Take-home Essay for 2004

Technology in the Modern World TIBCG 437

Michael Kucher, University of Washington, Tacoma

One of the goals of the course has been to enable you to use a historical perspective when evauating contemporary technological issues and choices. This essay is designed to assess your ability to do so.

Find a story in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Science, Nature, Guardian, Economist, or Wired News appearing after 1 October 2004 dealing with some aspect of technological choice, gender, or the trade offs involved in following any particular technical path. Analyze the story as we would an article in class. If necessary, check the facts of the story. Identify the all players, the issues, the stakes, the nature of the choice, the potential winners and losers, and the pertinent questions that concepts from readings in Lubar, Joy, Kranzberg, the textbook of readings, or one of the books you reviewed. 

The class readings raise issues and suggest analytic methods, concepts, and precedents that would help one to put the story into historical perspective. Identify potential unintended side effects. If there are precedents in your course readings or books you reviewed for the sort of decision under discussion, identify them and make a case for how and why they are precedents. If the decision makers are different from the potential beneficiaries and "losers," say so and explain why those most affected are not themselves making the choice. Finally, you may, if you wish, speculate as to the potential consequence of the ultimate outcome of decision discussed in the article; if the decision has not yet been made, you may predict which way it will be decided and its potential impacts.

Please give a full citation of the article at the top of the first page of the essay, including author(s), title, publication, place, date, full URL and date accessed.

As always, written work must be typed, double spaced, 12 point Roman type, ragged right, etc., as per the syllabus. You have a maximum of 5 (five) pages.  Feel free to print on both sides.Sources from the course bibliography may be cited in short footnotes by author and page. Other sources will be cited in complete footnotes or endnotes using the Chicago Manual of Style.

Essays will be evaluated by the same criteria as your other written work, see the syllabus for details. 

On the last day of class you will have no more than three minutes to make your case that the story you have chosen is on of the most significant of the year.

Revised 1 December 2004
Copyright 2000-2004 Michael Kucher, Ph.D.
All Rights Reserved

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