History and technology in an age of “grand challenges”: raising questions

Erik van der Vleuten (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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This essay introduces the forum about history and technology in an age of “grand challenges.” First, it sketches present-day political and engineering debates on technology’s role in solving or causing “grand societal challenges,” which allegedly threaten humanity and the environment. This raises the question if, why, and how historians of technology can and should engage with these intellectually tricky and politically charged debates. The essay then presents the initiative of the Tensions of Europe network to develop transnational research groups and research agendas exploring this question, and introduces the five research agendas published in this forum. Finally, it raises five overall “grand challenges” to the field: How can we trace the histories of technology and grand societal challenges across temporal, spatial, sectoral, methodological, and political divides?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-271
Number of pages12
JournalTechnology and Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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