Events

DHL Lecture 7 November 2019

Wasiak_flyer

The presentation outlines the processes of shaping and negotiating sociotechnical imaginaries  related to designing, manufacturing, and retailing home technologies in late socialist Poland. It argues that design, manufacturing and retail of home technologies were  key spaces for negotiations of interconnections between technology and imaginary modernity in late state socialist  Poland in the 1970s and 1980s.

Three terms: “modernity,” “quality” and “aesthetics” were key spaces subjected to negotiations of cultural meanings related to manufacturing, distribution and use of home appliances. The main theme which dominated the normalized discourse reproduced by actors from the state apparatus was the ideology of social progress and modernization embedded in the communist political rhetoric. At the same time a range of intermediary actors, particularly expert groups, attempted to inscribe their own ideologies in such terms. Actors which took part in the politics of consumption used aforementioned key terms to inscribe their own scripts related to the use of appliances in everyday life as well as more broader sociotechnical imaginaries about the future of the socialist society based upon social and technical progress in the postindustrial age.

 

DHL Lecture 29 November 2018

William Thomas Lecture

The act of doing history requires imagination but historians have rested our case on the virtue of critical thinking. The digital medium and the tools we now have give historians the opportunity to imagine what new forms history might take, what new ways students might experience a world other than their own. To seize these opportunities we need different methodological approaches and more cross-disciplinary collaboration to create digital media objects as works of historical imagination grounded in original sources.

 

Professor William Thomas is one of the earliest pioneers of digital history. A co-editor of the award-winning "Valley of the Shadow" project and director of several other major digital history projects, as well as author of multiple essays and monographs, Professor Thomas is also an award- winning teacher.

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