We would like to invite abstracts for participation in the symposium 'Planet Earth, the Environment, and the Cold War', at the International Congress of the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology in Manchester (UK), July 22-28 2013. Please send abstracts of no more than 2500 characters to one or both of the conference conveners, Simone Turchetti (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Peder Roberts (email@example.com) by 1 October 2012.
Historians have only just begun to explore the unprecedented advancement of the earth and environmental sciences during the Cold War period and beyond. Works on a variety of disciplines have revealed the enormous effort put by sponsors and patrons into the funding of novel research focusing on the Earth - how, quite literally, earth and environmental scientists were put to work in the service of geopolitical ends, from acquiring knowledge of remote spaces to monitoring global environmental systems and controlling natural resources. But until now, there has been little opportunity to reflect on what has been learned, and what topics have remained tantalizingly out of reach. What are the major unexplored questions involving the environmental sciences after 1945? What new collaborative research projects are needed?
Answering these questions might be difficult, but we would welcome an effort to chart what is yet to be known. In particular, the aforementioned projects show that while we now know considerably more about the effort put into the funding and development of the environmental sciences in the US and Western Europe, much remains to be ascertained about developments in other regions of the world. This lack of knowledge deeply affects our historical understanding given the global nature of the scientific investigations carried out during the Cold War period, especially through the International Geophysical Year (IGY) and subsequent international projects sponsored by ICSU and other bodies.
We thus call for a symposium discussing how scientific knowledge on the earth and the environment was put together during the Cold War and beyond, looking especially for contributions that can elucidate connections between states beyond alliances such as NATO, or illuminate the earth and environmental sciences beyond western Europe and the United States. We are particularly interested in submissions that consider the role of Eastern European scientists (given their strong participation in Cold War research), and perspectives from the 'global south' that bring decolonization into focus.
Royal Institute of Technology
Stockholm, Sweden Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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