Science and Technology in Contemporary British History

CALL FOR PAPERS: ICBH Summer Conference

10-13 July 2013, King’s College London

Deadline: 28 March 2013

Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, rapid developments in science and technology have affected all aspects of contemporary Britain. This conference seeks to examine this change historically, from the macro to the micro dimensions.

The conference will consider various perspectives, including those of defence, business, government and society. We are keen to explore the political, economic, military, social, legal and cultural effects of scientific and technological change, as well as the processes of innovation and development. We will consider these in an international as well as a domestic context – for example, have British companies, governments and state agencies predominantly followed external trends in science and technology? Or have they tended to pioneer novel solutions? To what extent can questions of science and technology inform our understanding of traditional themes in contemporary British history such as “relative decline” or the “two cultures”? How has defence spending on science and technology been part of Cold War and post-Cold War politics?

Many UK institutions and ways of life have undergone radical changes due to scientific and technical advances. New industries have been created, old ones have disappeared; new perceptions of science have shaped popular culture; the digital revolution has changed how organisations operate and how individuals communicate. British life – from education, to leisure, to religion, to how we conduct politics – has had to contend with the increasing prominence of the scientific worldview and the technological society. New case studies and perspectives are invited in order to reconsider the diversity and complexity of these changes.

We hope this conference will generate fresh discussion and a new appreciation of the significance of scientific and technical transformation as it has taken place in modern Britain. We wish to attract historians working in a wide range of fields.

Conference organisers:

Dr Michael Kandiah ([email protected]), Dr Virginia Preston ([email protected]) and Peter Sutton ([email protected]), all of ICBH.

To propose a paper, please send a short synopsis (up to 300 words) of your paper with your contact details to [email protected] by 28 March 2013.

Possible areas for papers include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Invention and innovation
  • The politics of production
  • Policy formation
  • The natural sciences
  • Medicine & health
  • The material environment
  • Computing and communications
  • Modernisation and rationalisation
  • Work and working practices
  • Banking and the Stock Exchange
  • Politics in the age of the Internet
  • Gender and ethnicity
  • Cultural change
  • Governing and governance
  • Climate change and biodiversity
  • Institutions, industries and businesses
  • Defence procurement
  • The conduct of diplomacy
  • Copyright, patents and intellectual property
  • Scientific and technological education and training
  • Schools and universities – from the BBC Micro to the world-wide web
  • Defence industries, eg aerospace, shipbuilding, satellites & space
  • Surveillance – military and non-military
  • Travel
  • Crime and policing