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History of Technology

Purpose of Course  showclose

This course provides an introduction to the history of technology for the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) major. The course surveys major technological developments from ancient to modern times with particular attention to social, political, and cultural contexts in Europe and the United States. You will also think critically about the theory of technological determinism, the ways in which technology has defined “progress” and “civilization”, and the major ethical considerations surrounding today’s technological decisions.

This course begins with discussions of the promotion of technology in centralized states of the ancient and medieval worlds: the Roman Empire, Song and Ming China, and the Islamic Abbasid Empire. After a period of relative decline, the states of Western Europe centralized and flourished once again, having benefited from the westward transmission of key ideas and technologies from the East.

The focus of the course then shifts to the West, to the technologies of the Renaissance in Italy, industrialization, imperialism, and World War I. Unbounded faith in technology, which was characteristic of the 19th century, suffered a severe blow after two industrial world wars. Today, many nations that are interested in technological solutions to social, medical, and military problems also value a healthy environment and respect human and civil rights.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to STS203. Below, please find general information on the course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Warren Dym, Ph.D.
 
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes significant use of the following materials:
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. You will also need to complete assessments for each unit and the Final Exam.
 
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the resources and assessments in each unit of the course.
 
In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
 
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 127 hours to complete. Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit and then set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take 8.5 hours to complete. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 and subunit 1.2.1 (a total of 4.5 hours) on Monday night; subunits 1.2.2 through 1.2.4 (a total of 4 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.
 
Tips/Suggestions: As you work through the resources in this course, take comprehensive notes. These notes will serve as useful review as you study for the Final Exam.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • explain technological determinism with a concrete example;
  • define and identify a primary source;
  • explain Aristotle’s philosophy of technology;
  • identify and explain major Roman technologies;
  • identify and explain technologies developed in China or by the Mongols;
  • compare and contrast male and female work in the medieval West;
  • explain the social and political importance of the medieval plow and stirrup;
  • compare and contrast Romanesque and Gothic Cathedrals;
  • identify and explain major technological developments of the Renaissance movement;
  • identify and explain major technologies of exploration;
  • explain the theory of the Military Revolution;
  • define the Scientific Revolution;
  • define Mechanical Philosophy;
  • summarize main events of the Industrial Revolution;
  • explain Watt’s steam engine;
  • explain the social and gender implications of the factory system;
  • compare and contrast American and European industrialization;
  • identify and explain major technologies of imperialism;
  • define the Second Industrial Revolution;
  • compare and contrast major technologies of WWI and WWII;
  • define and explain socio-technical systems;
  • explain Taylor’s Scientific Management;
  • explain the ideological significance of Cold War technologies;
  • define feminist and environmental perspectives on technology;
  • identify pros and cons of natural gas and nuclear power; and
  • identify ethical issues raised by modern medical technology.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband Internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash);

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (e.g. .doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    be competent in the English language; and

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Unit Outline show close


Expand All Resources Collapse All Resources
  • Unit 1: The Ancient World  

    The popular statement “all roads lead to Rome” recalls a time when Rome controlled vast lands and peoples surrounding the entire Mediterranean. During that period, the Romans had the engineering wherewithal and slave labor to pave an enormous road system around the capital city. If the ancient Greeks were most famous for their science and philosophy, then the Romans were masters of technology. Remnants of their feats – the road system, irrigation systems, and large structures like the Pantheon – are still visible today. Most of these relate back to the imperial centuries, approximately between 27BC at the end of the Republic and 476AD when the first Germanic king of Rome became ruler. Roman history exemplifies how massive centralized states promoted technological advancement in the pre-modern world yet separated theoretical and scientific studies from technology and craft knowledge. This split between science and technology endured until the applied sciences of the 19th century (Unit 7), although some argue it continued to the present day (Unit 9).
     
    In this unit, you will learn how Greek philosophers distinguished theory (episteme) from hands-on craft knowledge (techne), a social and intellectual distinction with long-term implications in Western history. You will then study the Roman Empire through its material forms including water engineering, mining, and construction. Much of this engineering legacy was lost to the West after the decline of the Empire but recovered during the Renaissance Movement (Unit 4) and Scientific Revolution (Unit 5).

    Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 Greek Philosophy: Episteme and Techne  
    • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Richard Parry’s “Episteme and Techne”

      Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Richard Parry’s “Episteme and Techne” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the introduction and sections on Aristotle and Plotinus. This reading will introduce you to how ancient philosophers distinguished “theory” and “practice.” Note how Plotinus upheld theoretical knowledge (episteme) above the practical (techne) to an extent beyond Aristotle’s formulation. Theoretical knowledge would have higher status than craft knowledge in the medieval West (Unit 3).
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2 Roman Engineering  
  • 1.2.1 Hydraulic Systems and Aqueducts  
  • 1.2.2 Concrete and Roads  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 1.2.1. In particular, focus on the “Roman Concrete” and “Roads and Highways” sections.

