Technology and the Making of Europe, 1850 to the Present (Inventing Europe)

© European Community

The EUROCORES Programme “Inventing Europe” creates a platform for transnational research on the long-term process of European integration. It uses the lens of history of technology to arrive at a cultural history of innovation processes. 

By looking at transnationally developed and used technologies as cultural products, this research programme aims at understanding the varied ways in which people have built, explored and, also, opposed the concept and practice of “Europe” over the past 150 years.

Four general areas to be explored are: 

1.     Building Europe through Infrastructures, or: how Europe has been shaped by the material links of transnational infrastructures, such as railways, roads and electricity networks;

2.     Constructing European Ways of Knowing, or: how Europe became articulated through efforts to unite knowledge (knowledge networks) and organise practices on a European scale (multinational, large scale technology projects);

3.     Consuming Europe, or: how consumer goods and artifacts were reworked through local, regional, national, European, and global use;

4.     Europe in the Global World, or: how Europe was created through colonial, ex-colonial, trans-Atlantic, Cold-War and other global exchanges. 

“Inventing Europe” understands technology as comprising machines, products, systems, and infrastructures as well as the skills, knowledge, cultural scripts and social contexts that make them work. In the same vein, technological change is understood as a deeply political, social, and cultural process, which involves choices that are taken by and shape in turn people and institutions alike. 

This EUROCORES programme will integrate the history of technology into a broader European historiography, and it will provide a novel perspective on the debates about European  integration. The research results of the EUROCORES theme are expected to be presented in a coherent fashion through an edited and published book series, as well as web products and reflections on exhibitions. Research undertaken in this programme develops against the background of a lively public debate about the future of Europe. 

In doing so, “Inventing Europe” addresses, to some extent, the cultural deficit underlying many current debates about the future for Europe. “Inventing Europe” looks at cultural and social processes that, more often than not, precede institutional developments. 

The research agenda will be developed through four international projects and through a series of workshops, conferences, summer schools and research collaborations with related research networks and projects in Europe.

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