Introductory Seminar in the Historiography of Technology
Drs. Lakwete and Trimble
Fall 2010; History Department Seminar Room; Friday 1-3:50

Common Readings:
Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men (1990)
Wiebe Bijker, et al., The Social Construction of Technological Systems (1989)
David Hounshell, From the American System to Mass Production (1984)
Thomas P. Hughes, Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society (1983)
Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3d ed. (1996)
Joel Mokyr, The British Industrial Revolution, 2d ed. (1999)
David F. Noble, The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention (1999)
Arnold Pacey, The Maze of Ingenuity: Ideas and Idealism in the Development of Technology, 2d ed. (1992)
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 6th ed. (2009)

There are two primary objectives to this course. The first is to give the participant a basic understanding of the historiography of technology. This will prepare you for your own readings and independent research in the field and will provide enough understanding of the field to apply to future research seminars in the history of technology or for teaching courses in the subject. The second objective is to give you a knowledge of the literature that can be a starting point for the reading you will need to do for your PhD preliminary exams. These dual objectives mean that participants should be prepared to do a great deal of reading in this course.

It is important for persons taking this course to understand that it is placed at a higher conceptual level than courses they may have had at the undergraduate level. Because the course is strongly discussion-oriented, participants will have to make sure that they have done the reading before each class and they must be prepared to discuss various issues and questions raised by the material they have read. Informed participation based on knowledge of the topic is vital if you are to do well in this course. The course will require a good deal of thinking, thorough preparation, and above all, critical analysis.

Grades will be determined by the class member's performance in seminar discussions, brief written answers to questions (weekly), and a 15-20-page historiographic essay.

25% Class participation (précis, discussion)
15 % Exercises
15% Presentations
45% Historiographic essay
100% Total

Participants in the seminar should be aware that there will be strict deadlines for the coursework. There will be no incompletes given in the course. Failure to complete required portions of the course or missing deadlines will in all likelihood mean that the class member will fail the course. Participants should also note that the seminar meetings are the focal point of the course and that they should not under any circumstances miss any of the meetings.

Participation: One part of this grade is a single-page, single-spaced précis or summary of each of the books listed in this syllabus. Précis must include a clear and succinct statement of the author’s thesis, preferably in the first sentence. They are due on Thursdays by e-mail or hard copy distribution to Drs. Lakwete and Trimble and other course participants. Late submissions will be penalized by a 5% reduction in your participation grade.

The second part of this grade is based on in-class discussion. Participants must be able to explain the book’s thesis, what evidence the author uses, how the book adds to the historiography, and be able to explain the author’s arguments clearly.

Exercises: Participants should expect the seminar to begin with a brief written exercise that tests understanding of the common texts and accumulating historiography. It could consist of a series of factual or analytical questions or vocabulary quizzes. Faculty may generate the exercise or ask students to do so. Exercises may be used to generate further discussion. They will be graded and returned.

Presentations: Students will be responsible for oral presentations, each no longer than 20 minutes. In your presentation you will introduce the historiographic question to the seminar, place it in its appropriate historical and historiographic contexts. You will present your thesis and the evidence used to support it. Finally you will discuss the paper generally incorporating discussion of the assigned works used in it. You should conclude by relating how the relationship of the topic to your proposed dissertation. Be prepared to answer questions from the other seminar participants and faculty.

Historiographic essays: Participants in the course will complete 15-20-page (double-spaced) historiographic essays. The essays must include a minimum of seven books. Participants will choose the topics in consultation with the seminar faculty. Usually, one would pick a topic related to his or her dissertation topic. The topics and list of books must be chosen and approved by the end of Week 4 (Sept. 10).

Office hours: You may consult Trimble in Thach Hall 332. His hours this semester will be Tuesdays and Thursdays 1100-1200. Consult Lakwete in Thach Hall 319, Mondays, 1400-1600. Prior arrangements must be made to meet with us outside these hours.

WEEK 1 (8/20): Introduction
Introduction and Course Requirements; Introduction to Theory.
Class members should start reading Bijker et al. and Rampolla.

WEEK 2 (8/27): Theory
COMMON Wiebe Bijker, et al., The Social Construction of Technological Systems (1989)
George Basalla, The Evolution of Technology (1988)
Eugene Ferguson, Engineering and the Mind’s Eye (1993)
Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization (1934)
Nathan Rosenberg, Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics (1982)
Lynn White, Jr., Machina ex Deo (1968)

WEEK 3 (9/03): Ancient World; Traditional Peoples
Francesca Bray, Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China (1997)
Lionel Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World (1986)
Henry Hodges, Technology in the Ancient World (1970)
Edward Oschenschlager, Iraq’s Marsh Arabs in the Garden of Eden (2004)
John E. Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City (1988)

WEEK 4 (9/10): The European Middle Ages

DUE: Historiographic essays: Topics and lists of books due.

