The Geopolitics of Foreign Technologies

Europe and the Technologies of ‘Others’

In this edition of the ‘Europe and the Geopolitics of Technology’ series, experts scrutinize various urgent questions of European technology regulation. When does foreign innovation become a threat, and how do European technology regulators and publics imagine and differentiate sovereign spaces and practices of technology regulation and application? How do practices of various technology actors (private and public) produce security and sovereignty in Europe, China, Russia and beyond? And how are these spaces, digital infrastructures and practices mutually imagined, othered, and (self-)orientalized?

This event is the fourth edition of the Geopolitics of Technology Series.

European technology regulation is a dynamic process strongly influenced by how regulators and publics perceive developments in other regions of the world. For almost a century, western discourses on the technology of others have ranged from fascination to anxieties informing geopolitical decisions on how to deal with foreign technology markets.

The geopolitical imaginations of others’ technological abilities but also the (sovereign) spaces of their application in both ‘developing’ as well as leading technology markets has thus always shaped policy-making. Currently, dominant narratives such as China’s goal to become an AI superpower challenging the European market and data security, as well as Russia’s state-organized cyberspace activities abroad challenging political stability have led to a proliferation of images of a defenseless and outpaced West.

About the speakers

Nina Klimburg-Witjes is a postdoc at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna. In her work at the intersection of science and technology studies and critical security studies, she explores the role of technological innovation and knowledge practices in securitization processes. She is the recipient of the ERC Starting Grant for the project FutureSpace, which investigates how the future of space activities and European integration is envisioned today, using the Ariane rocket as a case study.

Gianluigi Negro is Associate Professor in Chinese Studies at the University of Siena. After his PhD at China Media Observatory (CMO), Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) he has been Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the School of Communication of Tsinghua and Peking Universities. He is member of Global Internet Governance Academic Network (Giga-Net) as well as the Italian Association of Chinese Studies (AISC). His researches focus on Chinese media history and the Chinese Internet governance. He is in the editorial board of Palgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies and Journal of Transcultural Communication (De Gruyter).

Gertjan Hoetjes is a lecturer in European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He holds a PhD in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter after successfully defending his thesis on digital activism and mobilisation in Kuwait and Oman. His research interests generally lie within the process of digital transformation, focusing on the implications of hyper-connectivity on state-society relations in the Middle East (and beyond) and the political economy of digital surveillance.

Franziska Plümmer is an Assistant Professor of Europe-China Relations at the Department of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her work on the Chinese border regime has been published with Amsterdam University Press in 2022. Her research interests generally lie within critical security studies with a focus on borders, mobility, and migration governance in China, East Asia, and Europe, EU technology politics, questions of (digital) sovereignty, and role of Chinese enterprises in developing ‘critical’ infrastructures in Europe.

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