Technology in the Modern World

Week Topic Readings Presentations Assignments Due

What is history of Technology (HOT)? 

Discussion of final projects:  follow the news

--each week:  scan the Science Times section of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The London Economist, Science, or Nature  or the BBC
Why Study History of Technology? 
Discuss goals of course, questions to pose Joy and film
write a pcis (4 sentences as per handout)* of Joy's article; Find e-reserve site, print book review instructions.  Bring them to class Thursday.
Make sure your UW email forwards to the account you really use. It is the only way I have to reach students in case of class cancellation.
Each Thursday beginning 10/6,  a one-sentence case for the technology story of the week most relevant to the  week's assigned readings, from the list of journals and papers.
10/4 The Nature of Technological Choice
how does technology change?
--Lubar's 10 Questions (at
--Joy, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" at  (Tues)
--Lerman, Oldenziel, and Mohun (hereafter LOM), "Introduction:  Interrogating Boundaries" (Thurs)
--Berry Fear  (all three essays) (Thurs)
Tues:  Discuss Lubar 's Q's & continue definition of "technology"
Thurs: discuss Berry
pcis of Joy
be prepared to discuss the "Instroduction" to LOM in class
pcis of Berry book (your synthesis of all 3 essays in one pcis)
10/11 Why does technology exist? --Continue discussion of ideas from Berry, Joy, and Lerman.
--"The Day After Trinity" film in class (if you miss the film, you must rent it or watch it in the library on your own or take a zero for the assignment) (date TBA)
Kranzberg's "Laws" (R);
discuss readings

Thursday (tentative) view "Day After Trinity" film
read Kranzberg's "Laws," then find an original example (perhaps from the news) to illustrate one of his "laws" for class discussion (Tues)
10/18 Introduction to Gender and Technology --McGaw, "Why Feminine Technologies Matter" (13-36 in LOM)
--Book Reviews Thursday (with some Tuesday, if you're ready)
discuss  readings; 
Present critical book reviews
pcis of  McGaw (Tues)
1st Critical Book Review (5 pp.) Thurs
(no news summary this week)

Laundry --Mohun (153-176 in LOM)
---Parr (329-358 in LOM) 
discuss readings pcis of Mohun (Tues)
pcis of  Parr (Thurs)
11/1 Computers
--Light (295-328 in LOM)
--Edwards (177-206 in LOM)
discuss readings pcis of  Light (Tues)
pcis of Edwards (Thurs)
11/8 Book Reviews 2
(Veterans Day no class Tuesday)
Book Reviews Thursday
present critical book reviews 2d  Critical Book Review (5 pp.) Thurs 
(no sews summary this week)
11/15  Factories
--Cooper (207-237 in LOM)
--Horowitz (267-294 in LOM)
discuss readings pcis of  Cooper (Tues)
pcis of Horowitz (Thurs)
11/22 Automobiles
--Oldenziel (37-71 in LOM)
NO CLASS  THURSDAY 10/25 (Thanksgiving)
discuss readings pcis of Oldenziel (Tues)
11//29 Electricity and Gas

--Goldstein (359-391 in LOM)
--Kline (392-424 in LOM)
discuss readings pcis of Goldstein (Tues)
pcis of Kline (Thurs)
Wrap up:  Directions for Future Research &
Present summaries of take-home essays to class
--Lerman, Oldenziel, and Mohun, "The Shoulders We Stand On" (425-450 in LOM)
news story of your choice from Wall Street Journal, New York Times, London Economist, Science, Nature, or the BBC  that best illustrates one of the course themes.
3 minute presentation pcis of Lerman, Oldenziel, and Mohun (Tues)
Analysis of news story due Thursday 12/9/04 (hard copy only)
  • LOM is the course reader, Lerman, Oldenziel, and Mohun, Gender and Technology:  A Reader (Baltimore, 2003), at Univ. Bookstore.
  • *For each day of class,  (except when book review presentations are due) you will write a "précis," (pray-SEE) for certain articles; that is, you will summarize the author's or authors' thesis, evidence, and conclusion using the modified Peterson model. A précis is NOT a response paper.  For detailed instructions, see
  • Readings will usually be discussed in the order they appear on the syllabus.  Therefore, if you cannot prepare all readings for Monday's class, get through the one or two listed first unless noted otherwise above.

  • See the course Bibliography for Technology in the Modern World at

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