    • Reading: HistoryToday: Logan Thompson’s “Roman Roads”

      Link: HistoryToday: Logan Thompson’s “Roman Roads” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the entire article for a closer look at the massive road system that united the Empire. Pay close attention to the military and economic significance of this engineering feat.  
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.3 The Pantheon  
    • Lecture: The Open University Podcasts: Imperial Rome and Ostia: “The Pantheon Temple”

      Link: The Open University Podcasts: Imperial Rome and Ostia: “The Pantheon Temple” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and then scroll down to find “The Pantheon Temple.” Watch this short film on the Pantheon. You may also click on the PDF icon to download a transcript of the podcast. Pay special attention to the creative use of concrete in the Pantheon’s construction. The building still stands in Rome and was an inspiration for the Panthéon in Paris, Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, and numerous other structures around the world.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.4 Mining  
    • Reading: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Lynn Cohen Duncan’s “Roman Deep-Vein Mining”

      Link: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Lynn Cohen Duncan’s “Roman Deep-Vein Mining” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this webpage on Roman mining. Pay particular attention to the challenges of mining, such as ventilation and drainage. These are problems that course through the history of technology to the present day.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: New York University: Chris Rorres’s “Archimedes Screw”

      Link: New York University: Chris Rorres’s “Archimedes Screw” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the entire webpage, which addresses an ancient method of water drainage. Renaissance engineers would recover this information in the 15th century (Unit 4), and no less a name than Galileo would study Archimedes in the 17th century (Unit 5).
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 1 Assessment  
  • Unit 2: Eastern Transmissions  

    The Chinese printed with movable type well before Gutenberg’s press (1450) and embarked on voyages of discovery well before Columbus (1492). It is important to recover the global story behind major technological developments such as these and to avoid heroic narratives that simplistically attribute inventions to popularized individuals. Indeed, multiple individuals working independently may claim the very same invention – e.g. both Leibniz and Newton contended for calculus.
     
    The decline of the Roman Empire in the West (Unit 1) meant that city life and its structures fell into disrepair. The Christian world, which was more strongly rooted in agriculture and spirituality than the Roman world, showed less interest in Greco-Roman mathematics and philosophy (“pagan” learning). It was rather the Arabic world, including the Abbasid Dynasty, which preserved this intellectual and engineering tradition. When Latin-speaking Christian authors began reconsidering the pagan legacy (Unit 3), they often found that the teachings had been translated into Arabic.
     
    This unit introduces the technological achievements of ancient and medieval China and discusses how the westward Mongol expansion transferred Chinese technologies to Europe. You will then examine the Arabic preservation of Greco-Roman ideas, particularly in the disciplines of mathematics and alchemy. The link between centralized state authority and technological advancement, which we witnessed in the previous unit, is clear again in Chinese and Arabic history. These Eastern influences became foundations for Western science and technology in centuries to come.

    Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 Chinese and Mongol Technology  
  • 2.1.1 China and the West  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ China and Europe: “China’s Gifts to the West”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ China and Europe: “China's Gifts to the West” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and find the PDF file link at the lower-left corner of the webpage. Click on the link to access the PDF file, and then scroll down to read the following sections: “China’s Gifts to the West: Introduction,” “Paper,” “Printing,” “Gunpowder,” and “Conclusion.” Pay special attention to how paper entered the West, to Chinese print technology, and to how China and the West may have applied gunpowder in different ways.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.  
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.1.2 Exploration and Trade  
  • 2.1.3 Mongol Technology  
  • 2.2 Abbasid Dynasty  
  • 2.2.1 Translation Movement  
  • 2.2.2 Mathematics  

    Note: This topic is covered by the resource assigned below subunit 2.2.1. Pay attention to the Arabic innovations in mathematics

  • 2.2.3 The Astrolabe  
    • Web Media: TED Talks: “Tom Wujec Demos the 13th-century Astrolabe”

      Link: TED Talks: “Tom Wujec Demos the 13th-century Astrolabe” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and watch Wujec’s short explanation of the thirteenth-century astrolabe and the major steps in using an astrolabe to tell time. The instrument was also essential for navigational purposes. You may also select your preferred language from the drop down menu to view the transcript.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
                           
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.4 Alchemy  
  • Unit 2 Assessment  
  • Unit 3: The Not-So-Dark Ages  

    Scholars of the Renaissance Movement were the first to describe their medieval predecessors as living in a “dark age” of cultural impoverishment. These humanists believed that Christian theologians had neglected much Greco-Roman (pagan) learning and privileged impractical disciplines like theology and logic. But this was a harsh judgment, considering their interest in Roman law, the technological interests of monks, and innovative Cathedral building of the late medieval period. Indeed, a veritable agricultural revolution was underway in the North. Horses and plows boosted production, and the population boom that ensued was only checked by the onset of the Great Plague in 1348. In this unit, you will see that the medieval period was anything but dark – what defined the gothic Cathedral better than light?
     
    This unit will challenge the popular conception that the medieval West was a “dark” age. You will explore the agricultural innovations behind the feudal social structure, women’s work, Cathedral building, and the general rebound in Western Civilization, which occurred during the height of Roman Catholic power in Europe. 

    Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 Technology on the Manor  
  • 3.1.1 Manorialism  
  • 3.1.2 Plowing and Weaving  
    • Reading: San Jose State University: Patricia Backer’s Technology in the Middle Ages: “Part 2: Medieval Technology”

      Link: San Jose State University: Patricia Backer’s Technology in the Middle Ages“Part 2: Medieval Technology” (HTML) 
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, scroll down to Part 2, and read “Agricultural Tools,” “The Harnessing of Time,” and “Weaving and the Textile Industry.” Feel free to explore any embedded links. Again, notice the important social contexts and implications of new technologies: the population boom that followed new agricultural tools, changes in work patterns related to the clock, and the guild structure surrounding textiles.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.1.3 The Stirrup Controversy  
    • Reading: Engines of Our Ingenuity: John H. Lienhard’s “Stirrups”

      Link: Engines of Our Ingenuity: John H. Lienhard’s “Stirrups” (HTML or M3U)
       
      Instructions: Technological determinism is the theory – now mostly discredited – that technologies shape human history by making particular developments inevitable. For example, some have argued that the introduction of the stirrup in European history was the cause of the feudal social structure. Read this short account of the most popular expression of the theory, that of historian Lynn White. Note that you may also click on the link available on the webpage to listen to the episode. The reading below will take issue with this theory.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take about 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: CLIO Journal: John Hood’s “Significance of the Stirrup in Medieval Warfare”

      Link: CLIO Journal: John Hood’s “Significance of the Stirrup in Medieval Warfare” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the entire essay. The essay discusses the shortcomings of Lynn White’s stirrup thesis and offers an alternative theory for the importance of mounted cavalry in medieval warfare. Based on what you have learned from this reading, write a brief explanation of why White’s theory is weak.
       
