Paper proposals are invited for a conference on November 17 and 18, 2011 that will explore the lives of the new materials that have made possible many of the technological advances of our age. Whether based on plant, metal, chemical, or nano technologies, the development, use, re-use, and disposal of new materials is an embedded feature of our industrial society. The focus of this conference is to understand the relationships from which new materials emerge, and which they in turn often refashion. We are especially interested in proposals that focus on the life history of a new material: its biography, use cycle, place in supply chains, or features as material culture. We encourage papers to address the reasons and methods for development of a new material; its design, manufacture, testing, and subsequent incorporation into final products or already existing technologies; its reuse or disposal after completion of its primary purpose; and its impact – anticipated or not – on subsequent innovations. Exploration of the creation of new materials should situate those scientific and technological processes within the commercial, institutional, or social contexts that lead to their development. Papers should be historical and based on original research, and may consider any region of the world after 1900.
Submissions should include a brief c.v. and an abstract for the proposed paper that is no more than 500 words in length. The deadline for proposals is April 1, 2011. Please go here to submit a proposal. Travel support will be available for those presenting at the conference.
The conference is jointly sponsored by the Center for the History of Business, Technology and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF), and the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science (PACHS). Sessions will take place at Hagley in Wilmington, Delaware and at CHF in Philadelphia. Questions about this conference may be directed to Dr. Roger Horowitz
(rhorowitz AT Hagley DOT org).