Book Series Global Matters , vol. 9

Global History of Techniques

(19th-21st Centuries)

Guillaume Carnino, Liliane Hilaire-Perez, Jérôme Lamy (eds)

  • Pages: 650 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:80 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • c. € 115,00 EXCL. VAT RETAIL PRICE
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59151-3
  • Hardback
  • Forthcoming (Aug/22)



Guillaume Carnino is an associate professor at the University of Technology of Compiègne.
Liliane Hilaire-Pérez is a professor at the University of Paris and a senior research fellow at EHESS and the Institut Universitaire de France.
Jerôme Lamy is a researcher at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS).


It is impossible to understand our societies without apprehending their technical roots, which constitute the foundations of our political, economic, cultural, and everyday world. This book offers for the first time a synthesis of the global history of contemporary techniques, based on the contributions of recent historiography.

Gathering more than fifty specialists of the history of technology, we present an overview of technical evolutions on a global scale. As such, the book accounts for a diversity that challenges both teleological approaches on progress and Eurocentric perspectives. It explores the complex socioeconomic implications of techniques as well as the system of representations and power strategies that led to the emergence of our contemporary world.

The purpose is to decentre the history of technology. In this perspective, a central question concerns the very category of the history of technology, i.e. the term ‘technology.’ Refusing both the limitations of ‘technology’ and of ‘useful knowledge’, we reaffirm the necessity to study techniques as embodying human activity as a whole. In that sense, history is tied to anthropology and ethnology.

This book follows a three-part organization. The first section opens with a world tour of techniques, restoring the complexity of regional historiographies and of the meanings given to technical activities in society. The second part focuses on sectors of activity, processes, and products with a strong emphasis on means of production and communication, the exploitation of natural resources, major technical systems, infrastructures and networks. The final section provides access to major cross-related issues (devoting much attention to the role played by technology in globalization, particularly through colonization, imperialism, and the extension of large technical systems).


Global History of Techniques, Globalization of the History of Techniques, by Guillaume Carnino, Liliane Hilaire-Pérez, Jérôme Lamy

Part 1: Techniques Across the World

Introduction, by Liliane Hilaire-Pérez

From the ‘Stone Age’ to the Digital Era: Techniques in Oceania, a Brief Historiography (19th–21st centuries), by Marie Durand

The Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries: At the Crossroads of Technological Continuity and Sudden Western Modernity, by Elisabeth Mortier

Integration Process of Science and Technology, between Dependence and the Desire to Innovate: the Case of Maghreb, by Yamina Bettahar

Technology and Modernisation in East Asia: What Dragons Can Teach us about Global History, by Francesca Bray, Alexandra Kobiljski

Framing the History of Technology in India: From the Colonial Era to the Digital Age, by Dhruv Raina, Omprasad, Nayani Sarma

African Technological Pasts since 1800, by Joshua Grace

Central European Historical Writing on Technology, from 1945 to the Present Day: Institutional Contexts and Directions of Research, by Jawad Daheur

Unpacking ‘Eurocentric’ Technology Discourses ‘Back Home’: Technology and Societal Challenges in Western Europe, by Erik van der Vleuten

The Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and Post-socialist Russia, 19th century-early 21st century, by Elena Kochetkova, Julia Obertreis

Technology in North America: Nation Building, Industrialization, and Technoscience, by Jérôme Baudry

Latin America in the Global History of Technology, by David Pretel

Part 2: Artefacts, Processes, Sectors

Introduction, by Guillaume Carnino

Technology and its Temporalities, a Global Perspective, by Jonas van der Straeten, Heike Waltraud Weber

Mining and Extractive Industries: Prospecting, Extracting, And Post-mining Techniques in the Anthropocene Era, by Kevin Troch

Heavy Industries, from Steel and Molecules to the Cloud, by Florence Hachez-Leroy

Energy in the History of Technology, by Mahdi Khelfaoui, Anaël Marrec

Aeronautics and Aerospace: Globalization and Technical Junctions, by Jérôme Lamy, Arnaud Saint-Martin

Mobility Techniques: Objects and Supports of Transfers, by Arnaud Passalacqua

Sailing and Fishing: when Technical Innovation Reshaped the Seas, by Géraldine Barron, Julia Lajus

Water Harnessed by Industry: Hydraulic Technology in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, by Raphaël Morera, Elisabeth Mortier

Food Technology: Food Preservation, Packaging and Transport, by Ludovic Laloux

Four Examples of Transformations of Agricultural Techniques from the 19th to the Beginning of the 21st century, by Fabien Knittel

Electrifying Information: Global Telecommunication Technologies 19th–21st centuries, by Vincent Kuitenbrouwer

From Calculators to Datacenters: History of Industrial Computing and Quantification, by Guillaume Carnino

From Banking Computerization to Fintech: The Digital Revolution in Banking (1950s–1990s), by Sabine Effosse, Laure Quennouelle-Corre

Two Centuries of Technical Progress in Civil Engineering and Construction: A Few Lines of Strength, by Dominique Barjot

The Factory of Desire: Textiles and Techniques (19th–21st centuries), by Audrey Millet

Part 3: Cross-cutting Issues

Introduction, by Jérôme Lamy

Technology as a Human Science, by Liliane Hilaire-Pérez

Laboratory Techniques, by Joris Mercelis

Big Science and Technological Transformations, by Olof Hallonsten

Technique and Law, by Alessandro Nuvolari, Caterina Sganga

Training and Technological Education, by Stéphane Lembré

Prometheus Unbound: War and Technology from 1800 to Globalisation, by Patrice Bret

Taylorism, by Patrick Fridenson

Conflicts and Controversies over Techniques, by François Jarrige

Body Techniques and the Search for Human Perfection: From the Regeneration of the Social Body to the Injunction to Surpass Oneself, by Cecilia Calheiros

Thinking the Co-constitution of Gender and Technology from a Feminist Perspective, by Virginie Julliard

Technologies of Art and Culture: Film and Sound, by Martine Beugnet, Mathieu Duplay

A Short and Reflexive History of Everyday Life Technologies, Late 18th–21st Centuries, by Gil Bartholeyns, Manuel Charpy

Technology, Pollution, and Environment, by Soraya Boudia, Nathalie Jas

Repair, Recycling and Waste, by Thierry Bonnot, Michel Letté