[URBANTH-L]ANN: Imagining Outer Space 1900-2000 (Bielefeld, Germany)

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Sat Nov 24 14:32:43 EST 2007

From: Alexander C. T. Geppert <geppert at fas.harvard.edu>
Subject: CONF: Imagining Outer Space, 1900-2000 (Berlin, Feb. 2008)
Date: Friday, November 23, 2007

An International Conference

Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (ZiF)
with the support of Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
Universität Bielefeld
February 6-9, 2008

Organization: Alexander C.T. Geppert

This conference on the cultural history of outer space, space travel  
and space exploration examines the manner in which Europeans imagined  
outer space over the course of the twentieth century. Unlike most of  
the existing historiography, it is less interested in the political,  
diplomatic and technological aspects of European space programs per  
se, than in the socio-cultural rationale behind the investment of  
enormous resources. How was outer space represented, communicated and  
perceived? In what way were changing conceptions affected by its  
continuous exploration? And how did the idea of spaceflight develop  
into such a central element of the project of Western modernity?  
Analyzing connections between science and fiction from a comparative  
European perspective, the conference will pay special attention to  
sites and situations where technologies and images have contributed  
to the omnipresence of fantasmatic thought.

Speakers include numerous distinguished experts such as Profs. Steven  
J. Dick (NASA), Debbora Battaglia (Mount Holyoke College), Pierre  
Lagrange (CNRS), Roger D. Launius (National Air and Space Museum),  
Michael J. Neufeld (National Air and Space Museum), Claudia  
Schmölders (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), James Schwoch  
(Northwestern University), Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum) and  
many others. The conference will also feature a special screening of  
rare historical films, several poster presentations and an  
interactive installation "SpacePlace. Art in the Age of Orbitization."

A complete program including abstracts and brief biographies of all  
participants can be found at www.geschkult.fu-berlin.de/outerspace.
For information on the conference venue please visit www.uni- 

The number of available places is limited, so pre-registration is  
mandatory. Please contact Alexander Geppert at  
geppert at fas.harvard.edu for further information.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

15.00            Welcome Reception and Opening Remarks
Ipke Wachsmuth (ZiF) and Alexander C.T. Geppert (Harvard)

16.00            Introduction
Alexander C.T. Geppert: European Astrofuturism, Cosmic Provincialism.  
Historical Problems and Historiographical Perspectives

16.30            Keynote Lecture
Steven J. Dick (NASA): Space, Time and Aliens. The Role of  
Imagination in Outer Space

18.00            Feature Presentation I
Philip Pocock (ZKM): SpacePlace. Art in the Age of Orbitization

Thursday, February 7, 2008

09.00            Panel I: Theorizing Outer Space
Chair:  Claudia Schmölders (HU Berlin)
Debbora Battaglia (Mount Holyoke College): On Galaxies of Discourse
Thomas Brandstetter (Universität Wien): Imagining Inorganic Life.  
Crystalline Aliens in Science and Fiction
Benjamin Lazier (Reed College): Philosophers in Space. Towards a  
History of Earth and Artifact in Twentieth-Century Thought

11.15            Panel II: Personalizing Outer Space
Chair:  Bernd Weisbrod (Universität Göttingen)
Rebekka Ladewig (HU Berlin): Cosmism in Early Twentieth-Century  
Russia. Interrelating the Technical and Cultural Avantgardes
Christina Wessely (MPI für Wissenschaftsgeschichte): Cosmic  
Spectacular. Rocketry, Weltanschauung and the Quest for Cosmic Ice in  
Weimar Germany
Thore Bjørnvig (University of Copenhagen): Transcendence of Gravity.  
Arthur C. Clarke and the Apocalyptic of Weightlessness

14.00            Panel III: Localizing Outer Space
Chair:  Roger D. Launius (National Air and Space Museum)
Kerrie Anne Dougherty (Powerhouse Museum Sydney): Spaceport Woomera
Sven Mesinovic (European University Institute): Inner Space. Utopic  
Visions of Ocean Exploration

16.15            Panel IV: Screening Outer Space
Chair:  Peter Becker (Universität Linz)
Burghard Ciesla (Universität Potsdam): Outer Space, Inner Fear. Cold  
War SF-Films in East and West
Henry Keazor (Universität Frankfurt am Main): A Stumble in the Dark.  
Gerry Anderson's "Space 1999"
Werner Suppanz (Universität Graz): Nazis in Space. Distant Worlds as  
Projection Screen of Cultural Memory

19.30            Feature Presentation II
Jürgen Ast (Berlin): Screening of Historical Films

Friday, February 8, 2008 --

09.00            Panel V: Fictionalizing Outer Space
Chair:  Angela Schwarz (Universität Siegen)
Claudia Schmölders (HU Berlin): Unwriting Heaven. A Very Short  
History of an Idea
Steffen Krämer (LMU München): Ancient Heroes and Early Christian  
Ascetics. Archetypes of Modern Science Fiction
Patrick J. Gyger (Maison d'Ailleurs): Conjuring the Final Frontier.  
The Role of Science Fiction in Space Exploration

11.15            Panel VI: Visioning Outer Space
Chair:  Alexander C.T. Geppert (Harvard)
Pierre Lagrange (CNRS): The Invention of Ghost Rockets and Flying  
Saucers in 1946/47
James I. Miller (Davidson College): Encountering Aliens in a Familiar  
World. Fabricating a New World in Quarouble, France, 1954
Guillaume de Syon (Albright College): Between the Bubble and the  
Moon. Visions of Space Travel in Francophone Comic Strips

14.00            Panel VII: Politicizing Outer Space
Chair:  Kai-Uwe Schrogl (European Space Policy Institute)
Monica Rüthers (Universität Basel): Space, Children's Material  
Culture and Soviet Imagery after Sputnik
Michael J. Neufeld (National Air and Space Museum): "Smash the Myth  
of the Fascist Rocket Baron." The East German Campaign Against  
Wernher von Braun in the 1960s

16.15            Panel VIII: Communicating Outer Space
Chair:  Ralf Bülow (Berlin)
Roger D. Launius (National Air and Space Museum): Apollo Imagery and  
the Communication of American Culture
Bernd Mütter (Universität Bielefeld): Per Media Ad Astra? Outer Space
in West Germany's Media 1957-1987

Saturday, February 9, 2008 -

09.00            Panel IX: Automatizing Outer Space
Chair:  Paul Ceruzzi (National Air and Space Museum)
James Schwoch (Northwestern University): "Short, Nasty, and Brutish."  
The Curious Life of Telstar, 10 July 1962 - 21 February 1963
Gonzalo Munevar (Lawrence Technological University): Self-Reproducing  
Automata and the Impossibility of SETI

11.15            Panel X: Designing Outer Space
Chair:  Peter Davidson (National Museums Scotland)
Eva Mayring (Deutsches Museum): Pictures from Outer Space. Industry  
and its Designers
William R. Macauley (University of Manchester): Inscribing Scientific  
Knowledge. Interstellar Communication, Universal Laws and Contact  
with Cultures of the Imagination
Tristan Weddigen (Universität Bern): Alien Spotting. Damien Hirst's  
Beagle 2 Mars Lander "Calibration Target" and the Exploitation of  
Outer Space

14.00            Conclusion
Chair:  Steven J. Dick (NASA)
Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum): General Comment

Alexander C.T. Geppert
Freie Universität Berlin/Harvard University
geppert at fas.harvard.edu

Conference Venue
Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (ZiF)
Universität Bielefeld
Wellenberg 1
D-33615 Bielefeld
trixi.valentin at uni-bielefeld.de

Conference Website

Venue Website

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