      Reading, note-taking, and writing the explanation should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2 Guilds and Women’s Work  
  • 3.2.1 The Guild  
    • Reading: SUNY Oneonta: Art History Department’s “Medieval Guilds and Craft Production”

      Link: SUNY Oneonta: Art History Department’s “Medieval Guilds and Craft Production” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, read this account of the guild, and take notes on its economic functions. Also, note the role that women had in the workshop. Cennini’s The Craftsman Handbook, the source at the bottom of the webpage, shows how craft skill was becoming something more than a lowly enterprise in the Renaissance and in some ways akin to the liberal arts (Unit 4). Historians distinguish between primary and secondary sources. Secondary sources are the articles, textbooks, and other more contemporary writings generated by historians themselves about events of the past. A primary source dates to a specific historical moment, such as an ancient Roman legal code, the correspondence between a medieval King and his advisors, a schoolbook of the nineteenth century, or even an anonymous diary of the early twentieth century. Cennini’s The Craftsman Handbook is a primary source. As you read this piece, think about what makes this a primary source and why they are more challenging to read than secondary sources.
       
      Reading and note-taking, and considering the reading as a primary source should take approximately 3 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2.2 Women’s Work  
    • Reading: Mary Czarnecki’s “Working Women in the Middle Ages”

      Link: Mary Czarnecki’s “Working Women in the Middle Ages” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and scroll down to read the section “Urban Working Women.” This provides a more focused look at women’s work and how it compared to men’s work during the Middle Ages. Also, notice how the guild structure served to lower the status of women in society.

      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.3 Gothic Architecture  
  • 3.3.1 The Gothic Style  
    • Reading: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Julien Chapuis’s “Gothic Art”

      Link: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Julien Chapuis’s “Gothic Art” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this introduction to Gothic architecture. Pay close attention to the engineering challenges behind this development and the role of Saint-Denis Church near Paris. Be sure to study all the images (click on “View Slideshow” at the top of the webpage), taking notes especially on the Saint-Denis and Notre Dame Cathedrals. You may click on the thumbnails of the images in the slideshow for more information on each artifact.
       
      Reading, viewing the images, and note-taking should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.3.2 Romanesque versus Gothic  
  • Unit 3 Assessment  
  • Unit 4: Renaissance Technology  

    The Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci once designed movable barricades to help protect the city of Venice and planned to literally move the Arno River. Da Vinci was one of the greatest engineers of all time. It was the Renaissance that made a fine art out of lowly crafts such as painting and machine building, which were previously confined to the workshop and pursued by anonymous craftsmen. Prior to Da Vinci’s day, few scholars would have dirtied their hands with painting, mining, masonry, and applied mathematics like machine building or surveying. However, as northern Italian princes consolidated power and larger states across Europe – Spain, France, England – centralized, scholars at the service of the state increasingly offered technological solutions to their patrons’ military and natural resource problems.
     
    This unit studies the Renaissance period (roughly the 15th-16th centuries) because of its significance in the history of technology. You will be introduced to the Gutenberg press and its role in spreading technological knowledge, as well as the impressive engineering feats of the leading architects who recovered Greco-Roman traditions. Even more, this unit discusses early gunpowder technologies in the West, such as the use of muskets and cannons. Only the largest, most centralized states could adopt these new technologies on a grand scale, whether on the battlefield or on voyages of discovery. While completing this unit, think critically about the extent to which print and gunpowder technologies determined cultural and political developments and also about the ways cultural and political conditions, by contrast, steered technological developments.   

    Unit 4 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 4 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 4.1 The Status of Art  
  • 4.1.1 Art versus Craft  
  • 4.1.2 Da Vinci  
    • Web Media: YouTube: Khan Academy’s Smart History: Dr. David Drogin’s “Leonardo Da Vinci”

      Link: Khan Academy’s Smart History: Dr. David Drogin’s “Leonardo Da Vinci” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and listen to this short lecture on Da Vinci. Pay particular attention to the importance of engineering plans in his professional development. Also, read the biography of his life on this webpage, noting how Leonardo’s career demonstrates the changing status of the artist.
       
      Watching this video, pausing to take notes, and reading the biography should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.2 Architecture  
  • 4.2.1 Renaissance Style  
  • 4.2.2 Florence Cathedral  
    • Web Media: YouTube: Kenney Mencher’s “Brunelleschi and Florence Cathedral”

      Link: YouTube: Kenney Mencher’s “Brunelleschi and Florence Cathedral” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and view the entire lecture. The Florence Cathedral has a Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance history. The distinctively Renaissance component is the massive dome (Duomo) on top. This was one of the greatest engineering feats of its time. The artist-engineer was Felipe Brunelleschi, and this short lecture explains how he found inspiration in the Pantheon (Unit 1) and imagined novel technical solutions for this monumental challenge.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use  displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.3 Printing Press  
  • 4.3.1 Print and the Renaissance  
  • 4.3.2 Gutenberg  
  • 4.4 Shipbuilding and Exploration  
  • 4.4.1 Shipbuilding  
    • Reading: Aluismodi Cultural Association’s Dialogue between Cultures: Arturo Faraone’s “The Arsenale of Venice”

      Link: Aluismodi Cultural Association’s Dialogue between Cultures: Arturo Faraone’s “The Arsenale of Venice” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this selection on the Arsenale, paying attention to its high level of organization and division of labor. Be sure to enjoy the images in the photo gallery. Many famous explorers were Italian (e.g. Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, and Amerigo Vespucci), and the Venice Republic monopolized Europe’s long-distance trade with Asia before Spain and Portugal’s “Age of Discovery.” The Arsenale was the Republic’s shipbuilding proto-factory.  
       
      Reading, viewing the images, and note-taking should take approximately 2 hours.  
                                                 
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Texas A&M University: George R. Schwartz’s “Caravel History”

      Link: Texas A&M University: George R. Schwartz’s “Caravel History” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this page on the major ship of Portuguese and Spanish exploration – the caravel. What were the major advantages of this design at sea?
       
      Reading, note-taking, and answering the question above should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.4.2 The Voyages  
  • 4.4.3 The Columbian Exchange  
    • Reading: National Humanities Center: Alfred Crosby’s “The Columbian Exchange”

      Link: National Humanities Center: Alfred Crosby’s “The Columbian Exchange” (HTML)

      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this essay on how the Age of Discovery linked the Old and New Worlds, forever changing the biological and cultural history of both. Prepare two lists: one of important plants, animals, and diseases that were native to the New World; and one of plants, animals, and diseases that were native to the Old World. Be sure to find the “continued” link at the bottom of page 1. You may stop after reading page 2.

      Reading and note-taking should take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.5 Military Revolution  
  • 4.5.1 The Theory  
    • Reading: University of Wisconsin, Madison: J.P. Sommerville’s “The Military Revolution”

      Link: University of Wisconsin, Madison: J.P. Sommerville’s “The Military Revolution” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the entire text. Be sure to click on the hand icon at the end of each webpage to read all three sections on the Military Revolution. Another example of technological determinism is the theory that changes in warfare – especially tactics and the spread of gunpowder technologies like muskets and cannons – led to massive state centralization throughout Europe. This reading presents evidence for this theory, tying new technology to political development. After reading, take some time to construct a definition of the Military Revolution. The reading below in subunit 4.5.2 will provide a necessary correction to this theory.

      Reading, note-taking, and defining the Military Revolution should take approximately 3 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.5.2 Revisions  
  • Unit 4 Assessment  
  • Unit 5: New Science and Industrialization  

    Historians typically present the Scientific Revolution (sixteenth through seventeenth centuries) as a major theoretical achievement, and present the Industrial Revolution (late 18th and early 19th centuries) as primarily a technological accomplishment. In actuality, contributors to the Scientific Revolution like Galileo and Robert Boyle worked hard to spread interest in craft knowledge; leaders of the Industrial Revolution, such as James Watt, were served well by their knowledge of mechanical theory.  
     
    This unit continues our analysis of craft knowledge by showing how Galileo, a mathematician and instrument-maker, struggled to find higher status for these ‘hands-on’ activities. Others of the Scientific Revolution also sought to undermine the ancient distinction between scholars and craftsmen. You will then turn to the Industrial Revolution in England, focusing on the replacement of muscle power with machines in the cotton industry, the spread of steam power, and the spike in iron production. This complex of technological change would impact mainland Europe and beyond, promoting an industrial society that became characteristic of the 19th century Western world and beyond. The United States provides a useful case of the adoption of industrial methods and appropriation into new forms. One example was a new system of production in the U.S.: interchangeable parts.

    Unit 5 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 5 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 5.1 Scientific Revolution  
  • 5.1.1 New Science and Mathematics  
  • 5.1.2 Jesuit Mathematicians  
  • 5.1.3 Instruments and Experimentation  
  • 5.1.3.1 The Pump  
    • Reading: The Galileo Project: Albert van Helden’s “The Pump”

      Link: The Galileo Project: Albert van Helden’s “The Pump” (HTML)
                                                 
      Instructions: Read this piece on Galileo’s work for the Republic of Venice. Once again, we see the importance of the Arsenale (see subunit 4.4.1) and Galileo’s desire to find practical application for his labors.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.   
                                                 
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.1.3.2 The Pendulum  
    • Reading: The Galileo Project: Albert van Helden’s “Pendulum Clock”

      Link: The Galileo Project: Albert van Helden’s “Pendulum Clock” (HTML)
                                                 
      Instructions: Read this piece on Galileo’s late work on pendulums and their application in clock making. Pay attention to how Galileo contradicted Aristotelian physics.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
                           
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.1.3.3 The Telescope  
    • Reading: The Galileo Project: Albert van Helden’s “The Telescope”

      Link: The Galileo Project: Albert van Helden’s “The Telescope” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this page on the history of the telescope. Notice its origins among craftsmen and how leading members of the Scientific Revolution improved the performance of the instrument (for example, Hevelius and Newton). Pay close attention to Galileo’s discoveries with a telescope of 1609.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.1.4 The Laws of Motion  
  • 5.2 Industrial Revolution  
  • 5.2.1 Defining the Revolution  
  • 5.2.2 Steam Engine  
    • Reading: Michigan State University: Carl Lira’s “Brief History of the Steam Engine”

      Link: Michigan State University: Carl Lira’s “Brief History of the Steam Engine” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Engine technology is a major theme in the remainder of this course. Click on the link above, and read this overview of the steam engine, paying close attention to the work of Savery, Newcomen, and Watt. Notice that drainage of mines was the immediate problem (see also subunit 1.1.3). Variations of this design soon powered locomotive trains, mine pumps, printing presses, and factory machines.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.2.3 The Stream Press  
    • Reading: The Magazinist: Peter Hutchinson’s “The Expansion of Printing”

      Link: The Magazinist: Peter Hutchinson’s “The Expansion of Printing” (HTML)
                                     
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and scroll down to “Part Two: The Expansion of Printing” under Chapter Three. Click on the link to access the PDF file. Read the sections “Printing” and “Paper.” Take notes on the major developments in steam-powered print and the reasons why paper-making boomed after the Civil War in America.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take about 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.2.4 Iron and Steel  
  • 5.2.5 Industrial Society  
    • Reading: Larry E. Gates’ Advanced Placement World History: “The Industrial Revolution”

      Link: Larry E. Gates’ Advanced Placement World History: “The Industrial Revolution” (HTML)
                                                 
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the entire webpage, which addresses the profound social changes associated with rapid industrialization. This reading covers the topics outlined in subunits 5.2.5.1–5.2.5.5. Take notes on all four topics. 
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 3 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.2.5.1 Factories and the Working Class  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 5.2.5. In particular, pay attention to the section after the heading “The Factory System.”

