Light(s) and darkness(es): Shifting Historical Relations


Light(s) and Darkness(es): Looking Back, Looking Forward

Associate Professor, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne


Associate Professor, Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University

Twitter: @SaraBPritchard

In this special issue, we argue that light(s) and darkness(es) should be understood in their multiplicity, and that they constitute two aspects of the same phenomenon. They should, therefore, be studied in relation to each other.

The Organization of Space and Time in the Quartier Mu of Malia (Crete, Bronze Age, 3200-1100 BC), in Light of Lamps

Ph.D candidate, Arscan, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

In recent decades, the development of virtual reality has allowed us to propose realistic reconstructions of lighting in Bronze Age buildings of the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean world.

The public lantern’s interplay of light and darkness: between security-based expansions, savings-based extinguishings, and the limitations of technical innovation (Paris, Barcelona, 18th C.)

PhD, Centre Alexandre Koyré, EHESS Paris

The gap between the early modern policing ideal of a homogeneous—“geometric”—perception of the urban fabric thanks to street lighting, and the persistent reality of dark areas, was particularly clear during periods of turmoil in the public order.

Contested Nightscapes: Illuminating Colonial Bombay

Department of History and European Ethnology, University of Innsbruck (Austria)

In the British Raj, colonial lighting oscillated between “Tool of Empire” and everyday technology. While the British used modern lighting to visualize power and accentuate social differences, it was also a contested object of appropriation and protest.

What is French about the “French fear of darkness”? The co-production of imagined communities of light and energy

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ

This essay takes expert assumptions about light preferences as a starting point for a historical inquiry into what I call imagined sociotechnical communities of light and energy.

Dark Futures: the loss of night in the contemporary city?

ImaginationLancaster, Lancaster University

The artificial but widely held binary conceptions of day versus night find themselves condensed in cities where strategies to recalibrate the nocturnal urban landscape are abundant. This transformation requires considerable energies and technologies to facilitate illumination.