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A Global History of Technology, 1850-2000

A Global History of Technology, 1850-2000

Objective

What role did technology play in the age of colonization and globalization? The proposed project, A Global History of Technology, 1850-2000 (GLOBAL-HOT), explores this vital question.
Traditional histories written about this period usually trace the wide circulation of mainstream technologies—from railways and telegraphs to container ships and mobile phones. The standard narrative claims these technologies supported colonialism and later triggered globalization—the growing uniformity and homogenization of lifestyles and practices worldwide. GLOBAL-HOT challenges this linear view of technology and globalization.
Another feature of traditional histories is their focus on the Global North—Europe and North America. A Global History of Technology counterbalances this focus by expanding the research to include the long-neglected Global South: Asia, Africa, and Latin America. By analyzing these continents’ artifacts, infrastructures, and practices—whether indigenous, imported, or hybrid—we will revise standard accounts of users in the Global South as passive recipients of artifacts and consumer goods.
The GLOBAL-HOT project team seeks to support three key hypotheses:
1. Technologies circulated between the Global North and the Global South. Artifacts and material systems did not flow in one direction only: from North to South, e.g., from Europe to the rest of the world.
2. The development and use of technologies took on a variety of forms—not a single, “globalized” form—in various parts of the world.
3. The local appropriation of globally circulating artifacts and technical solutions was primarily a highly specific and often contested process.
The overarching goal of the project is to increase our understanding of the relationship between the development and use of technologies—whether for construction or harvesting, transportation or cooking, for example—in Europe and the rest of the world. Thus, we can better grasp the realities of global technologies.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Host institution

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT DARMSTADT

Address

Karolinenplatz 5
64289 Darmstadt

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 2 499 789

Beneficiaries (1)

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TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT DARMSTADT

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 2 499 789

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 742631

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 October 2017

  • End date

    30 September 2022

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 499 789

  • EU contribution

    € 2 499 789

Hosted by:

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT DARMSTADT

Germany