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Science, Technology and Fascism

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For an updated programme go to the official web site:


An International Journal
for the History of
Science and Technology



Or download a Word document presenting the programme here. [doc - 3,72MB]

The current workshop brings together historians of science and technology to discuss the polemical relation between technoscience and fascism in the twentieth century. Along with the more traditional aim of trailing the changes in scientific practices following the establishment of political regimes labelled as fascist we wish to explore the crucial role played by technoscience on conceiving and materializing totalitarian dreams of new social designs. By shifting the centre of attention from antiscientific practices to the work of the many scientists mobilized by the State for the construction of a fascist society, historians started to produce by the end of the 1980's new accounts of the importance of laboratories in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Franco's Spain. As scientists and engineers adapted their practices to the opening up of opportunities as well as the imposition of restrictions by the new rule, political dreams were enlarged by technological innovations and laboratory work.

Although the copious literature produced by the research program fostered from 1999 to 2004 by the Max Planck Society on the "History of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in the National Socialist Era", already offered a complete renewal on the understanding of science and Nazism, a more general comparison with other fascisms was never tried. If political scientists dealing with fascism are progressively more akin to comparative perspectives, historians of science and technology have not yet faced the challenge of confronting simultaneously different fascisms. By bringing together scholars working on Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, we thus hope to make the history of science and technology more relevant to the general understanding of fascism.

Main topics

The following topics will be open to discussion:
  1. Research for Fascism: National laboratories, Big Science, Technoscience and the military
  2. Total Planning: scientists and engineers in Five-year plans; Spatial Planning; Research for Autarky
  3. Building the Fascist Landscape: auto-bahn, dams, forests, cotton fields, Plan Badajoz…
  4. Comparing Technoscience Practices: fascism in different countries, fascism vs democracy, prefascist vs fascist.

Thursday, June 14th

  • 10.30 - 10-45 - Coffee Reception at ICS hall
  • 10.45 - 11.00 - Ana Simões (CHCUL, Faculty of Sciences – University of Lisbon): Opening remarks
  • 11.00 - 13.00 - Chair: João Caraça (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation)
    • Mark Walker (Union College, New York), Ideologically-Correct Science. [abstract]
    • Nuno Luís Madureira (University Institute of Management, Social Sciences and Technology - ISCTE, Lisbon), Measuring the citizens: anthropometry, the Republic and the New State in Portugal. [abstract]
  • 13.00 - 14.00 - Lunch at the ICS Panoramic room (5th floor)
  • 14.00 - 16.00 - Chair: Maria Eduarda Gonçalves (University Institute of Management, Social Sciences and Technology - ISCTE, Lisbon)
    • Thomas Wieland (Munich Center for the History of Science and Technology), Autarky and “Lebensraum”. The political agenda of academic plant breeding in National Socialist Germany. [abstract]
    • Maria de Fátima Nunes and Augusto J. S Fitas (University of Évora), The 3rd International History of Science Congress (1934): Portugal, the «Estado Novo», Science and its History.
  • 16.00 - 16.15 - Coffee Break at ICS hall
  • 16.15 - 18.15 - Chair: Ana Cardoso de Matos (CIDEHUS - Interdisciplinary Centre for History,Cultures and Societies, University of Évora)
    • Roberto Maiocchi (Catholic University Milan), The National Council of Research and Italian fascism’s wars. [abstract]
    • Antoni Malet (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona), The first decades of CSIC: A totalitarian Institution?


Friday, June 15th

  • 10.15 - 10.30 - Coffee at ICS hall
  • 10.30 - 12.30 - Chair: José Luís Cardoso (ISEG, School of Economics and Management, Technical University of Lisbon)
    • Yiannis Antoniou (Hellenic Open University Vassilis Bogiatzis, National Technical University of Athens): Technology and Totalitarian Ideas in Interwar Greece. [abstract]
    • Maria Fernanda Rollo (Institute of Contemporary History, New University of Lisbon): Planning and Ordering Science. Guidelines and Purposes of the National Education Board (from 1920’s to World War II).
  • 12.30 -13.30 - Lunch at ICS Panoramic Room (5th floor)
  • 13.30 - 15.30 - Chair: António Costa Pinto (Institute of Social Sciences – University of Lisbon)
    • Susanne Heim (Institute for Contemporary History, Munich - Berlin), The contribution of Science to the Nazi Programme to reorganize European Agriculture.
    • Tiago Saraiva (Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon), Fascist Labscapes: Laboratories and the Colonization of Mozambique and Portugal.
  • 15.30 - 16.00 - Wrap-up commentary and Discussion Maria de Fátima Nunes (University of Évora)
  • 16:00 - 16:45 - Discussion



Download the programme as a PDF document. [pdf - 31kB]

Download the programme as a Word document. [doc - 3,72MB]
Thursday and Friday,
14th - 15th June 2007

Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon
Av Prof Aníbal de Bettencourt, 9
1600-189 Lisboa

Sala Polivalente

Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis e Societate Jesu. In universam dialecticam Aristotelis Stagiritae, 1606

> See the Programme
> Site of the ICS


For registration please contact

> Margarida Bernardo
or 351-21-7804760


Organization Committee


>Tiago Saraiva
(Institute of Social Sciences - University of Lisbon)


> Ana Carneiro (CHFCT/DCSA, Faculty of Sciences and Technology - New University of Lisbon)
> Maria Paula Diogo (CHFCT/DCSA, Faculty of Sciences and Technology - New University of Lisbon)
> Henrique Leitão
(CHCUL, Faculty of Sciences - University of Lisbon)
> Ana Cardoso de Matos (CIDEHUS, University of Évora)
> Ana Simões
(CHCUL, Faculty of Sciences - University of Lisbon)

Organizing Institutions

> Center of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (CHFCT/DCSA) - New University of Lisbon
> Center of History of Sciences - University of Lisbon (CHCUL)
> Institute of Social Sciences - University of Lisbon
> Interdisciplinary Center for History, Cultures and Societies (CIDEHUS) - University of Évora


See also:

> The international journal of history of science and technology: HoST
> Host annual workshop 2006

  Última actualização 15-06-07