COMMON Arnold Pacey, The Maze of Ingenuity: Ideas and Idealism in the Development of Technology, 2d ed., 1992.
Jean Gimpel, The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages (1976)
Edward J. Kealy, Harvesting the Air: Windmill Pioneers in Twelfth Century England (1987)
David S. Landes, Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World (1983)
Terry S. Reynolds, Stronger than a Hundred Men: A History of the Vertical Water Wheel (1982)
Lynn White Jr., Medieval Technology and Social Change (1966)

WEEK 5 (9/17): Scientific Revolutions and the Renaissance
COMMON Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)
George Basalla, ed., The Rise of Modern Science: External or Internal Factors (1968)
Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (1983)
A. Rupert Hall, The Revolution in Science, 1500-1750 (1983)
Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (1985)
Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (1996)

WEEK 6 (9/24): The Industrial Revolution: Britain and Europe
COMMON Joel Mokyr, ed., The British Industrial Revolution: An Economic Perspective (1998)
Jeff Horn, The Path not Taken: French Industrialization (2006)
David S. Landes, Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Europe, 1750 to the Present (1969)
Beverly Lemire, Fashion’s Favourite: The Cotton Trade and the Consumer in Britain, 1600-1800 (1991)
L.T.C. Rolt, Tools for the Job: A History of Machine Tools to 1950 (1986)
E. P. Thompson, "Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism," Past & Present 38 (1967): 56-97. On Jstor.

WEEK 7 (10/01) Imperialism and Technology
COMMON Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men (1990)
Carlo M. Cipolla, Guns, Sails, and Empires: Technological Innovation and the Early Phases of European Expansion, 1400-1700 (1966)
Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (1986)
Daniel R. Headrick, Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century (1981)
Daniel R. Headrick, Tentacles of Progress: Technology Transfer in the Age of Imperialism, 1850-1940 (1988)
David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are so Rich and Some so Poor (1998)

WEEK 8 (10/08): American Technology
COMMON David Hounshell, From the American System to Mass Production (1984)
Thomas C. Cochran, Frontiers of Change: Early Industrialism in America (1981)
Ruth Schwartz Cowan, More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology (1983)
H. J. Habakkuk, American and British Technology in the Nineteenth Century (1967)
Edwin T. Layton Jr., The Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Profession (1971)
Carroll W. Pursell, The Machine in America: A Social History of Technology (1995)

WEEK 9 (10/15): Writing the Historiographic Essay
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 6th ed. (2009)
James Hansen, “Aviation History in the Wider View,” Technology and Culture 30 (July 1989): 643-59.

WEEK 10 (10/22): Urban Technologies
COMMON Thomas P. Hughes, Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1983.
Gail Cooper, Air-conditioning America: Engineers and the Controlled Environment,1900-1960 (1998)
William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (1991)
Martin V. Melosi, The Sanitary City: Urban Infrastructure in America from Colonial Times to the Present (2000)
Thomas J. Misa, A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America 1865-1925 (1995)
Arwen P. Mohun, Steam Laundries: Gender, Technology, and Work in the United States and Great Britain, 1880-1940 (1999)

WEEK 11 (10/29): Transportation and Communication
Hugh G. J. Aitken, The Continuous Wave: Technology and American Radio, 1900-1932 (1985)
Elspeth H. Brown, The Corporate Eye: Photography and the Rationalization of American Commercial Culture, 1884-1929 (2005)
John Heitmann, The Automobile and American Life (paper, 2009)
Robert Sklar, Movie-Made America: A Social History of American Movies (1975)
Steven W. Usselman, Regulating Railroad Innovation: Business, Technology, and Politics in America, 1840-1920 (2002)

WEEK 12 (11/05): Aeronautics and Space
Roger E. Bilstein, Flight in America: From the Wrights to the Astronauts (1984)
Joseph J. Corn, The Winged Gospel: America’s Romance with Aviation (1983)
Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (1985)
Eric Schatzberg, Wings of Wood, Wings of Metal: Culture and Technical Choice in American Airplane Materials, 1914-1945 (1999)
Robert Wohl, A Passion for Wings: Aviation and the Western Imagination, 1908- 1918 (1994)

WEEK 13 (11/12): Presentations
WEEK 14 (11/19): Presentations
WEEK 15 (11/26): Thanksgiving Break

WEEK 16 (12/3): War and Military Technology
COMMON David F. Noble, The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention (1992)
Donald MacKenzie, Inventing Accuracy: A Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance (1990)
William H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since AD 1000 (1982)
Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West (1988)
Michael S. Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon (1987)
Martin Van Creveld, Technology and War, From 2000BC to the Present (1989)