German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, will host a workshop on "New Technologies and Cultures of Communication in the 19th and 20th Centuries." Convenors are Clelia Caruso (German Historical Institute-Washington), Peter Jelavich (Johns Hopkins University), Richard R. John (Columbia University), and Benjamin Schwantes (German Historical Institute-Washington). The program for the workshop is now available on the GHI website. The call for papers stated the organizers' objectives in the following way:
Please see the GHI website for additional information.
Historiographical research on electrical communication media often tends to present a deterministic narrative of the development of technological objects towards a predominant use. Alternative forms of use are often narrated as historical aberrations . . . . We wish to examine what, from today's perspective, appear to be unusual usages of well-established media, even those usages that have been short lived or purely imaginary. This focus on media at the stage of "interpretive flexibility," before technologies and usages "stabilized" and eventually reached a state of closure, would permit us to have a closer look at the shifts in the usage and interpretation of communication technologies by different types of users and thus allow for an analysis of the appropriation of these media by modern societies.