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August 19th, 2019

SHOT-Elections 2019

Vote online until September 30 2019 via the ONLINE BALLOT.

This year’s ballot includes candidates for the Executive Council, Secretary, Nominating Committee, and Editorial Committee. Only SHOT members are allowed to vote.

Executive Council (3 positions – 6 candidates)

Etienne Benson:

I am an associate professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where I teach courses on the history of technology, environmental history, and STS. In my research, I’ve been especially interested in the use of information technology in ecology and wildlife biology, and in how changes in the built environment affect human-animal relations and vice versa. I also have an interest in the history of environmental concepts (the subject of a forthcoming book, Surroundings: A History of Environments and Environmentalisms). My current book project concerns the history of fluvial geomorphology, a field that was crucial to many of the major water development projects of the twentieth century.

It is an honor to be nominated for election to the Executive Council. SHOT has served as an intellectual home since my graduate school days in MIT’s Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (PhD 2008). The 2005 SHOT meeting in Minneapolis was the first conference of a major academic society that I ever attended and a warm and welcoming venue for the delivery of my first real conference paper. I am still grateful for the Melvin Kranzberg Dissertation Fellowship that I received a few years later, which provided a much needed infusion of funding and confidence as I entered the final stretch of my dissertation project.

Within SHOT, the Envirotech SIG has been my home-within-an-intellectual-home. Since 2018, I have been one of two co-conveners of the group, which sponsors panels, offers travel awards and an article prize, and builds bridges over breakfasts at meetings of SHOT and the American Society for Environmental History. In addition to these ongoing activities, Envirotech recently relaunched its website and is planning a special Envirotech workshop at the Milan meeting. Like others within SHOT, the Envirotech SIG has sought to make the history of technology more expansive and inclusive, something I would seek to continue supporting as a member of the Executive Council.

Barbara Hahn:

I am an associate professor of history at Texas Tech University, and I study the relationship between technological change and business and economic structures. I have published Making Tobacco Bright: Creating an American Commodity, 1617-1937 (2011) and, with Bruce E. Baker, The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn-of-the-Century New York and New Orleans (2016). I’ve just completed Technology in the Industrial Revolution for Cambridge University Press (forthcoming 2020), intended for the classroom, research supported by a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship at the University of Leeds (#628722, “Rethinking Textiles,” PI Prof. Regina Lee Blaszczyk), and am also finishing a stint as associate editor of Technology and Culture. I am also one of four collaborators on Moving Crops and the Scales of History, a project and book manuscript supported by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin that is attempting to re-write global history and challenge its teleological narratives, using history-of-technology methods and agriculture for its case studies. I wish all historians shared the approaches and sensibilities of historians of technology, and my larger career goal is to translate what we do for a more general audience. I take service seriously, and would faithfully work toward these goals on the Executive Committee, if elected.

Karena Kalmbach:

My own experience has convinced me that there are important insights to gain when we strengthen the exchange between disciplines and connect our research across national borders. If elected to the Executive Council, I would like to encourage internationalization and bridging of disciplines from within SHOT. By joining forces with scholars from other historical sub-disciplines and related fields and focusing on shared concerns and topics, I hope that we can ensure that historical perspectives are given the central space they deserve within public and political technology discourses.

I came to the history of technology in a fairly unorthodox way. I received a “classical” European history education in the German and French academic systems – without any particular emphasis on technology. I continued on this path by doing a PhD at the European University Institute in Florence, where I wrote my thesis “British and French Chernobyl Debates and the Transnationality of Arguments and Actors.” Initially, I considered my research to be grounded in comparative European history rather than in the history of technology. But the events of 2011 radically reoriented my perspective: as a result of the Fukushima disaster, my work on the politics of memory surrounding nuclear accidents took on a very current dimension. In the eyes of many “classical” historians, the “presentness” of my research put me at the edge of my discipline. In the history of technology field, however, I found a community of scholars who shared my concerns and approaches and were eager to engage with my work on cultural history and politics of memory. Receiving the 2015 ICOHTEC book prize for my thesis manuscript and gaining a tenure-track appointment with the Eindhoven University of Technology’s History Group in 2016 were both gratifying confirmations that history of technology colleagues valued my research at the boundaries of different historical sub-disciplines.

Lisa Ruth Rand:

I am a historian of the messier sides of technology—my research prioritizes decaying, discarded, broken things that serve as powerful indicators of change over time. My first book manuscript, currently in progress, explores how waste in orbit factored into the rise of a truly global Space Age.

I will begin a Haas Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Science History Institute in September 2019, where I will divide my time between research and public outreach. Previously, I held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a fellowship-in-residence at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. After a short career as an editor of science textbooks, I earned a doctorate in History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

I am active in public history, public outreach, and science and technology policy, and see these as crucial, allied pursuits in crafting relevant historical research. I have worked as a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation (no relation, though I have a good joke about it for anyone who asks) and recently won the Emerging Scholars Global Policy Prize from the Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania. I have held appointments at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and in my position at CHSTM produced audiovisual materials for the Consortium’s public forums program and its new podcast series. I regularly serve as a public intellectual on podcasts, radio and television broadcasts, and as a source for journalists.

I am an active member of WITH and Envirotech special interest groups, and have participated in ECIG and Albatrosses as well as the Maintainers. I have been a member of EDITH since its founding in 2011, and have served three years on the EDITH Conference Support Awards committee, this year as chair. Both in this capacity and through collaborations with scholars in allied fields I aim to bring new voices to SHOT that broaden representation and intellectual breadth of our scholarly community.

If elected, I intend to represent the interests of early-career, transitional, and non-traditional scholars within the Executive Committee, as well as prioritize broadening intersectional participation and research across SHOT as a whole.

Valerie Schafer:

Since I moved my first steps into the history of technology at the beginning of the 2000s, during my PhD dedicated to the history of data networks, the Society for the History of Technology has been a travel companion, whether I was attending its meetings or reading Technology and Culture. SHOT has guided not only my academic evolution but the broader evolution of the entire research field. To apply to the Executive Council is a way to give back to the SHOT community a little of what it has brought to me over the past years through its meetings, publications and through its specific interest groups.

Indeed, as a historian of data networks, telecommunications, computing and digital cultures, who studied several networks such as Cyclades, Arpanet, Transpac, Renater, EIN, Euronet, the history of online services on Minitel and the Web, etc., I have met at SIGCIS and SHOT most of the historians who have influenced my research fields and have given them a new impetus. Of course, SHOT is also a chance to think about broader issues and challenges within the history of technology and to regularly cross methods, approaches and expertise.

My ambition is maintaining the heart and legacy of the SHOT community, while contributing to further broaden its European visibility, having spent part of my career as a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), before joining the C2DH (Center for Contemporary and Digital History) at the University of Luxembourg in February 2018, as a Professor in Contemporary European History. I also wish to contribute to the integration of young researchers and to create bridges with European networks in which I am fully involved: I am referring in particular to ECREA, of whose history section I am a vice-chair, and RESAW, a European network dedicated to Web archives, of which I have been a leading member since its beginnings. I also wish to mention the Tensions of Europe network, whose 9th conference was hosted in June 2019 at my research centre, and the scholarly community interested in the history of networks that I interact with through the academic journal Internet Histories, of which I’m a co-founder. To bring this experience at the service of SHOT and its members would hopefully allow me to contribute to the history of this academic network as a maintainer as well as a broker.

Matthew Wisnioski:

I am an associate professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech. I study the history of technoscience; mentor future historians of technology; and work with engineers, artists, and designers to reimagine ways of being technologists. I received my BS in materials science from Johns Hopkins and my PhD in history from Princeton. My research explores how technologists navigate the world as they change it and it changes them. I focus on interconnections between ideology, expertise, and institutional change. My first book, Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America (MIT 2012), revealed how engineers’ participation in Vietnam era politics reshaped the meanings of “technology” in American life. The origin and evolution of SHOT was a crucial part of that history. My current research, Every American an Innovator, explores the making of the culture of innovation from World War II to the present. I approach history as an active matter of concern for practitioners. I currently contribute to a Revolutionizing Engineering Departments project, the National Science Foundation’s nationwide educational reform program. As an embedded humanist at the Institute of Creativity, Arts, and Technology, I blend historical research, participant observation, and organizational change. Finally, in a co-edited volume Does America Need More Innovators? (MIT 2019), I worked with Eric Hintz and Marie Stettler Kleine to bring together leading champions, critics, and reformers of innovation in a critical examination of innovator initiatives.  

As a SHOT member since 2002, I am honored to run for Executive Council. If elected, I will advocate for SHOT’s interdisciplinary nature and its capacity for engagement. This approach supports SHOT’s vital priorities of internationalization and diversification. Welcoming environments for interdisciplinary exchange help recruit new and non-traditional members to SHOT. In the area of engineering studies, for example, expansion has involved publication venues (I co-edit the MIT Press’ Engineering Studies series and chair the Engineering Studies board) and community-building meetings (I participate in the Prometheans and INES). An interdisciplinary, engaged perspective also aids SHOT in defining its purpose with respect to global technoscience, a project it shares with 4S and HSS. When SHOT was founded it distinguished “technology” as distinct from “science,” and did so squarely within academic history. SHOT can be a leader in scholarship on global technoscience, if it is clear-eyed about the transformation in technology’s meanings and open to collaborative engagement.

Graduate Student Representative SHOT Executive Council

(1 position, 2 candidates – Please note: only SHOT graduate student members can vote for this position)

Katrin Boniface:

Kat is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Riverside interested in the intersection of animals and technology. Her dissertation tracks changing definitions of breed and associated methods of productions, particularly as effected by transportation technologies in the 19th century U.S. Kat joined SHOT in 2017 as part of the Maintainer’s sponsored panel “Maintaining Natures,” and began running the ECIG social media shortly thereafter. Kat was elected ECIG co-chair at the 2018 meeting, in which position she will serve through SHOT 2020. Kat’s primary goal within ECIG has been to maintain communication with members worldwide in hopes that ECIG can be a year round resource and community for graduates and early career scholars within SHOT. Along with co-chair Alice Clifton, Kat has expanded year round ECIG engagement, including Roundups of recent job and fellowship posting on the ECIG website as well as digitally hosted workshops. Whether as the Graduate Student Representative or as ECIG co-chair, Kat’s focus will continue to be broad inclusion, through community building, searching and advocating for financial assistance for graduate students at all stages to remain involved, and ways of keeping scholars who cannot attend meeting in person involved through digital platforms.

Find Kat at @KatBoniface on Twitter, or through her website KatBoniface.EquineHistory.org

Bucky Stanton:

My name is N. Bucky Stanton and I’m a third year PhD student in the Science Technology Studies department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In recent years EC representatives have done a spectacular job pushing for increased society support for early career members. If elected an EC representative I would continue their efforts by calling for increased travel grants and conference support, along with expanded networking and leadership opportunities. For a year and half, I’ve been involved with the society as the social media manager, focusing mainly on increasing academic participation with the twitter account. At the annual meeting in St. Louis, I had the privilege of interviewing some of the award recipients about their work and relationship to the history of technology. As an EC representative I would work to open social media and conference interviewing participation to other early career members. Adjacent societies to SHOT, such as 4S, operate a rotating management of their accounts. I would like to implement a system like that. Operation of the account is a valuable leadership opportunity, increases EC members broad familiarity with the field, and brings a diversity of perspectives to the society’s public image. As for the award interviews, interviewing award recipients and plenary speakers has benefits for the society and individuals. Clearly recording the perspectives of award recipients serves a valuable archival mission for the society, but for EC members it can serve as a fascinating space to explore the finer textures of the field with an established and successful scholar. In addition to pushing forward the missions of past EC representatives and expanding the number of positions and roles EC members can fill in the society, I would like to push for increased interdisciplinarity. While SHOT is ultimately committed to historical inquiry, recent scholarly trends demand we highlight how participation in the society and historical inquiry generally can deeply benefit the many, varied members of SHOT’s scholarly neighborhood. Further highlighting interdisciplinarity will help secure SHOT’s future.

SHOT Secretary

Jan Korsten:

Since 1999 I am business director of the Foundation for the History of Technology (SHT), which is based at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. SHT initiates, supports, and coordinates scholarly research in the history of technology. This includes large-scale national as well as international research and dissemination programs, and numerous individual projects. The recently finalized book series Making Europe: Technology and Transformations, 1850-2000 is the result of one of these programs. 

Before I started working in Eindhoven, I studied economic and social history at Nijmegen University. There I got involved in the history of technology. In 1996 I successfully finished a PhD project on the history of a farmer’s organization in the Dutch province of Limburg. Over the years I participated in several projects initiated by SHT, among other on the history of land development in the Netherlands, the history of R&D in Dutch dairy industry, and the historical roles of the chambers of commerce.

As SHOT secretary I want to make sure that SHOT is an efficient, transparent, and open organization. An international society where scholars from all over the world feel at home. Being involved in the Tensions of Europe network since the beginning, I have learned how important international collaboration is for the future history of technology. As a key organization in our field, SHOT has a role to play here!

Nominations Committee (1 position – 2 candidates)

Helmuth Trischler:

 I am Head of Research of the Deutsches Museum, Germany’s national museum of science and technology, Professor of Modern History and History of Technology at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and Director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. My main research interests are innovation cultures in international comparison; science, technology and European integration; and environmental history. I have published widely in the history of technology, and my recent publications include the volumes Building Europe on Expertise: Innovators, Organizers, Networkers (2014), Welcome to the Anthropocene: The Earth in Our Hands (2015), and Cycling and Recycling: Histories of Sustainable Practices (2016). I am currently Vice President of the German Society for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (GWMT). In SHOT, I am a longstanding member and I have served the society in various committees.

My longstanding involvement with SHOT and other academic society as well as with large-scale international research projects such as Tensions of Europe has made me very familiar with the inner workings of academic associations, and it has taught me identifying potential candidates for leadership positions in our field. I look very much forward to working with the colleagues of the Nominating Committee to ensure that SHOT’s future leaders mirror the dynamism and diversity of its members.

Jenny Smith:

I am a historian of technology, the environment and agriculture currently working as an associate professor of history at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. I grew up on a bamboo plantation in a formerly rural part of Florida and for years I planned to become a goat farmer, producing unique, terroir-specific artisanal cheeses. However, at some point in the ’90s my professional career path took a significant detour. Presently I produce historical knowledge, not dairy products. Only time will determine if this was a wise decision.

Specifically, I study the history of famines in the twentieth century and the lessons they provide about future food emergencies. I also have a new research project centered on the recent rise and proliferation of refugee camps as a way of containing and ordering farmers displaced by modernization, industrialization, and the forms of environmental destruction and political violence they foment. My work has been supported by the NSF, the Dibner Institute, the Wilson Center, the Carnegie Foundation, the SSRC, and the Hong Kong General Research Fund.

It is my honor to stand for election to SHOT’s nominating committee. I have loved being a member of SHOT for the past 18 years, and I am eager to help build up the international diversity of the organization in the future. Increasing the global scope and relevance of stories about the history of technology is central to the future success of the organization, and the nominating committee is a place where this can happen.

Editorial Committee (1 position – 2 candidates)

Anna Guagnini:

I am tenure research fellow at the University of Bologna, where I have been teaching since 1998 history of science and technology (Philosophy Degree), and from 2009 a course on the history of science and technology museums (Economics and Management).

After graduating in philosophy of science at the State University of Milan, my interest in the history of technology led me to move to the United Kingdom. So it was in Manchester first, then Lancaster and Oxford that I began working on engineering education and the organization of research and laboratories in institutes of higher technical education in the late 19th and early 20th century, in Britain and Italy. Patent history, and more recently the involvement of academics in commercial work, have also been the object of my studies.

Needless to say, I am honored to be considered for nomination as a member of the Editorial Committee; I am also fully aware that it will not be an easy task, and that it will require a good deal of work. I am still a member of the editorial board of History of Technology, and this allowed me to experience at first hand the problems facing academic journals, most notably the challenge of open access publication.  I am also eager to provide as much assistance as it is in my capacity to strengthen the already vigorous attempt of T&C to bring into its fold the contributions coming from the rich and far reaching – but highly fragmented – network of relevant studies carried out by European scholars, especially (but not solely) the young ones. In 1992 I was nominated International Scholar of SHOT; I owe a lot to the SHOT community and I feel this could be an opportunity for returning the benefits and good will I received. The possibility of joining the Committee would be timed, for I shall retire from November 2019, and although I shall still retain some academic engagements I shall have more time for the tasks assigned by the Committee to its members.

James Sumner:

I am Senior Lecturer in the History of Technology at the University of Manchester in the UK. My research ranges widely across the histories of applied science and technology, including industrial science, technical education, and the history and heritage of Manchester and its universities. My book Brewing Science, Technology and Print 1700-1880 (Pickering and Chatto, 2013) explored the role of publication in establishing beer-brewing as a credible topic of scientific investigation. My current project looks at how various agencies promoted computing and information technology concepts and visions to non-specialist audiences from the 1940s to 70s.

I have served as supervisor (lead advisor) for PhD projects on topics including home computing, weather forecast broadcasting, early electronic television engineering and rail freight, collaborating increasingly with colleagues at the Science and Industry Museum and other institutions concerned with public audiences. My teaching straddles the histories of science and technology and science communication studies; I have a strong interest in public engagement, and have delivered over 50 events for general audiences including talks, discussion sessions and guided tours, often working with local audiences in Manchester.

I am currently a member of the editorial boards of the British Journal of the History of Science and Notes and Records: the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, and was recently elected to the Council of the British Society for the History of Science.

The research community in the UK is increasingly concerned with addressing the opportunities and challenges of open-access initiatives, and representative groups such as the BSHS increasingly find themselves organising disciplinary responses to developments such as the Plan S proposals, endorsed by many European funding agencies, which promote rapid culture change towards open publishing and the abandonment of the hybrid open-access model. I would consider a role on the Editorial Committee as a valuable opportunity to address these issues at a broader international level, and to offer a European perspective on developments in the field.


Please note: Voting is open for SHOT Members only. Therefore we ask you to fill in your membership number and name. This information is only used to check whether you are allowed to vote. You can find your membership number in the renewal e-mail of JHUP and on the Technology and Culture address label. If you are not able to find your membership number please contact the SHOT secretariat.


Vote online until September 30 2019 via the ONLINE BALLOT.

In case you want to vote by regular mail or e-mail please use the paper ballot that you can find in the SHOT Election Newsletter. You can download the Election Newsletter 2019 here.

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