“On the Frontier of the Empire of Chance”

Arwen Mohun, “On the Frontier of The Empire of Chance: Statistics, Accidents, and Risk in Industrializing America.” Science in Context 3 (2005): 337-357. In “On the Frontier of The Empire of Chance,” author Arwen Mohun examines the rise in statistics and probabilistic thinking in the American vernacular context from the late nineteenth through the early … More “On the Frontier of the Empire of Chance”

Engineers of Happyland

Engineers of Happyland, Rudolf Mrázek          Rudolf Mrázek’s work, clothed in the language of a history of technology, was in fact not a history of technology at all. Instead, Mrázek artfully uses technology to discuss his real interest — nationalism and modernity in the colonial setting. Through the lenses of the ways that people make and … More Engineers of Happyland

“(Auto)mobility, Accidents, and Danger”

  “(Auto)mobility, Accidents, and Danger,” Technology and Culture             The format of this issue is different in that it starts out with the presentation of a simplistic framework proposed by Peter Norton, and the articles that follow employ that framework and the questions it urges, showing how it does and does not fit into much more … More “(Auto)mobility, Accidents, and Danger”

“Shifting Gears”

  “Shifting Gears,” Technology and Culture          Unsophisticated logic and a lack of in-depth thinking about technological advancement leads to the belief — held by many, I’ve learned in my brief tenure as Dr. Heyck’s teaching assistant — that decisions about what technologies will be adopted are based on that technology’s efficiency, the improvement it offers, … More “Shifting Gears”

The People’s Car

The People’s Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle, Bernhard Rieger          As someone quite illiterate insofar as the history of technology is concerned, I thought this book did an excellent job of elucidating through example just how ingrained in a society’s beliefs, prejudices, and self-perceptions technologies are, and equally important, how easily the same … More The People’s Car

Technology and Gender

Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China, Francesca Bray             Making use of a broad definition of technology — “an action performed on some form of inanimate or animate matter, designed to produce an object with human meaning … [as] exercised in its social context”[1] — author Francesca Bay analyzes the ways in … More Technology and Gender