  • 5.2.5.2 Urbanization  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 5.2.5. In particular, focus on the section after the heading “Industrial Society.”

  • 5.2.5.3 Women and Children  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 5.2.5. In particular, focus on the section after the heading “Industrial Society.”

  • 5.2.5.4 Spread of Industrial Society  

    Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 5.2.5. Focus on the text after the heading “Industrialization’s Global Effects.”

  • 5.2.5.5 Critics of Industrialization  

    Note: This topic is also covered by the reading assigned below subunit 5.2.5. Focus on the section after the heading “Socialism.”

  • 5.3 The United States  
  • 5.3.1 Early Industrialization  
    • Reading: University of Houston’s Digital History: “Roots of American Economic Growth”

      Link: University of Houston’s Digital History: “Roots of American Economic Growth” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Open the link above, and scroll down to find the heading, “Roots of American Economic Growth.” Click on and read the following links listed beneath the heading: “Resistance to Technological Innovation,” “The Introduction of the Factory System,” “Early Industrialization,” and “Accelerating Transportation.” These readings introduce the American experience of industrialization, from early resistance to all things European to wholesale adoption of the Industrial Revolution. Be thinking about how American industrialization compared to the British example.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 3 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.3.2 Interchangeable Parts – the American System  
    • Reading: History.com’s “Interchangeable Parts”

      Link: History.com’s “Interchangeable Parts” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this short account of Eli Whitney’s process of interchangeable parts in manufacturing. First implemented in armories, the basic insight would revolutionize manufacturing in America, anticipating Ford’s assembly line and forever changing factory organization and work.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 5 Assessment  
  • Unit 6: Technology and Imperialism  

    The 19th century is often referred to as the Age of Progress because of the many benefits derived from industrial production. However, it is necessary to think more critically about the notion of progress as being intimately tied to imperialism and contemporary theories of civilization. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, industrializing nations competed for natural resources and labor across the globe. Sentiments of nationalism, social Darwinism, and racial science drove the competition. Technology was at the center of this civilizing mission, both as the means through which imperial nations pacified subject populations and how they measured civilization itself. They ranked civilizations according to relative levels of science and technology on an imagined hierarchy of development, in which white Europeans usually appeared on top.
     
    This unit will complicate your understanding of progress and civilization in Western history. It will illustrate how cutting-edge industrial technologies like telegraphy, steamboats, trains, and machine guns served imperial interests. We will focus especially on Britain in India and Africa, and American expansion westward and into the Pacific.

    Unit 6 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 6 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 6.1 Social Evolution Theory and Imperialism  
  • 6.1.1 Anthropological Theories  
    • Reading: University of Alabama’s Department of Anthropology: Heather Long and Kelly Chakov’s “Social Evolutionism”

      Link: University of Alabama’s Department of Anthropology: Heather Long and Kelly Chakov’s “Social Evolutionism” (HTML)
                           
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the “Basic Premises” and “Points of Reaction” sections. Early anthropologists ranked the peoples of the world and introduced terms such as “savage” and “civilization” that contemporary imperialists easily co-opted. Notice how central technological developments were to Lewis Henry Morgan’s theory in particular, and study his three stages of evolution.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.1.2 The “White Man’s Burden”  
    • Activity: Annenberg Foundation’s America’s History in the Making: “The White Man’s Burden”

      Link: Annenberg Foundation’s America’s History in the Making: “The White Man's Burden” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and study this advertisement by the Pear’s Soap Company (1899). Take notes on how the company represented its product as a gift of civilization. Imposing progressive technologies on foreign peoples became a major goal (and rationalization) for imperial nations.
       
      Studying the image and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.2 Technology of Imperialism  
  • 6.2.1 Industrialization and Imperialism  
  • 6.2.2 The Tools of Empire  
  • 6.3 Technology of American Imperialism  
  • 6.3.1 John Gast’s Painting, American Progress (1872)  
  • 6.3.2 The Transcontinental Railroad  
  • 6.3.3 The Panama Canal  
    • Web Media: YouTube: nnickoo's “History of Panama Canal Construction, 1934”

      Link: YouTube: nnickoo's “History of Panama Canal Construction, 1934” (YouTube)
                           
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and view the entire video. This short retrospective video on the Panama Canal from 1934 focuses on the engineering feat itself and exhibits the same patriotic pride that would have attended construction (1904-1914) under Theodore Roosevelt. Notice the massive steam-powered shovels. 

      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS’s “Interview: Walter LaFeber, Historian”

      Link: PBS’s “Interview: Walter LaFeber, Historian” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this page for an introduction to the political context of the building of the Panama Canal. Pay close attention to the Monroe Doctrine, President Roosevelt’s interests in the Pacific, US relations with Columbia, and Panama’s independence from Columbia.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.3.4 Gunboat Diplomacy in Japan  
    • Reading: MIT: John W. Dower’s “Black Ships and Samurai”

      Link: MIT: John W. Dower’s “Black Ships and Samurai” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the entire webpage. In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States sailed to Japan on steam-powered warships to force the secluded country to trade with the United States. The reading focuses on observations and depictions of the ships themselves – known to the Japanese as “black ships” due to the billowing black smoke of the coal-fired steam engines.  
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 6 Assessment  
  • Unit 7: Second Industrial Revolution  

    The first Industrial Revolution in Britain centered on cotton, steam, and iron production (Unit 5). Nations that were turning to industrialization in the 19th century, such as Germany, the United States, Japan, and Russia, followed the British example. However, by the turn of the 20th century, a new model of technological development eventually rendered the British model obsolete. This new model was the so-called Second Industrial Revolution, which was driven by steel, petroleum, electricity, and chemical production.
     
    In this unit, you will learn about the defining features of the Second Industrial Revolution, the industrial application of scientific research, the first socio-technical systems – a handy way to refer to networks of humans, machines, and institutions such as the telephone or car industries  and the electrification of the household, which was a revolution that particularly affected women. Rather than isolating one or another invention from this period – for example, the light bulb or internal combustion engine – you will look at the rich social and cultural contexts of industry innovations.

    Unit 7 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 7 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 7.1 Defining the Second Industrial Revolution  
    • Reading: Northwestern University: Joel Mokyr’s “The Second Industrial Revolution, 1870-1914”

      Link: Northwestern University: Joel Mokyr’s “The Second Industrial Revolution, 1870-1914” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, scroll down to the title, and open the PDF link for “The Second Industrial Revolution, 1870-1914.” Read and take notes on the following sections: “Introduction,” “Steel,” “Chemicals,” “Electricity,” and “Transportation.” Pay close attention to such developments as the Bessemer process, fertilizers, the production of rubber, electric generators, and the Internal Combustion Engine. Note that some of the material in the reading pertains to subunit 7.5 below.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: “Tables Illustrating the Spread of Industrialization”

      Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: “Tables Illustrating the Spread of Industrialization” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and study these charts and graphs for a comparative look at industrialization in the decades leading up to WWI. Among other suggestive points of comparison, note India’s dramatic drop in manufacturing or de-industrialization (due to the British takeover), Germany’s spectacular rise, as well as Russia’s late but significant development.
       
      Study of these tables and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.2 Petroleum  
    • Reading: History.com’s “Oil Industry”

      Link: History.com’s “Oil Industry” (HTML)
                           
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this history of the petroleum industry. Pay close attention to the Standard Oil Company, the 1911 Supreme Court decision, and role of both world wars in defining the industry.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.3 The Case of Germany  
  • 7.4 Applied Science  
  • 7.5 Socio-Technical Systems  
  • 7.5.1 Defining Socio-Technical Systems  
  • 7.5.2 The Telephone System  
    • Reading: Frederique Krupa’s “The Evolution of the Telephone System”

      Link: Frederique Krupa’s “The Evolution of the Telephone System” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this account of the system that developed around the technical invention of the telephone. Pay close attention to the social acceptance of telephony, the switching system and operators (mostly women), and the major companies involved. You may stop at “Technological Innovation.”
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.5.3 The Automotive System  
    • Reading: Virginia Tech: William Shields’ “Theory and Practice in the Study of Technological Systems”

      Link: Virginia Tech: William Shields’ “Theory and Practice in the Study of Technological Systems” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and click on the link at the bottom of this page to open the PDF file. Read “The Automobile as an Open-Closed Technological System” on pages 71-90 of the PDF. This reading provides a comprehensive account of the automotive technological system that surrounds the central technology: the internal combustion engine (ICE). Pay close attention to all the social and cultural factors that shape this system and the important debate as to why the system favored the ICE above steam-powered and electric motors.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 4 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.6 Electrification of the Household  
  • 7.7 Scientific Management  
  • Unit 7 Assessment  
  • Unit 8: World War and Superpowers  

    Since your introduction to the Scientific Revolution (Unit 5), you have witnessed a powerful synthesis of industrialization, nationalism, social Darwinism, and imperialism. In this unit, you will learn about the two world wars that marked the end of unbounded faith in these developments and the beginning of a more critical approach to technological progress.
     
    This unit presents World War I as a showcase of cutting-edge technologies and applied sciences of the period – metallurgical, chemical, and medical. It explains the profound cultural consequences of this war and how disenchantment in technological progress fueled anti-Western sentiment in Russia, which contributed to the Soviet takeover. In addition, you will learn about the dangerous competition between the United States and the Soviet Union that followed World War II. This period had great implications for the history of technology, especially in nuclear weaponry and space exploration. Also in this unit, you will take a close look at World War II technologies such as the atomic bomb, which in turn sparked the Cold War.

    Unit 8 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 8 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 8.1 The Great War  
  • 8.1.1 Lesson Lost: Monitor vs. Virginia  
  • 8.1.2 Industry, Technology, and War  
  • 8.1.3 Heroism Dead: Shell Shock  
  • 8.2 Soviet Industrialization  
    • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: “Joseph Stalin: Industrialization of the Country, 1928”

      Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook“Joseph Stalin: Industrialization of the Country, 1928” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the brief primary reading from Stalin on the subject of industrialization. Notice how he recognizes the industrial might of his enemies, especially Germany. Stalin explains the need for a planned top-down economic boost – his Five Year Plan.
       
