Seminar: Histories of Surveillance

This semester’s first seminar will be “Histories of Surveillance: From the Antiquity to the Digital Era”. It will be held on 31 January 2022, 13.15–15.00 (CET).

The point of departure of this seminar is the new book Histories of Surveillance: From the Antiquity to the Digital Era. The Eyes and Ears of Power (Routledge Studies in Modern History), edited by Andreas Marklund and Laura Skouvig, whose aim is to discuss surveillance as an object of historical inquiry.

The book

The book deploys empirical studies spanning from early Imperial China to the present day, and the authors explore the history of surveillance with special attention to the mechanisms of power that impel the concept of surveillance in society. By delving into a broad range of historical periods and contexts, the book sheds new light on surveillance as a societal phenomenon revolving around two main questions:

• Who are the central actors in the history of surveillance?

• What kinds of phenomena have been deemed eligible for surveillance, for example, information flows, political movements, border-crossing trade, interacting with foreign states, workplace relations, gender relations, and sexuality?

The seminar

The seminar consists of several parts:

Andreas Marklund (10 minutes): Surveillance as an object of historical inquiry

Laura Skouvig (10 minutes): Intersections between surveillance, information and the history of knowledge

Toni Weller (20 minutes): The historical ubiquity of surveillance.

A Zoom break followed by discussion. We will have app. 60 minutes for discussion and questions.

The participants

Dr. Toni Weller: Visiting Research Fellow in History at De Montford University (England). Her research focuses upon the field of information history with a focus on society and culture in 19th century Britain. She has also published and lectures extensively on the history of surveillance.

Dr. Andreas Marklund: Senior Research Fellow at ENIGMA – Museum of Communication in Copenhagen. He has specialized in Nordic cultural and political history from 1700 onwards with a special attention towards the fields of surveillance, modern communications and infrastructures.

Dr. Laura Skouvig: Associate Professor at University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses upon information as a historical phenomenon in 18th and 19th centuries Denmark with an interest in police surveillance. She draws on information history as also the history of knowledge.

Please contact to receive a Zoom link.


Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s