Updated 13 November 2022
Established in 1980 by Dr. Eric Robinson in memory of his wife, the prize is awarded annually for the best-delivered paper by an individual who is making his or her first appearance at the Society’s annual meeting. Candidates for the award are judged not only on the quality of the historical research and scholarship of their paper, but also on the effectiveness of the oral presentation.
We hope you all enjoyed the SHOT 2022 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, our first in person meeting since 2019.
This year’s program was the result of the hard work of the 2022 Program Committee. On behalf of SHOT, I want to thank committee members Atsushi Akera (Chair), Joseph November (co-chair), and Jethron Akallah for putting together such a wonderful program under still challenging circumstances.
I also want to thank Arwen Mohun, Gabrielle Hecht, Amy Bix, Sonja Beekers, Jeroen Carbaat, F. Dean Schultheiss, Henk Treur, Joeseph Makkos, and our volunteers, for their assistance in organizing the annual meeting. I am grateful for the time and energy Eric Hardy invested in the New Orleans meeting since 2018. Finally, I also want to thank the staff of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. SHOT owes you all a debt of gratitude for all your hard work!
See you next year in Long Beach, 25-29 October 2023!
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 U.S. 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 is 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.
Watch a short NOLA fly-over here
For the 2022 Annual Meeting, our Society invites participants to explore colonial and postcolonial legacies as they relate to the historical processes of globalization, imperialism, and technological change. The 2022 meeting will give us an opportunity to finally meet in New Orleans. An early and important port for global empires, this city has been sustained by global trade and maintained through intensive technological intervention. Now marked by aging technological infrastructures and complex sedimentations of racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and class difference, the setting for this conference offers an opportunity to better understand the moral and infrastructural legacies of a settler colonial past.
Building on our membership’s work from the past two years, we invite submissions from a diverse community of scholars interested in technology’s place and placement within modern, postmodern, and trans-modernist worlds. We are particularly interested in contributions that address infrastructure and environmental change. We also invite submissions that interrogate how history is used in the present to construct future imaginaries. How does this dance between technology and time define who “we” are and who “we” hope to become? As usual, we will also accept proposals for papers, sessions, and panels in other domains of the history of technology.
In addition to our membership, we warmly invite scholars with diverse disciplinary backgrounds to join our conversations (including those from Anthropology, American Studies, Black/African-American Studies, Communication, Gender Studies, Hispanic Studies, Literary Criticism, Media Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology). We especially encourage scholarship in African, Asian, and Latin American Studies.
SHOT’s program practice consists of prioritizing: a) open and fully assembled session proposals over individual abstracts; b) non-traditional sessions including work-in-progress sessions, roundtables, flash-talks, unconference sessions, and interactive workshops; c) junior scholars hoping to enter into or learn from the history of technology; and d) all underrepresented scholars, whether based on race, class, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, age, neurodivergence, disability, or geographic location. Participation is generally limited to one paper presentation and two additional roles, except by invitation of the SHOT program committee and/or SHOT officers.
Individuals and groups interested in finding others to join an organized session may propose an open session proposal that will be posted on the SHOT-website. Scholars interested in joining one of these sessions are encouraged to contact the organizers as soon as possible. The earlier an open session proposal is sent to SHOT, the earlier it will be posted on the website. Please make sure to leave sufficient time to enable interested scholars to respond, and for the organizers to prepare and submit a fully formed session proposal.
SHOT Program Committee
Joseph November (Acting Chair)
Atsushi Akera (co-Chair)
Submission of formed session proposals, individual abstracts, and unconventional session proposals is no longer possible.
Find the answers to frequently asked questions here.