      Studying this reading should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

    • Reading: Russian History Blog: Asif Siddiqi’s “The Sharashka Phenomenon”

      Link: Russian History Blog: Asif Siddiqi’s “The Sharashka Phenomenon” (HTML)
                           
      Instructions: Read this account of the highly ambiguous position that scientists and engineers occupied in Stalinist Russia. One the one hand, Stalin labeled educated professionals as “bourgeois” and elitist and imprisoned thousands of them under fabricated pretenses; on the other hand, he wished to industrialize and militarize the nation, forcing many scientists and engineers to work in labor camps (Gulags).
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.3 World War II  
  • 8.3.1 The Military-Industrial-University Complex  
    • Reading: President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Farewell Address, 1961”

      Link: President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Farewell Address, 1961” (HTML)
                           
      Instructions: Read this transcript of President Eisenhower’s farewell address, which discusses the union between industry and the military that had formed during WWII. Pay close attention to section IV, in which he warns against military interests having too strong an influence over university research. He certainly had the Manhattan Project in mind.  
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.3.2 The Manhattan Project  
  • 8.4 The Cold War  
  • 8.4.1 Aeronautics and the Space Race  
  • 8.4.2 The Nuclear Stockpile  
  • 8.4.3 The “Kitchen Debate” (Khrushchev/Nixon)  
    • Web Media: YouTube: AmpexDataSystems’ “The Kitchen Debate, Part II”

      Link: YouTube: AmpexDataSystems’ “The Kitchen Debate, Part II” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and view this entire video. In 1959, President Nixon and Premier Khrushchev met in Moscow to discuss the industrial accomplishments of their respective nations, including kitchen and household appliances. In the exchange, notice the tension between these two men, and how communications technology had political and ideological significance.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 8 Assessment  
  • Unit 9: Challenges and Reflections  

    As industrialization continues to spread throughout the Middle East and Asia, our terminology may shift to refer to the North/South hemispheric split rather than the East/West division. The most important technological developments today have global reach; consider computers and the Internet. The more tentative union of science and technology that emerged in the 19th century is now a tighter amalgam that some call technoscience. Technoscience refers to experimentation that requires massive technological infrastructure, such as scientific research conducted in space. Notwithstanding these advancements, criticism of technological progress has become more organized and professional, especially in the fields of biotech, nuclear power, energy, and environmental studies.
     
    This unit provides a snapshot of technology in the present day, paying particular attention to energy, medicine, and computers. Complex socio-technical systems (networks of humans, machines, and institutions) are quite obvious in these fields. These topics also underscore how certain technologies have become global matters today that raise ethical and philosophical questions concerning the environment, human and civil rights, and humanity in general. Science and Technology Studies (STS) offers new perspectives on technology, such as feminist approaches and Actor-Network Theory.

    Unit 9 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 9 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 9.1 Energy and the Environment  
  • 9.1.1 The Historical Context  
    • Reading: San Diego State University’s World History for Us All: “Environmental Change: The Great Acceleration, 1900-1950”

      Link: San Diego State University’s World History for Us All: “Environmental Change: The Great Acceleration, 1900-1950” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, scroll down to the bottom of the webpage to locate the title (“Environmental Change: The Great Acceleration”), and click on the “Complete Teaching Unit PDF Format” link to download the PDF. Read “The Historical Context” (pages 3-7), and study the charts and graphs for “Using Charts and Graphs as Evidence of Environmental Change” (pages 11-28). Pay close attention to the technology changes involved and major trends in energy use. For example, notice China’s massive recent turn to coal, Saudi Arabia’s importance in oil production, the Soviet Union (and Russian Republic’s) stake in natural gas, and how dominant a prime mover the internal combustion engine has become.
       
      Reading, studying the charts and graphs, and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.1.2 Fossil Fuels and Greenhouse Gasses  
    • Web Media: TED Talks: T. Boone Pickens’s “Let’s Transform Energy – with Natural Gas”

      Link: TED Talks: T. Boone Pickens’s “Let's Transform Energy – with Natural Gas”  (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and watch this talk by energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, who argues that natural gas is the most viable alternative to coal in America. Be sure to listen to the question/response at the end. Take notes on the major arguments for natural gas. You may also read along with the transcript by clicking on the transcript drop down menu and choosing your preferred language.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.1.3 Nuclear Energy  
    • Web Media: TED Talks: “Debate: Does the World Need Nuclear Energy?”

      Link: TED Talks: “Debate: Does the World Need Nuclear Energy?” (Flash)
       
      Instruction: Click on the link above, and view this debate on nuclear energy. Take notes on the major arguments for both sides. You may also read along with the transcript by clicking on the transcript drop down menu and choosing your preferred language.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: World Nuclear Association’s “Three Mile Island Accident” and “Chernobyl”

      Link: World Nuclear Association’s “Three Mile Island Accident” and “Chernobyl” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read these two detailed accounts of nuclear reactor meltdowns (one in the United States in 1979 and one in the Soviet Union in 1986) by an organization generally favorable to nuclear power. You do not need to remember the technical details behind these disasters, but focus on the importance of the cooling systems, the health and environmental concerns surrounding radioactive exposure, and changes in the industry as a result of these experiences. The Fukushima disaster in Japan (2011) is another stark reminder of the dangers of nuclear power generation.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 3 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.2 Medical Technologies  
  • 9.2.1 Medical Technology in Context  
    • Reading: Colorado State University: Michael A. De Miranda’s “Medical Technology Teaching Primer”

      Link: Colorado State University: Michael A. De Miranda’s “Medical Technology Teaching Primer” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, locate the link at lower right titled “Download Free Teacher Content Primer,” and select the link to open the PDF file. First, study the graphic on page xi for a good look at the socio-technical system surrounding these technologies, and then read Section 1 that follows (pages 1-19). Pay close attention to advances of the 20th century, ethical concerns, social impacts, and the diffusion and transfer of medical technology.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 3 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.2.2 Biomedical Engineering  
    • Web Media: TED Talks: “Paul Root Wolpe: It’s Time to Question Bioengineering”

      Link: TED Talks: “Paul Root Wolpe: It's Time to Question Bioengineering” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and view the entire video. Wolpe discusses controversial bioengineering projects such as cloning and robotic insects and animals. As you view this video, think about which (if any) projects you find morally objectionable, and why. You may also read along with the transcript by clicking on the transcript drop down menu and choosing your preferred language.
       
