Technology and the Making of Europe

Fellows 2010

The 2010 Fellowships have been awarded to Momir Samardžić and Spyros Tzokas. Stefka H. Hristova, lastly, received an additional 2010 Fellowship from the Bulgarian Centre of Excellence Dialogue Europe (Institute for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Research). You can find more information about them here.


Work in Progress

Momir Samardžić (University of Novi Sad, Serbia)

During the ToE/IE Sofia conference in June 2010, the Selection Committee of the Karen Johnson Freeze Fellowship Fund awarded me with a fellowship to support my research in Austria. My awareness of the profound influence of technological change on political and social processes inspired me to investigate how the idea of railway construction affected Serbian politics in the second half of the 19th century, using a combined domestic/foreign policy approach. In 2010, the first results were published in a book Roads to Europe: Serbian Politics and the Railway Issue 1878-1881 (Pisa 2010). Previous research pointed towards the undisputable influence of foreign powers, especially those of Austria-Hungary, on the infrastructural developments of the Balkans, and  railway construction in particular.

The funding provided by the Karen Johnson Freeze Fellowship Fund enabled me to conduct research in Vienna. In September 2010 and November and December 2011 I went to Vienna to conduct research at the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv of the Österreichisches Staatsarchiv and the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. As I already expected, I found an incredibly large amount of documents, articles and books relevant for the Austro-Hungarian Balkan policy and the railway construction in Serbia, and on the Balkans in particular. I decided to focus on a short period at the end of the 1860s and the beginning of the 1880s.

At the moment, I am analyzing these documents and preparing to use part of them to write some article. At the same time, I am planning to continue my research into this extremely important issue that can be observed in the context of all the major processes of Balkan history.


Spyros Tzokas (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece)

Spyros has recently defended his dissertation at the Graduate program in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (University of Athens/National Technical University of Athens). Title: On the social construction of the technical objectivity: The formative period of Greek engineering, late 19th - early 20th century. The dissertation follows the social construction of technical objectivity and engineering expertise in a series of debates within engineering and between engineers and other professionals. Central to the narrative is the calculating approach of Elias Angelopoulos, a French-trained Greek engineer who became influential as editor of the first Greek engineering journal, first president of the professional society of Greek engineers, promoter of institutions of technical education, designer of key public works and infrastructures, arbitrator in engineering debates, engineering consultant, student of ancient technology and mediator in important transnational engineering initiatives.


Stefka H. Hristova (University of California, Irvine)

My research examines early war photography in Bulgaria in the period 1853-1879 in order to raise questions about the ways in which photographic technology, which originated in France and England, shaped ideas and imaginaries of race, gender, and nation in Bulgaria. During my previous data-collection trips, I uncovered multiple photographic representations of Bulgarian volunteers with the Russian Army during the Crimean war, as well as photographs of men and women in “rebel” rather than “military” dress. Of particular interests emerged the figure of Anastasiya Obretenova, who was a prominent member of an important revolutionary family in Bulgaria. This fellowship will allow me to continue my research on the topic and more specifically will enable me to conduct a second round of archival research in Bulgaria. I will examine photographic and textual records associated with Mrs. Obretenova, held at the National Academy of Science and at her family-museum in Rousse in order to analyze the role photography played in shaping national consciousness during these turmoil years.