Readings

Books Recommended for Purchase

Amazon logo DeLillo, Don. White Noise. New York, NY: Penguin, 1999. ISBN: 9780140283303.

Amazon logo Hersey, John. Hiroshima. New York, NY: Vintage, 1989. ISBN: 9780679721031.

Amazon logo Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. New York, NY: Penguin Classics, 1998. ISBN: 9780140436679.

Amazon logo Jewett, Sarah Orne. Country of the Pointed Firs. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2005. ISBN: 9781593082628.

Amazon logo Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. 2nd Norton Critical Edition. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2001. ISBN: 9780393972832.

Amazon logo McKibben, Bill. The End of Nature. New York, NY: Random House, 2006. ISBN: 9780812976083.

Amazon logo [S&C] = Smith, Merritt Roe, and Gregory Clancey, eds. Major Problems in the History of American Technology. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997. ISBN: 9780669354720.

Note: some of the cited readings are also linked to alternate free online versions.

LEC # TOPICS READINGS
1

What is technology?

The history of technology - the concept, the word

Aims of the course

In-class reading: excerpt from Don DeLillo, White Noise, pp. 124-129

Discussion: What do we mean by technology? (PDF)

Ancillary reading

Amazon logo Scharff, Robert, and Val Dusek, eds. "The Historical Background," and "Defining Technology." Part I and III in Philosophy of Technology: The Technological Condition - An Anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003, pp. ix-xi, 1-60, and 206-244. ISBN: 9780631222194. (Preview this book in Google Books.)

  • Introduction.
  • Plato. "On Dialectic and 'Techne'" (from the Republic).
  • Artistotle. "On 'Techne' and 'Episteme'" (from Nichomachean Ethics).
  • Bacon, Francis. "On the Idols, the Scientific Study of Nature, and the Reformation of Education." (Compiled from various sources).
  • Kline, Stephen J. "What is Technology?"
  • Gehlen, Arnold. "A Philosophical-Anthropological Perspective on Technology."
  • Pinch, Trevor J., and Wiebe E. Bijker. "The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts."
  • Winner, Langdon. "Social Constructivism: Opening the Black Box and Finding it Empty."

Schatzberg, Eric. "Technik Comes to America: Changing Meanings of Technology before 1930." Technology and Culture 47, no. 3 (2006): 486-512.

2 Technology in America today

DeLillo, Don. White Noise.

[S&C] "What is Technology?" pp. 1-25.

Marx, Leo. "Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept." Social Research 64, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 965-88.

Ancillary reading

Heilbroner, Robert. "Do Machines Make History?" Technology and Culture 8, no. 3 (July 1967): 335-345.

Kateb, George. "Technology and Philosophy." Social Research 64, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 1225-1246.

3 The enlightenment

Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia.

Jefferson, Thomas, and Alexanderr Hamilton. "Debate over Manufactures." In [S&C], pp. 103-142.

Ancillary reading

In Scharff and Dusek, eds., pp. 38-65:

Amazon logo Whitehead, A. N. Science and the Modern World. New York, NY: Free Press, 1997, pp. 1-18 and 57-94, chapters 1 and 3-5. ISBN: 9780684836393.

4 Industrialization: A trans-atlantic debate

[S&C] "Inside Factory Systems." pp. 144-157.

Carlyle, Thomas. "Signs of the Times."

Walker, Timothy. "Defence of Mechanical Philosophy." North American Review 33, no. 1 (1831).

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "The Young American."

Ancillary reading

Thoreau, Henry David. "Sounds." Chapter IV in Walden.

Peckham, Morse. "Toward a Theory of Romanticism." PMLA 66, no. 2 (March 1951): 5-23.

Amazon logo Williams, Raymond. "Carlyle," "The Industrial Novels," and "Marxism and Culture." In Culture and Society: 1780-1950. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1983. ISBN: 9780231057011.

Amazon logo In The Marx-Engels Reader. Edited by R. C. Tucker. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 1978. ISBN: 9780393090406.

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto.

———. "Capitalism and the Modern Labor Process." In Scharff and Dusek, pp. 66-79.

5 Technological dynamism

Amazon logo Adams, Henry. The Education of Henry Adams. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999, chapters 1-3, 22, 25, 33, and 34. ISBN: 9780192823694. (Download a version from Project Gutenberg.)

Ancillary reading

Amazon logo Arnold, Matthew. "Introduction," and "Conclusion." Chapters 1-3 in Culture and Anarchy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN: 9780521377966. (Download a version from Project Gutenberg.)

Amazon logo Trachtenberg, Alan. "Mechanization Takes Command." Chapter 2 in The Incorporation of America (selections). New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 2007, pp. 38-69. ISBN: 9780809058280.

Amazon logo Williams, Raymond. "Introduction," and "J. H. Newman and Matthew Arnold." In Culture and Society: 1780-1950. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1983. ISBN: 9780231057011.

Williams, Rosalind. "Afterword" to Castell's The Network Society: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (2004).

6 An epic of technological fatality (I)

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick, chapters 1-40.

Putnam, John B. "Whaling and Whalecraft: A Pictorial Account." In Moby-Dick, 2nd Norton Critical Edition, pp. 447-454; followed by contemporary engravings, pp. 455-464.

7 An epic of technological fatality (II)

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick, chapters 41-96.

———. "Hawthorne and His Mosses." In Moby-Dick, 2nd Norton Critical Edition, pp. 517-532.

8 An epic of technological fatality (III)

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick, chapter 97 – Epilogue.

Melville's letters at the time of Moby-Dick. In Moby-Dick, 2nd Norton Critical Edition, pp. 532-548.

9 The lost America

Jewett, S. O. The Country of the Pointed Firs.

Marx, Leo. "The Idea of Nature in America." Daedalus 137, no. 2 (Spring 2008): 8-21.

McKibben, Bill. "The Challenge to Environmentalism." Daedalus 137, no. 2 (Spring 2008): 5-7.

Ritvo, Harriet. "Beasts in the Jungle (or wherever)." Daedalus 137, no. 2 (Spring 2008): 22-30.

Kevles, Daniel J. "The Contested Earth: Science, Equity and the Environment." Daedalus 137, no. 2 (Spring 2008): 80-95.

10 Ecological crisis (I)

Hersey, John. Hiroshima.

Marx, Leo. "The Idea of Nature in America." Daedelus 137, no. 2 (Spring 2008): 8-21.

Amazon logo Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. 25th anniversary ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987, pp. 1-100. ISBN: 9780395453902.

Ancillary reading

White, Lynn. "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis." Science 155, no. 3767 (March 10, 1967): 1203-1207.

Marx, Leo. "American Institutions and Ecological Ideals." Science 170 (November 27, 1970): 945-952.

11 Ecological crisis (II)

McKibben, Bill. The End of Nature.

Ancillary reading

Amazon logo Cronon, William, ed. "The Trouble with Wilderness." In Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995, pp. 69-90. ISBN: 9780393038729.

McKibben, Bill. "Walking Through an Idea." Appalachia (Winter/Spring 2008): 32-36. [An excerpt from Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America's Most Hopeful Landscape: Vermont's Champlain Valley and New York's Adirondacks. Crown, 2005.]

12

Student presentations

Final paper and oral reports