CfP: Knowledge about Natural Resources

Knowledge about Natural Resources. Challenges of the Exploration and Exploitation of Natural Resources in East Central Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries

A joint conference of the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe – Institute of the Leibniz Association (Marburg), the Collegium Carolinum (Munich) and the Centre for Environmental History (Tallinn)

Marburg, Germany, 18-20 April 2013

With the establishment of statistics, national economy, geography and their neighbouring disciplines, from the 19th century on the exploration and exploitation of natural resources was intensified, since it was regarded as a basic prerequisite for economic development and growth. This concept held true not only for the overseas colonies of Western European nations, but also for the heartlands themselves, whose potential economic performance was to be measured and recorded.
The attention concentrated not only on the classic fuels of the industrialisation such as coal and iron, but also the potentials of agriculture and forestry, the raw materials of upcoming branches of industry (chemical industry, electrical engineering, etc.), the capacity of the transport system and last but not least the human being itself as the source of manpower. In the empires of East Central Europe – and its newly founded states of 1918 respectively – a large variety of protagonists from politics, science, industry and society took an active role in this process.

The conference is intended to approach its topic, the exploration and exploitation of natural resources in East Central Europe, from a perspective related to the history of knowledge and environment and brings the following key questions into focus:

– Scientific and General Knowledge about Natural Resources: Which relations or even tensions arise between scientific knowledge about natural resources and traditional (local) knowledge? Which forces of inertia do appear in the local inventories of knowledge?

– Knowledge about the Economy and Ecology of Natural Resources: Which economic and ecological aspects of the exploration and exploitation of natural resources are reflected in scientific and general knowledge. Which hopes, problems and challenges for the environment are referred to by the protagonists? How do they discuss
the relationship between economic and ecological aspects of the exploitation of natural resources? Which kind of relationship between different types of resources do they establish?

– Having Knowledge of Natural Resources ? Being in Control of Natural Resources: Which political claims are connected to the exploration and exploitation of natural resources? Which political, social or economic aspects have an impact on research and exploration projects? Which political, social and/or ethnic-national tensions emerge from the clash of different knowledge bases?

– Language, Knowledge and Natural Resources: Which role does academic and everyday language play in dealing with natural resources? In which way did the multiple linguistic, ethnic and social interactions in East Central Europe shape the science-based exploration and exploitation of natural resources? Which modes of
exchange of methods and work results can be identified throughout language boundaries? Which kind of relationships appear between the pre-dominant academic languages and the national languages? Which processes of transfer and translation shape the exchange of knowledge between different languages? Which role play terms and definitions, symbols and sign systems (cartography, formulas, etc.) in the exchange of knowledge?

The conference puts emphasis on East Central Europe from the late 18th century to the be-ginning of World War II. Presentations to adjacent regions (Scandinavia, Balkan, etc.), comparisons between East Central European case examples and other areas as well as ground-breaking projects on other epochs would also be highly appreciated.

The number of participants is limited to 16-18 persons. Each application should come with an entitled abstract of the intended presentation (3,000 characters maximum), a short account on the author (CV) as well as his or her contact details. The abstracts of the invitees are go¬ing to be compiled to a reader which is send to all participants in advance. The official languages of the conference will be German and English. The closing date is 30 November 2012 and applicants will be informed about their application until the mid of December the latest. Any travelling and accommodation costs are covered by the organisers.

Please send your application electronically (preferably in Microsoft Word file format) to:

Dr. Heidi Hein-Kircher
Herder-Institut für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung ?
Institut der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft
Wissenschaftsforum
Gisonenweg 5-7
D-35037 Marburg
Email: forum [at] herder-institut.de