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Past Futures in European Space

International Conference: "Futuring the Stars: Europe in the Age of Space" on March 18 and 19, 2016 at Freie Universität Berlin

№ 058/2016 from Mar 01, 2016

Scientists of the Emmy Noether research group "The Future in the Stars: European Astroculture and Extraterrestrial Life in the 20th Century" are holding an international symposium from March 18 to 19, 2016, on the rise and fall of European space thinking in the 20th century. Twelve presentations will address outer space as a projection of extraterrestrial visions and expectations about the future. The conference is public, but advance registration is required. Journalists are welcome. Interviews prior to the event may also be granted. The symposium will be held in English.

During the 20th century outer space became the epitome of longing and a powerful projection for fantasies of futuristic expansion. The final conference of the Emmy Noether Research Group will focus on outer space as the setting for competing visions of the future. Presentations by all the members of the research group and invited guests will deal with the varied and diverse history of the so-called Space Age beginning with the period between the two world wars through the crisis-ridden 1970s from a European perspective.

The symposium will pursue a double aim: As the project's closing event, it will take stock of individual and collective contributions to the concerted historicization of outer space undertaken since the group's establishment in 2010. It will evaluate to what extent "astroculture" as a concept, research agenda, and a new field of historical research has been successfully integrated into mainstream twentieth-century historiography. Addressing political, cultural, technological, and transcendental aspects of space thought and spaceflight, the symposium will also examine the existence and potential characteristics of a particularly West-European variant of the global Space Age. Focusing on the role outer space played in the making of the past century's polymorphic and protean futures, it will discuss the transformation of these past planetary futures into today's planetized present.

Conference participants include Paul Ceruzzi (National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC), Martin Collins (National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC), Martina Heßler (Helmut-Schmidt-Universität Hamburg), Dirk van Laak (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen), Michael J. Neufeld (National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC), Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum München), and Helmut Zander (Université de Fribourg).

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19, 2016, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
  • Henry Ford Building, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystraße 35, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem; subway station: Thielplatz (U3)

Link to the Homepage

Information about the Research Group, the Symposium, and Interview Requests

Prof. Dr. Alexander Geppert, New York University, Director, Emmy Noether Research Group "The Future in the Stars: European Astroculture and Extraterrestrial Life in the 20th Century," Tel.: +49 30 838-56899 and +49 178 8181270, Email: