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Workshop on history of telecommunications

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Dates: December, 17-19, 2015

The goal of the proposed workshop is to explore and discuss recent developments related to the field of transnational history of telecommunications, with specific focus on the role of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Consequently, this workshop is at the intersection of three main topics of research: the history of telecommunications, transnational studies in communication and the history of the ITU as the most relevant international organization for telecommunication history.

This workshop has three main objectives: the first is to compare different approaches, methodologies and research avenues employed in telecommunications history scholarship; the second is to discuss the role of the ITU as a subject of research and as a place to conduct research; finally, the last goal involves creating a platform of scholars for the development of further collaborations and scientific publications.

Themes of the Workshop

​The Worshop will be organized around following themes:

  • The Origins of ITU
  • Cables and Flows
  • First  World War and its aftermath
  • Global communication
  • Digitization of communication and networks
  • Future research opportunities in the area of history of communication

Dates & Venue

​The Workshop on "Transnational histories of telecommunications" will take place at the International Teleccommunication Union (ITU) on 17-19 December 2015.

Information how to get to ITU

Meeting room: Room G3, Varembé building (entrance by Montbrillant or Tower building)

Expected outcomes of the Workshop

The workshop will provide valuable opportunities for speakers and participants to present and discuss their recent scientific results and to propose future lines of research to a group of highly qualified scholars who are conducting research on the transnational history of telecommunications.

One expected outcome of the workshop is a special issue to be published in a leading academic journal (Technology and Culture; Media History; Telecommunication Policy; History of Technology; etc.).

Alternatively, the presented articles will be compiled in a book by a prestigious publisher like Routledge, Palgrave, Bloomsbury. Cambridge Scholar Publishing, etc. Papers will undergo the usual peer review process.

Another expected outcome of the workshop is the establishment of new collaborations for joint papers and projects. The organizer would like to engage all of the participants in order to establish a European project within the Horizon 2020 framework. National and regional funding opportunities will also be evaluated.

A fourth and final outcome may involve the establishment of a permanent network of scholars who focus on the history of telecommunications, but who more broadly act as policy advisors when decisions must be made by political organizations at the international level. This outcome may demonstrate the need for historians and social scientists to be involved in decision-making processes at the international scale.

Organizers: USI and ITU-Library & Archives

​This Workshop is jointly organized by ITU and the USI-Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Faculty of Communication Sciences. The scientific programme was developed by Prof. Gabriele Balbi, Institute of Media and Journalism (IMeG).
​ITU Library and Archives Service is giving logistic and secretarial support.