      Viewing the video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.3 Technoscience  
  • 9.3.1 Particle Accelerators  
    • Web Media: YouTube: TED Talks: “Brian Cox on CERN’s Supercollider”

      Link: TED Talks: “Brian Cox on CERN's Supercollider” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and watch the entire video. Physicist Brian Cox at CERN discusses the Large Hadron Collider, in search for the Higgs Boson – discovered in 2012. Notice the size of the Collider and how the research would contribute to the Standard Model.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.3.2 Jet Propulsion Lab  
    • Web Media: TED Talks: “Charles Elachi on the Mars Rover”

      Link: TED Talks: “Charles Elachi on the Mars Rover” (MP4)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and view the entire video. The Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab explains the Mars Rover and other projects. Pay close attention to the unforeseen challenges of conducting research on Mars, and what about the planet holds most interest to the scientific community. The latest Rover (Curiosity) landed successfully on Mars on August 6, 2012. You may read along with the transcript by selecting the transcript in your preferred language from the drop down menu.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.3.3 Space Shuttle Disaster  
    • Web Media: YouTube: CNN’s “Challenger Disaster”

      Link: YouTube: CNN’s “Challenger Disaster” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Note that this resource contains graphic material. Watching this video is optional. On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during liftoff, killing all astronauts on board. What was the cause of this engineering disaster? In the reading below, you will see that the answer was not as simple as one might think.
       
      Watching this video should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: NASA’s “Report of the Presidential Committee on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident

      Link: NASA’s “Report of the Presidential Committee on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read Chapters 4-6. Notice that a technical problem concerning the O-rings was the major cause of the accident, but the report entertains the decision-making process between management and engineers, workplace pressures, and the history of the O-ring issue – matters we might label “structural” or “organizational” rather than technical. The disaster becomes a case-study in the “socio-technical system” (subunit 7.3.1) that surrounded the space shuttle.
       
      Reading and note taking should take approximately 2 hours.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.4 Computers and the Internet  
  • 9.4.1 History of Computing  
    • Reading: The Open University: Mike Richard’s “The Birth of Modern Computing”

      Link: The Open University: Mike Richard’s “The Birth of Modern Computing” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this short account of the history of computing. Pay particular attention to Conrad Zuse and the context of World War II.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
                                                 
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Internet Society: Leiner et al.’s “Brief History of the Internet”

      Link: Internet Society: Leiner et al.’s “Brief History of the Internet” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: This reading is a detailed history of the Internet from the 1960s to the present day. The authors are some of the computer engineers who were themselves participants in that history. In particular, focus on the following sections: “Introduction,” “Origins of the Internet,” “Formation of the Broad Community,” and “History of the Future.” You do not need to remember the technical details of this history, but note the role of the US Department of Defense (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA) and other major institutions, organizations, and universities. Also, take note of the coining of the word ‘Internet.’
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.4.2 Cyberspace  
  • 9.4.2.1 Social Media and Politics  
    • Web Media: TED Talks: “Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History”

      Link: TED Talks: “Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History” (MP4)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and watch this talk on social media in the U.S. and abroad. Pay attention to what is most unique about contemporary media technology by comparison to prior communications breakthroughs. Also, note the political influence that media technology is having in China and the United States. You may read the transcript as you watch the video by selecting your preferred language to view the transcript from the drop down menu.
       
      Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.  
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.4.2.2 Cyber Threats and National Security  
    • Reading: Council on Foreign Relations: Jonathan Masters’ “Confronting the Cyber Threat”

      Link: Council on Foreign Relations: Jonathan Masters’ “Confronting the Cyber Threat” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Council on Foreign Relations is an American think tank that advances U.S. national interests. Click on the link above, and read this article for an introduction to the major issues in cybersecurity today and the efforts by the U.S. government to contain the threat. Pay close attention to the various kinds of cyber threats, the major nations involved, and most recent U.S. Cybersecurity Policy under President Obama.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.4.2.3 Cybercrime and Privacy  
    • Web Media: TED Talks: “Mikko Hypponen: Three Types of Online Attack”

      Link: TED Talks: “Mikko Hypponen: Three Types of Online Attack” (MP4)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and view this video on the means through which individuals, corporations, and governments acquire information from computer users without their consent. Take notes on the three types of online attack, paying special attention to how governments infringe on the privacy of their citizens.
       
      Watching this video and note-taking should take about 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.5 Rethinking Technology and Society  
  • 9.5.1 Feminist Technology Studies  
  • 9.5.2 Actor-Network Theory  
    • Reading: Ritske Dankert’s “Using Actor Network Theory (ANT) Doing Research”

      Link: Ritske Dankert’s “Using Actor-Network Theory (ANT) Doing Research” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: In prior units, we have used the concept of socio-technical system to explain technology in society (subunit 7.5). Now, we will introduce a more recent theory, developed especially by philosopher Bruno Latour. His Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is one way to avoid the twin extremes of technological determinism (see subunit 3.1.3) and social constructivism, or the notion that social forces drive all technological changes. Latour does not believe that technologies and other “non-human actors” are fundamentally distinct from humans and society. As you will see in this reading, a “network” unites human and non-human actors. Click on the link above to access this introduction to ANT. You should leave the reading with a basic idea of what ANT is, based on concrete examples.
       
      Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.5.3 Technological Futurism  
  • Unit 9 Assessment  
  • Final Exam  

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