Technology and Society

History 182A

Spring 2014
102 Wurster
Day & Time: 
MW 4-530P
  • A complete description is forthcoming. Please check back.
  • How do technology and society interact? What drives technological change? How does technology transfer across different cultures? These and other related questions are examined using historical case studies of productive, military, domestic, information, and biomedical technologies. We shall discuss the evolution of artifacts and technological systems such as industrial machinery, weapons, microwaves, computers, and contraceptives. The aim of the course is for you to learn about how technology affects social change and, especially, how technological change is invariably shaped by historical and social circumstances. At the end of the course you will be able to think historically about technology, and thus engage effectively with questions of technological change -- or lack thereof. The course draws approaches and materials from both history and science. Throughout, however, we emphasize historical development. The ideas and artifacts of technology are not timeless, and they did not drop from the sky. A main course goal is to practice thinking historically; assignments and examinations call on those skills. The course is aimed at students of all majors; no scientific knowledge is presupposed. Running parallel to History 182A is History 182T, intended for students interested in teaching elementary or secondary school science and math. Students in the "T" course will attend the regular 182A lectures and a special section; this section will focus on techniques, skills, and perspectives necessary to apply the history of science in the juvenile and adolescent science classroom, including pedagogy, devising lesson plans for their classrooms, finding reliable historical information, and writing. History 182T satisfies a requirement for the Cal Teach minor and counts toward a State of California teaching credential. If you are interested in History 182T, please contact the instructor during the first week of class.

Course Books

The Social Shaping of Technology by MacKenzie, Donald Mc Graw Hill Education. ISBN: 978-0335199136 Required