CfPanelists: Disability//Body//History of Technology – panel during International Committee for the History of Technology ICOHTEC conference

Magdalena Zdrodowska's picture
January 5, 2020
Subject Fields: 
History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Cultural History / Studies, Health and Health Care, Humanities, Social Sciences


The 47th ICOHTEC’s annual conference will take place in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 13-18 July 2020, and will be devoted to solutions the history of technology may offer in an age of crisis. In keeping with the conference theme, the Disability//Body//History of Technology panel will take the concept of “crisis” as a core idea to examine at through the lenses of disability and bodily experience.

In STS studies, disability is largely framed within medical intervention and recognized as a "crisis" that affects the disabled person, their family and friends. This panel moves away from this construction. We leave the pathologizing notion of disability aside and approach it from the disability studies perspective: as a matter of diversity, not lack thereof, as an avenue for out of the box technological solutions that may act for the benefit of all in critical moments and situations. At the same time, we would like to reconsider the crisis itself for posing a question: whether ‘crisis’ means the same to able-bodied and disabled citizens.

We aim to bring together fields of history of technology, disability history, and history of medicine with other research and methodological paradigms. Therefore please consider the below list of topics more as an inspiration than restricted catalog:

  1. Prosthetic technologies/devices in post-conflict times
  2. Mainstreaming of the disability technologies in emergency situations
  3. Public spaces for all and the crises of accessibility
  4. Accessibility of technologies for addressing emergency situations
  5. Reconsidering quackery and legitimate medicine in critical times
  6. Epidemics, HIV and other health crises in relation to disability
  7. Old/dead/alternative technologies in emergency situations
  8. The bio/medical technologies as biopolitical tools
  9. Dis/emancipatory technologies
  10. Global and postcolonial aspects of relations between technology and disability
  11. Inventing under constraints - disabled users and DIY practices: reusing, repairing and tinkering as inventing
  12. Methodological issues, problems and constrains in researching disability history and history of technology

Deadline for abstracts: 3rd January 2020

To submit proposal please send it to Magdalena Zdrodowska ( and Jaipreet Virdi (

Proposals should consist of a 300-word abstract and a one-page CV. Abstracts should include the author’s name and email address, a short descriptive title, three to five key words, a concise statement of the thesis, a brief discussion of the sources, and a summary of the major conclusions.

Contact Info: 

Magdalena Zdrodowska