History of Science, Technology, Media and Information
Changes in technology and information are a central driving force of historical change. This cluster will bring together historical research in these areas and facilitate communication between historians of science and historians of the cultural elements that science and technology directly affect. Members study the discovery and development of technologies, technological dissemination, and the application and impact of technology in many contexts, including social, economic, political, environmental, military, artistic and medical. Information and media are intimately tied to technology, since, from the development of writing to the internet, technology has repeatedly transformed how information is recorded, preserved, disseminated and used, with widespread and often revolutionary consequences. Areas of interest include business and industrial technology, transportation and exploration, technological and geographic frontiers, energy technology, military technology, industrialization, technology and the environment, communications, the history of the book, the print revolution, popular culture media, the computer and information revolutions, attempts to control information and technology, the commercialization of technology, and the role of science and information historical change. Faculty examine all time periods, and all regions of Earth and beyond but emphasize the connections between technology and business and with the environment,
Courses which likely have a strong focus on Science, Technology, Media and Information
232. History of American Sea Power
320. History of the Atlantic World
324. European Society in the Industrial Age
320. Renaissance and Reformation
359. American Environmental History
360. History of the American Petroleum Industry
361. Technology and Engineering in Western Civilization, 1400–Present
362. History of Science
363. History of Science in America
364. History of Technology and Engineering in America, 1607–Present
420. European Intellectual History from the Enlightenment to 1900
421. European Intellectual History in the Twentieth Century
446. Aerospace History
626. American Cultural and Intellectual History
634. Maritime History and Sea Power
666. History of Technology
Thomas Dunlap has written five monographs and about 20 articles on the ways science has affected our understanding of and reactions to nature since the early nineteenth century. These deal principally with the United States and with wildlife, but Nature and the English Diaspora analyzed nature knowledge and meanings of nature in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand as well, and Faith in Nature, a study of American environmentalism as a secular religion, dealt with the translation of knowledge from science into ultimate commitments.
Jonathan Coopersmith emphasizes that technology cannot be viewed simply in a national context, but must be understood in a larger international context in his teaching and research. His previous research on Russian electrification demonstrated the important role of technological and cultural transfer between Germany and Russia as well as the uniquely Soviet path followed in the early 20th century. His research on the history of the fax machine weaves a Möbius strip of a tale from Europe to the United States and Japan, blending invention, innovation, changing concepts of information, and the daunting challenges of commercial development.
Harold Livesay (PhD Johns Hopkins, 1970) has done extensive research and consulting on the development of manufacturing, its changes with new technologies, commercialization of technologies, and American businessmen. He has written a biography of Andrew Carnegie and a study of American manufacturers widely used in the classroom and scholarly material on merchants and manufacturers, and done extensive consulting for companies here and abroad on technologies and commercialization.
Ada Palmer is a cultural and intellectual historian focusing on the long-durée evolution of ideas and mentalities. She specializes in the early modern period, particularly the Italian Renaissance and Humanist reception of classical philosophy, but she also works on ancient, medieval and modern intellectual history. Her research interests include the inheritance of classical scientific theories in the Renaissance, interactions between Christianity and science in Medieval and early modern Europe, and the close relationship between heterodox science and heresy, atheism, skepticism and freethought in the pre-modern world.
Anthony Stranges teaches the history of science, especially chemistry and chemical engineering. He has published books on the history of coal-to-oil conversion, its development and impact, and another on Farrington Daniels’ work on alternative energy. He is currently completing a broader history of science in America. One of his recent projects is the Fischer-Tropsch Archive, which provides an extensive collection of documents on the history and development of synthetic fuels around the world, for use by historians, and by scientists continuing research on fuel synthesis.