources, and with what goals? Do they generate resistence? Do they coincide with the practitioners’ visions? How do they influence scientific practices and expectations? How are they maintained and perpetuated?

-                      Alternative imaginaries. To what extend dominant imaginaries make sense beyond the contexts, tempos, motivations, and resources that have generated them? What purposes do alternative imaginaries serve? Who does imagine, and how? How are they disseminated or eclipsed? How do they complement or oppose to dominant imaginaries? Can we separate alternative imaginaries from dominant ones?

-                      Imaginaries and history. Sociotechnical imaginaries can influence historiography by promoting a particular vision, sometimes hegemonic, of the history of science and technology in question. How do imaginaries constrain historical reflection? To what extend can we, as historians, get rid of the imaginary? Should we? Or, put it alternatively, what stories do we prefer to frame our science and technology?

  • [Athena] call for papers_re-imagining imaginaries_November 2020, Gemma Cirac, 05/15/2020

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