Second Call for Proposals/Abstracts

Workshop on “Emerging Technologies, Past and Future”


We are continuing to solicit abstracts for a workshop that will be held in Santa Barbara, California on 24-25 June 2013 (sponsorship provided by UCSB’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society).


The workshop’s goal is to develop a historical framework in which to understand the often-problematic category of “emerging technologies.” We see emerging technologies as those which are described (now or in the

past) as technologies or technological systems that will “change the game,” driving new markets, requiring new regulatory paradigms, and having broad and difficult to anticipate social “impacts.” They are often associated with risk, speculation, uncertainty, and the possibility of financial reward.


We particularly want the workshop to complicate the notion of emerging technologies by highlighting technologies which have already emerged, failed to emerge, or matured without ever being proclaimed as “emerging.”

By examining the history of several specific once-emerging technologies, we want this workshop to both clarify and elaborate on the entire category.


We are planning on hosting 12-14 people (some invited, some chosen from a pool of applicants) who will write and pre-circulate article-length essays which address some aspect of emerging technologies. We are very interested in papers that move beyond the traditional U.S. and late 20th century-centric focus. Overall, we expect to have about two dozen people attend – small enough for easy sharing of ideas, yet large and diverse enough to keep things interesting.


Thus far, Ron Kline (Cornell), Steve Usselman (Georgia Tech), Amy Slaton (Drexel), Bill Leslie (Johns Hopkins), and Sarah Kaplan (U. Toronto) have agreed to serve as commentators and overall “synthesizers” for the meeting.


If you’re interested in attending, please send a (roughly) 250 word abstract to Patrick McCray ([email protected]) by September 15, 2012.

Please describe the paper you will write and submit for circulation in advance of the workshop. The actual draft paper will be expected by May 15, 2013. A working draft is fine so long as it’s not “too drafty” – something akin to what you would submit to a journal for consideration. We are currently exploring options for collecting and publishing an edited volume based on papers from the workshop. Some funding is available to defray the cost of travel and lodging.