Personalbild von Karsten Uhl

PD Dr. Karsten Uhl

History of Technology

DFG-Project "Challenges of computerization: the example of the printing unions"


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Work Landwehrstr. 50a
64293 Darmstadt

PD Dr. Karsten Uhl researches on "Computerisation as a challenge to the trade union movement: the example of the printing industry" (DFG project)

Since 2019

Researcher, Technical University of Darmstadt, Institute of History


Interim professor for the history of technology, Technical University of Darmstadt


Researcher, Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg (Germany)


Senior lecturer, Technical University of Darmstadt, Institute of History


Habilitation (post-doctoral lecture qualification) at Technical University of Darmstadt, venia legendi for modern and contemporary history

Habilitation thesis on the spatial order of the factory, 1900-1970


Researcher, Technical University of Darmstadt, Institute of History

2003-2006: Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial, Nordhausen


Postgraduate programme in museum studies, University of Oldenburg


PhD at the University of Munich, (Department of History), thesis on crime, gender and punishment in criminological discourse, 1800-1945.


Doctoral fellow of the DFG (German Research Council).


MA in history at the University of Hamburg

Please consult the German version of this web-page.

Challenges of computerization: The example of the printing unions

This project deals with technological, social, and cultural transformations in the printing industry during the 1970s and 1980s. It is crucial to focus on this societal context for investigating the trade union crisis of this period. The printing union serves as a good example because its strong negotiating position rested on a robust union participation rate amongst its highly skilled workers. The project will investigate the period from the 1950s to the 1980s, a time period during which the printing industry moved from a basis of skilled craftsmanship into industrial printing. The main focus will be on the invention of computer technology during the 1970s and 1980s; the increasing use of Desktop Publishing since 1985 then marks the final stages of computerization in the printing industry so far.

Completed projects

The history of the factory

Gender, space and technology in the factory. The “rational” design of industrial workplaces in Germany 1900-1970.

The project showed how rationalization and humanization of industrial work formed the core of 'rational' design of the factory at the beginning of the 20th century. Consequently, the usual periodization of the “end to the Fordist mode of production” in the mid-1970s must be called into question. The post-Fordist practices of labor, which researchers generally tended to locate after that time, can already be identified as elements of rationalization debates and practices in the period between WWI and WWII.

The project was carried out in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Mikael Hård at the Technical University of Darmstadt from 2008 to 2012 and funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG. In 2014, project team member Karsten Uhl published its main results in his professorial dissertation.

Please consult the German version of this web-page.