For class (and the readings summary/analyses): History, energy, complexity, gender, politics, scale . . . the plot, thickened

For readings reflection paper:

(you should have completed readings and at the least a rough draft of this paper by class time (Feb 22; you can access the readings files in Canvas).

  • Arnold Pacey. 1990. Technology in World Civilization. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (chapter 1, ‘An age of Asian technology’). (A corrective for those who might have thought the West invented everything important).
  • William Catton. 1986. Homo collossus and the technological turn-around. Sociological Spectrum 6:121-47 (Catton was employing the concept of ecological footprint before it was coined).
  • James Lanchester. 2017. The case against civilization. Sept 18, New Yorker Magazine. (some recent books are reviewed, one arguing that the relationship between civilized societies and material living standards are not as clear cut as we might imagine)
  • Thomas Hughes. 1989. American Genesis: A Century of Technological Innovation and Enthusiasm, 1870-1970. NY: Viking (chapter 5, ‘The system must be first’). (Hughes has a thoughtful discussion of ‘sociotechnical systems.’ Don’t be intimidated by the chapter length–lots of full-page pictures)
  • Kenneth Jackson. 1989. The baby boom and the age of the subdivision. Pp 146-61 in Technology and Society in Twentieth Century America. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. (another historically significant era, post-petroleum–think here of the energy and resource consequences of low-density residential patterns)
  • Ruth Schwartz Cowan. 1989. Less work for mother? Pp 329-39 in Albert Teich (ed), Technology and the Future (6th edition). NY: St. Martin’s Press. (Did all of those modern appliances liberate the suburban housewife?)
  • Charles Perrow. 1984. Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies. NY: Basic Books (chapter 3, ‘Complexity, coupling and catastrophe‘). (Perrow was on a team studying the Three-Mile Island accident, and expanded to write about a series of complex sociotechnical systems)
  • E.F. Schumacher. 1973. Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. NY: Harper Colophon (chapter 12, ‘Social and economic problems calling for the development of intermediate technology‘). (Schumacher coined the term ‘appropriate technology,’ and argued that high-technology was becoming a dehumanizing and nature-wrecking force)
  • M.J. Peterson. 2008. “Appropriate Technology.” International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Engineering (August). (A useful summary of appropriate technology as a concept and how it can be applied)

For the final term project: