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Annual Meeting Society for the History of Technology (SHOT): New Orleans, 7-11 October, 2020

“Environment, Infrastructure, and Social Justice”

 

Updated 27 May 2020

We understand that many members and friends have questions about the SHOT Annual Meeting in New Orleans, 8-11 October. As preparations for the conference continue, we are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation in collaboration with our colleagues of HSS. After months of isolation, we hope our 2020 Annual Meeting can be a gathering that brings us together. Ideally, we will meet as planned in person in New Orleans. Of course, given the current surplus of uncertainties, we are also identifying alternative scenarios. Please be assured that the health and safety of our meeting participants and our organizing team will always be SHOT’s first priority. We will provide you with regular updates in the coming months. Relevant information will also be posted on the SHOT website.

We hope that everyone is able to stay safe and healthy.

Jan Korsten, SHOT Secretary

SHOT Annual Meeting 2020

The 2020 SHOT Annual Meeting will be held jointly with the History of Science Society in the fascinating city of New Orleans. That SHOT and the Society for the History of Science in New Orleans have chosen to co-locate in New Orleans in 2020, the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 10th anniversary of the Deep Horizon oil spill, is no small matter. This co-mingling of associations offers scholars a splendid opportunity to reflect on the relationship between the environment, infrastructure, and social justice and how these elements contribute to the ongoing story of New Orleans and to the maintenance of our modern world.

Conference Program

We expect to have a preliminary conference program available in June. The draft program will be posted here.

All proposers will be notified by e-mail on the decisions of the Program Committee. You can expect this e-mail notification in June.

Registration

It is not possible yet to register for the annual meeting. Registration is expected to open in late June or early July.

Meeting Venue

Main meeting venue is the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street in New Orleans. A link to book hotel rooms will be posted here in due course.

New Orleans: a fabled, hemispheric crossroads with an unmatched joie de vivre

New Orleans. The name alone conjures a host of images: exotic food, magnificent architecture, distinct music and dialects, and devastating hurricanes. Playwright Tennessee Williams famously labeled it the last frontier of Bohemia. For some, it is the most European of American cities. For others, it is the northern most Caribbean port.

Nicknamed the Crescent City because of its rather unique geography—the Mississippi River curves deeply around its urbanized core—New Orleans is a vital commercial center for both domestic and global trade and consistently ranks as a top destination for national and international tourists. Located near the mouth of the continent’s largest river, its port provides access to thirty-plus major inland hubs via 14,000 miles of waterways, six Class 1 railroads, and interstate roads. One third of all seafood consumed in the United States originates from Louisiana, with much of it harvested and processed near New Orleans. Additionally, with 88 percent of the country’s offshore oil and gas rigs located off Louisiana’s shore, the Greater New Orleans region is one of the world’s leading markets for energy and petrochemical production, processing, and transportation.

The city’s substantial cultural and economic presence belies its precarious environmental and social realities, however. Founded as a French colonial capital in 1718 on a deltaic lobe formed nearly two thousand years after the great pyramids of Giza were built, its residents have waged a constant battle to hold the surrounding water at bay. Today, nearly half of New Orleans exists below sea level. Indeed, the channelization of the Mississippi River, coupled with the vast pumping system constructed to drain storm water from the interior bowl created by the levees, has deprived the landscape of the sediment that a naturally overflowing river provides. The result is an actively sinking city, despite the injection of billions in federal post-Hurricane Katrina recovery aid. And with nearly twenty percent of its citizens, 60 percent of whom are people of color, living at or below the poverty line, New Orleans remains one of the nation’s poorest metropolitan areas, a grim reminder of its past status as the largest slave market in North America. Moreover, the 85-mile corridor of petrochemical and plastic refineries and plants above New Orleans, many of which are located on former sugar plantations, is widely reported to have some of America’s highest levels of cancer-causing chemicals in the air.

To assert that New Orleans has a troubled, dichotomous history is to state the obvious. And yet she persists, a fabled, hemispheric crossroads with an unmatched joie de vivre. That SHOT and the Society for the History of Science in New Orleans have chosen to co-locate in New Orleans in 2020, the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 10th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, is no small matter. This co-mingling of associations offers scholars a splendid opportunity to reflect on the relationship between the environment, infrastructure, and social justice and how these elements contribute to the ongoing story of New Orleans and to the maintenance of our modern world. To pay tribute to the location of the meeting, we encourage proposals that relate to a broadly interpreted theme of “Environment, Infrastructure, and Social Justice.”

SHOT New Orleans News Archive

Call for proposals

The SHOT Program Committee is pleased to issue the Call for Papers and Sessions for the SHOT 2020 Annual Meeting to be held 7-11 October, 2020 in New Orleans. The 2020 SHOT Annual Meeting will be held jointly with the History of Science Society.

Go to the the Call for Proposals and the online submission pages.

Please note that the deadline for submitting proposals of February 29, 2020 has passed. It is no longer possible to submit proposals.