STS.462 | Spring 2006 | Graduate

Social and Political Implications of Technology


This page presents the assigned readings per class session, followed by bibliography with complete citations for all works.

Assigned Readings



Discussion of Leo Marx’s paper. “Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept.”

Smith and Clancey. pp. xiii-xv and 1-25.


Mumford. Technics and Civilization. pp. 3-106.

Mumford Article

Lapartito. “Historian in the Rose Garden.”


E. P. Thompson Article

Gutman Article

Smith and Clancey. pp. 144-190.


Cronon. Nature’s Metropolis. (Complete)

Smith and Clancey. pp. 191-233.

5 Reading period (class does not meet)

Aitken. Taylorism. (Complete)

Smith and Clancey. pp. 267-354.

7 Fritzsche. Nation of Fliers. (Complete)

Nye. Electrifying America. (Complete)

Smith and Clancey. pp. 233-66 and 355-82.


Cowan Articles

McGaw Article

Lapartito. “When Women Were Switches.”


Russell. War and Nature. (Complete)

Smith and Clancey, pp. 383-426.

11 Reading period (class does not meet)

MacKenzie. Inventing Accuracy. (Complete)

Smith and Clancey. pp. 427-70.

13 Reading period (class does not meet)
14 Maines. Asbestos and Fire. (Complete)



Smith, Merritt Roe, and Gregory Clancey, eds. Major Problems in the History of American Technology. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997. ISBN: 9780669354720.

Mumford, Lewis. Technics and Civilization. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1963. ISBN: 9780156882545.

Cronon, W. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West . New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992. ISBN: 9780393308730.

Aitken, H. G. J. Scientific Management in Action: Taylorism at the Watertown Arsenal, 1908-1915. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985. ISBN: 9780691042411.

Fritzsche, Peter. A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994. ISBN: 9780674601222.

Buy at MIT Press Nye, David. Electrifying America. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992. ISBN: 9780262640305.

Russell, Edmund. War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780521799379.

Buy at MIT Press MacKenzie, Donald. Inventing Accuracy: An Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993. ISBN: 9780262631471.

Maines, Rachel. Asbestos and Fire: Technological Tradeoffs and the Body at Risk. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780813535753.

Articles and Book Chapters

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

Mumford, Lewis. “Authoritarian and Democratic Technics.” Technology and Culture 5 (Winter 1964): 1-8.

Lipartito, Kenneth. “The Historian in the Rose Garden.” Technology and Culture 41 (July 2000): 537-48.

———. “When Women Were Switches: Technology, Work, and Gender in the Telephone Industry, 1890-1920.” American Historical Review 99 (October 1994): 1074-1111.

Thompson, Edward P. “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism.” Past and Present 38 (1967): 56-97. [Also reprinted in Thompson’s book, Customs in Common (1992).]

Gutman, Herbert. “Work, Culture, and Society in Industrializing America, 1815-1919.” American Historical Review 78, no. 3 (June 1973): 531-88. [Also reprinted in Gutman’s book, Work, Culture, and Society (1976).]

Cowan, Ruth S. “The ‘Industrial Revolution’ in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the 20th century.” Technology and Culture 17, no. 1 (January 1976): 1-24.

Buy at MIT Press ———. “The Consumption Junction.” In The Social Construction of Technological Systems. Edited by Wiebe Bijker, Thomas Hughes, and Trevor Pinch. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987. ISBN: 9780262022620.

McGaw, Judith A. “No Passive Victims, No Separate Spheres: A Feminist Perspective on Technology’s History.” In In Context: History and the History of Technology. Edited by Stephen H. Cutcliffe and Robert C. Post. Cranbury, NJ: Lehigh University Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780934223034.

Noble, David F. “Social Choice in Machine Design.” In Case Studies on the Labor Process. Edited by Andrew Zimbalist. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press, 1981. ISBN: 9780853455196.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2006
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples