Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (ZiF) with the support of Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
Universität Bielefeld, February 6-9, 2008
This conference on the cultural history of outer space, space travel and space exploration examines the manner in which Europeans imagined outer space over the course of the twentieth century. Unlike most of the existing historiography, it is less interested in the political, diplomatic and technological aspects of European space programs per se, than in the socio-cultural rationale behind the investment of enormous resources. How was outer space represented, communicated and perceived? In what way were changing conceptions affected by its continuous exploration? And how did the idea of spaceflight develop into such a central element of the project of Western modernity? Analyzing connections between science and fiction from a comparative European perspective, the conference will pay special attention to sites and situations where technologies and images have contributed to the omnipresence of fantasmatic thought.
Speakers include numerous distinguished experts such as Profs. Steven J. Dick (NASA), Debbora Battaglia (Mount Holyoke College), Pierre Lagrange (CNRS), Roger D. Launius (National Air and Space Museum), Michael J. Neufeld (National Air and Space Museum), Claudia Schmölders (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), James Schwoch (Northwestern University), Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum) and many others. The conference will also feature a special screening of rare historical films, several poster presentations and an interactive installation “SpacePlace. Art in the Age of Orbitization.”
A complete program including abstracts and brief biographies of all participants can be found at the website. The number of available places is limited, so pre-registration is mandatory. Please contact Alexander Geppert at geppert[at]fas.harvard.edu for further information.