Research strand 1 – European circulations: Europe as a product of material civilization. Kickoff Workshop (12-13 December 2013)

L'Europe en réseaux
Crédit: NASA

From the coal trains of the European Coal and Steel Community to the ‘protected’ labels of origin on European food products, material networks and regulations are common-sense markers of European integration. Far from being a product of the formal processes of integration following the Second World War, however, such networks represent durable yet changing pathways of circulation of goods, people, information and money, the history of which reaches back into the early modern era.

“European Circulations: Europe as a Product of Material Civilisation”, Research strand 1 of the Laboratoire d’Excellence “Writing a New History of Europe” (“Ecrire une histoire nouvelle de l’Europe” LabEx EHNE) seeks to explore how these circulations have shaped European spaces, and how they have intersected, overlapped or blocked regional, national or global flows. These issues are explored through the interwoven circulations of energy and raw materials, the mobilities of merchants, merchandise, consumers and citizens, and the broad networks of communication that support these flows. In long-term perspective, the project explores the material forms, the regimes of governance of use, the knowledge and risks they generate.

The goal of this kickoff meeting is to present the project framework to a group of experts and place it within emerging bodies of research on related topics. To this end, this day and a half of presentations and discussion brings together noted experts and young researchers from around Europe with projects that speak to our three substrands of “Communication” “Mobility” and “Energy”. Exploring cases ranging from electricity grids in 20th Century Central Europe to the circulation of merchants and goods through harbours in the Early Modern era, the assembled experts will present methods, issues and key questions surrounding the material circulations in Europe.


Institut des sciences de la communication du CNRS. 20 rue Berbier du Mets, 75013 Paris.

Thursday 12 December

14h-15h: Welcome, presentation of Labex and Strand 1: European Circulations

15h30-18h30 Session 1: Communication

  • 15h30-15h45 Presentation of substrand (Pascal Griset, Léonard Laborie)
  • 15h45-16h30 Andreas Fickers, University of Luxembourg “Hands on! A plea for experimental media archaeology
  • 16h30-17h – Break
  • 17h-17h45 Alec Badenoch, Paris IV/Utrecht University “Transnational Radio Encounters: International radio services between expats, empire and education
  • 17h45-18h30 tbc

Friday 13 December

9h30-12h30 Session 2: Mobility

  • 9h30-9h45 Presentation of substrand (Reynald Abad, Mathieu Flonneau)
  • 9h45-10h30 Massimo Moraglio : TU Berlin “A technological Cassandra. The European transport industry (1940-2010) and its (black) scenarios”
  • 10h30-11h – break
  • 11h-11h45 Klaus Weber, Europa-Universität Viadrina “Merchant migrations and merchandise circulations between Western European harbours (17th-19th Century)
  • 11h45-12h30 Jan Veluwenkamp, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen “Family networks in early modern Dutch business

12h30-14h00 lunch, Salle Akhoun, First floor

14h-17h Session 1 : Energy

  • 14h-14h15 Presentation of substrand (Alain Beltran, Yves Bouvier)
  • 14h15-15h Vincent Lagendijk, Maastricht University “Risks, Ideas, and Flows in the European Electricity System
  • 15h-15h30 – break
  • 15h30-16h15 Mercela Efmertova and Jan Mikes, Polytechnical University, Prague “La recherche dans l´histoire d´électricité dans la République tchèque” les exemples : “le système énergetique MIR dans la Tchécoslovaquie dans les années 1945-1970” et l´électrification dans la Tchécoslovaquie (1918-1938)”
  • 16h15-17h Ana Cardoso de Matos and Maria da Luz Sampaio, Universidade de Ëvora “La recherche dans l’histoire éléctrique au Portugal” L’exemple: “Le Moteur Electrique au Portugal : transfert et innovation

17h-18h00 Concluding commentary and discussion – Erik van der Vleuten, TU Eindhoven