Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Critical Technologies: the Making of the Modern World

This is our theme for the World Archaeological Congress in Dublin next year.

Critical Technologies: the Making of the Modern World
Call for session proposals and papers

Dr Alice Gorman (Flinders University;
Dr Beth O’Leary (New Mexico State University;
Mr Wayne Cocroft (English Heritage;

Please direct all correspondence to Alice Gorman in the first instance.


Everyday life in modern industrial nations has been shaped by technologies that have radically altered the nature of travel (cars, trains, aeroplanes, submarines, spacecraft), communication (telephones, television, telegraphs, radio, computers and satellites), and warfare (rockets, missiles, aeroplanes, nuclear weapons), among others. These technologies have recreated human geographies through their capacity to transcend distance and time, allowing the traffic of information and material culture across vast spaces, sometimes almost instantaneously. They are the foundation of the globalising world, and yet the material culture of globalisation is rarely examined critically from an archaeological perspective. Given WAC’s aim to redress global inequities, it is timely to focus an archaeological gaze on the technologies that support the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” of the 21st century.

Sessions are invited to examine the sites, places and artefacts created by critical technologies, including but not limited to such topics as:

• The Cold War and nuclear confrontation
• Telecommunications
• Aerospace
• Outer space
• Robotics
• Technological landscapes
• Heritage management and conservation challenges
• Defence and warfare
• Indigenous engagement with critical technologies
• Theoretical issues in contemporary archaeology
• Capitalism and critical technologies
• The archaeology of the future

Critical technologies are not confined to the 20th century and after; we also encourage papers and session proposals that investigate 17th -19th century antecedents of modern technologies, and their impacts.

DEADLINE for session proposals is 1 November 2007
Sessions must be have organisers representing at least two different countries. Session abstracts should be no longer than 250 words, and can be submitted online at Please also send details to Alice Gorman at Feel free to discuss your proposed session before submitting.

No comments:

Post a Comment