Seminar: Histories of surveillance

Date: 14th October 2021 14.00-15.30 CEST

This seminar is dedicated to surveillance. David Lyon, prominent scholar of surveillance studies, has over the years argued that all societies relying on communication and information technologies for administrative and control processes are surveillance societies. Yet, the English historian, Edward Higgs warns against a superficial equation between gathering of information and surveillance historically. In the new book: Histories of surveillance from Antiquity to the Digital Era. The Eyes and Ears of Power edited by Andreas Marklund and Laura Skouvig historians from different parts of the world examine how differently surveillance regimes have relied on information, have produced information and dreamt of accessing information. The authors, in short, explore surveillance in different periods and cultures. The seminar is turned into a book launch where some of the authors present their chapters and discuss some of the questions crossing the chapters of the book.

The book launch takes place on Thursday 14th October 14.00-15.30 (2-3.30 PM) CEST (Copenhagen time). This allows us to span the time zones from East Coast USA to Australia.


14.00-14.15: Welcome and introduction to the book by Laura Skouvig, UCPH

14.15-14.20: Big data in early China: population surveillance in the early Chines empires by Rebecca Robinson, Hong Kong Baptist university

14.20-14.25: “Consciences are not to bee forced, but to bee Wonne”: the inward turn in Elizabethan homiletic discourse and the legal debate over the ex officio oath in the Court of High Commission, 1570-1593 by Anni Haahr Henriksen, PRIVACY, UCPH.

14.25-14.30: Convict Surveillance and reform in theory and practice. Jeremy Bentham vs New South Wales by Matt Allen, University of New England.

14.30-14.35: Securing the state: the First World War and the birth of the modern surveillance state in Scandinavia by Nik Brandal (Björknes University College), Eirik Brazier (University of Southeast Norway) and Ola Teige (Volda University College).

14.35-14.40: Citizen informants, glitches in the system, and the limits of collaboration: Eastern experiences in the Cold War Era by Carol Anne Costabile-Heming (University of North Texas), Valentina Glajar (University of Texas State University) and Alison Lewis (University of Melbourne).

14.40-14.45: A VERY SHORT BREAK

14.45-15.10: Panel discussion moderated by Andreas Marklund (ENIGMA)

15.10-15.20: Discussion and questions from the audience.

Registration: Send an email to and you will receive a Zoom-link + Zoom guidelines prior to the 14th Oct. Do circulate the program – but please do not circulate the zoom link.

Photo by Ahmet Demiroğlu on Unsplash

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