CfP: Crank handles: a muscular history of industrialization (XVIIIth -XXIth centuries)

Call for papers, deadline 1 May 2020

16-17 november, Dijon, France

University of Burgundy


Coordination committee: Jean-Baptiste Fressoz (CNRS-EHESS), François Jarrige (University of Burgundy-IUF) and Anna Safronova (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).


Presentation : 


The crank handle is an apparently simple device, so simple that its historical study seems to stop when industrialization begins. The workshop aims to think about the persistence of the crank handle driven by human force, even as new energy sources overlap. To what extent did the cranks accompany the mechanization of production in the past and today? How did they shape contemporary industrialization? How did these crank techniques coexist with large industry? In what spaces and under what conditions does this cohabitation take place?


The workshop will consider the following areas of inquiry:


1: Crank handle theory in mechanics and the optimization of the device.
2: The modern crank handle as the sum of improvements and incremental innovations. 3: The plurality and quantification of the uses of the crank handle from the end of the
18th to the 21st century, in the workshops, in large and small businesses, as well as in the rural world and domestic households.
4: The discourses on the crank handle, disqualifications and reinventions. 5: The crank handle as an example of "energy symbiosis". 


The workshop will be held at the University of Burgundy, in Dijon, on 16 and 17 November 2020. It is organized in partnership between the Center of Historical Studies (CRH - EHESS), the Center George Chevrier, University of Burgundy (UB, UMR CNRS) and the Academic Institute of France (IUF). The local organizing committee covers accommodation and meals.

Organization and submission procedures

The proposals for papers (400-500 words, one-page) must include a title, an abstract and the affiliation of the author. Abstracts should be written in French or English and should be sent along with a brief CV

by May 1, 2020 at the latest to:

The response will be given to participants in June 2020. The authors will be invited to submit their paper for publication in a collective book, planned for 2021. For further information or any question, please contact Anna Safronova at anna.safronova@univ-