ICOHTEC 22nd - 27th July 2019 Katowice

Summer School 18-22 July

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The Third ICOHTEC Summer School in Katowice will combine the 46th ICOHTEC Symposium with a three-day intensive seminar course geared to PhD students and young
post-doctoral scholars. The Summer School brings together conventional seminars and the participation in the ICOHTEC Symposium. The topic of the ICOHTEC Summer School is “Technology and Power”.  In line with the main thematic objectives of the ICOHTEC Symposium, the Summer School aims to approach its theme open-mindedly and multidisciplinarily. The School enhances students’ skill to comprehend and study versatile relationships between society and technology.

In particular, the Summer School aims to deal with these questions:

  • What are the main thematic implications of the theme technology and power?
  • Which theoretical concepts and methodological approaches are most suitable dealing with it?
  • What could a new and original approach to the theme look like?


Intuitively, the phrase “Technology and Power” refers to political and military power, surveillance, large-scale energy systems and colossal infrastructure projects, i.e. intentional power that public or private institutions exercise in society by means of technology while trying to achieve their goals. On the other hand, technology has also concealed or even unintentional power with respect to people, media, education, language, life style and the body. In addition, there are attempts to gain an upper hand of technology and related standard values. Maintaining, repairing and appropriating technologies or designing them on a human scale are applied to tame technology running wild due to fierce competition of business interests.

Shortly, the Summer School aims to study relationships between technology and power from broad and many-sided viewpoints. It is open to versatile approaches and traditions.


The ICOHTEC Summer School consists of two parts:

Part 1. Interactive discussion seminars

Objectives of the School include inspiration and discussion.  Daily lectures and students’ research papers (generally on their PhD or post-doc projects distributed in advance) are to inspire participants. The aim is to appropriate discussion on research topics to methodo­­logical and theoretical approaches. Expert tutors will moderate these dis­cussions in small groups. A joint feedback colloquium will end the School.

The Summer School lecturers are:

  • Lino Camprubi, University of Sevilla, Spain. He will lecture on: Technology and Globalization: Political Economy, Diplomacy and Strategy.

    This talk explores the broad topic of the role of technology in world history through an attention to economics, strategy and diplomacy. Engineers have been actors of international connectivity and exchange as well as of unequal resource assessment, exploitation and management. As players in international relations, they have acted as diplomats, promoting alliances and exclusions, fostering circulation or helping to halt it at the border–globalization is far from a straight forward process. Finally, while war often appears as a motivation to develop new technologies, the role of new and old technologies and technological systems in shaping practices and meanings in strategy and geopolitics offers ample possibilities of analysis. I will explore these topics in reference to recent literature and through specific examples.

  • Martina Heßler, Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. She will lecture on Power – Powerlessness: The Ambiguity of Technology and Fears of Losing Control.

    On the one hand, technology applied by humans is regarded as a means of shaping the world, of mastering and controlling nature, other human beings and processes of all kinds. It is an instrument of power. On the other hand, this anthropocentric notion of the world-dominating homo faber was often questioned. The powerlessness of humans vis-à-vis technology was an issue of concern. Technology gives feelings of powerlessness when technology threatens to become overpowering or uncontrollable.

    So, the lecture does not deal with political questions of power but asks from a historical anthropological perspective about the ambiguity of technology, which is the source of feelings of omnipotence as well as of powerlessness. It will be suggested that a historical-anthropological view on powerlessness contributes to understanding basic human-machine relations in a technical culture. Different forms of feelings of powerlessness towards technology from the 19th to the 21st century will be analysed.

  • Arne Kaijser, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He will lecture on  The Power of Infrastructure in War.

    This lecture will analyze the role of infrastructure in European warfare since the mid-19th century. When the first railways and telegraph lines were built in Europe, military planners early on included them in their strategies for future wars. Modern infrastructure has ever since been crucial for all warfare – first on the ground, then at sea, and finally in the air. On the one hand, military planners appropriated infrastructure that was built and designed primarily for civilian purposes and modified it for their own purposes. In addition, they constructed dedicated military infrastructure, like naval and air bases. All this infrastructure increased the scale and scope of military destruction dramatically: The death toll in the Franco-Prussian war was almost 200 000, 8 million were killed in WWI, and more than 40 million Europeans – half of them civilians – died in WWII.


Part 2. Active attendance in the ICOHTEC Symposium

Students of the Summer School are expected to participate in the ICOHTEC Symposium and its scientific sessions according to their personal tailor-made schedules.

Participants pay for the Summer School the registration fee of 60 € or the combined fee of 130 € for both the School and the following Symposium. These fees include participation services and lunches. Accommodation at student dormitories and a limited number of ICOHTEC travel grants will be available. All students who complete the programme will receive an attendance certificate.

Target Participants

- PhD students with a subject-appropriate academic background.
- Post-doctoral researchers with a subject-appropriate academic background

Participants are expected to
    - be able to speak, read and write in English.
    - undertake preparatory reading in advance of the programme.
    - attend all lectures and seminar sessions.
    - be actively engaged in the topics of the sessions.
    - attend the ICOHTEC 2019 Symposium and present a paper there as a single or co-author.
    - submit a final assignment of 2,000-2,500 words on one of the topics discussed in the Summer School within six weeks after the summer school.


- Deadline for applications: 20 March 2019
- Applicants must send the following data by email file attachments to Timo Myllyntaus, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. :

      1) A brief one-page cv, which includes the main personal data, academic training and career, selected publications and e-mail for further contact.
      2) A short statement of purpose (350-400 words) detailing your academic reasons for wishing to attend the summer school. This should include your expectations what you hope to get out of the summer school, and what you are likely to contribute to the intellectual life of the summer school. This may include details of history, political or social science courses you have previously taken, or the relevance of the summer school to your present course of study or professional development. If you are preparing a thesis or research paper at the moment, please write a brief description of it. Include also the title of your possible paper submission to the ICOHTEC Symposium, which follows the Summer School (Further information: ).
     3) A letter of recommendation by your teacher or supervisor, referring to your application to the ICOHTEC Summer School.

The subject line of the email should be "Summer School Application" and in the titles of your file attachments mark your surname first and then the title of the file (e.g. Smith_CV).

Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.
After the submission of the application, you will receive a response by 10 April 2019.

19.07.2019, 8:30 am: Registration at the University of Silesia/Faculty of Social Sciences, Bankowa street 11

Members of the Summer School Committee

Hans-Joachim Braun (chair), Germany
Maria Elvira Callapez, Portugal
Timo Myllyntaus, Finland
Sofia Alexia Papazafeiropoulou, Greece
Magdalena Zdrodowska, Poland