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Electric Worlds / Mondes électriques

Creations, Circulations, Tensions, Transitions (19th–21st C.)


Edited By Alain Beltran, Léonard Laborie, Pierre Lanthier and Stéphanie Le Gallic

What interpretation(s) do today’s historians make of electrification? Electrification is a process which began almost a hundred and fifty years ago but which more than one billion men and women still do not have access to. This book displays the social diversity of the electric worlds and of the approaches to their history. It updates the historical knowledge and shows the renewal of the historiography in both its themes and its approaches. Four questions about the passage to the electrical age are raised: which innovations or combination of innovations made this passage a reality? According to which networks and appropriation? Evolving thanks to which tensions and alliances? And resulting in which transition and accumulation?

Quel(s) regard(s) les historiens d’aujourd’hui portent-ils sur l’électrification, processus engagé il y a près de cent cinquante ans mais auquel plus d’un milliard d’hommes et de femmes restent encore étrangers ? Le présent volume rend compte de la diversité des mondes sociaux électriques et des manières d’enquêter sur leur histoire. Il actualise les connaissances et témoigne du renouvellement de l’historiographie, dans ses objets et ses approches. Quatre points d’interrogation sur le basculement des sociétés dans l’âge électrique jalonnent le volume : moyennant quelles créations ou combinaisons créatrices ? En vertu de quelles circulations et appropriations ? Selon quelles tensions et alliances ? Et produisant quelles transitions et accumulations ?

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Stathis Arapostathis is Assistant Professor in the History of Science and Technology in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford on the history of British electrical engineering consultants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Since then he has published in the history and sociology of engineering, history of electrical technologies, history of intellectual property and historically informed science and technology policy. His recent publications include Patently Contestable: Electrical Technologies and Inventor Identities on Trial in Britain (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2013) an award winning book (Pickstone 2014 BSHS Prize) co-authored with Graeme Gooday. He teaches graduate and postgraduate modules in: History of Technology; Science, Technology and Society; Science and Technology Policy; History of Science and Technology Policy; Law, Science and Technology.

Alain Beltran est directeur de recherche au CNRS. Spécialiste de l’histoire de l’énergie dans la France et l’Europe contemporaine, il est président du Comité d’histoire de l’électricité et de l’énergie.

Ana Cardoso de Matos is Professor at the Évora University (Department of History) and member of Research Centre CIDEHUS/UE. Her research interests are focussed on history of gas and electricity, urban history and on the history and heritage of technology, engineering and industry. She had coordinated the projects: “Portuguese engineering and engineers – 18th-20th centuries” and “Networked Cities: Urban infrastructures in Portugal 1850-1950,” both financially supported by FCT-Portugal. She was Visiting Professor at the EHESS-Centre Mauric Halbwachs...

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