Toward a transnational history of technology : meanings, promises, pitfalls

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    Abstract

    This essay investigates the possibility of a transnational history of technology. It takes the current, large scale research program Tensions of Europe: Technology and the Making of Europe, 1950–2000 as its point of departure. The grand promises of the recent transnational turn in historiography, from which historians of technology may profit and to which they may contribute, include: (1) developing new research topics previously relegated to the margins of scholarship (including globalization and regional integration), and (2) developing a fresh and arguably better understanding of existing topics (including national and local history). Three distinct meanings of the concept of "transnational history" provide research sites and research questions to assist such inquiry: studying cross-border linkages and flows; studying international organizations shaping the contemporary world; and questioning the nation state as the key research category for (technological) history. Finally, the essay discusses eight pitfalls following this line of inquiry.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)974-994
    JournalTechnology and Culture
    Volume49
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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