Over the course of the twentieth century, outer space has developed into a predominant site of utopian thought and futuristic expansion scenarios. Arguing that space transformed into a place where competing visions of the future were projected, posited and played out by experts and the public alike, the final conference of the Emmy Noether Research Group “The Future in the Stars: European Astroculture and Extraterrestrial Life in the Twentieth Century” at Freie Universität Berlin will examine the rise and fall of the European Space Age from the interwar years through the Post-Apollo period.
Featuring presentations by all group members and invited guests, the symposium pursues 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 also examines 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 (Washington, DC), Martin Collins (Washington, DC), Martina Heßler (Hamburg), Dirk van Laak (Gießen), Michael J. Neufeld (Washington, DC), Helmuth Trischler (Munich) and Helmut Zander (Fribourg).
Registration is required to attend the symposium as the number of seats available is limited; to register please contact the conveners at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freie Universität Berlin
Henry Ford Building
[>pdf of program]