HIST250 Syllabus

ENGRG/ECE/HIST 2500, STS 2501
Technology in Society (Fall 2008)

MWF 2:30-3:20

Professor Ronald Kline
1120 Snee Hall
94 Rhodes Hall
k1@cornell.edu.
Office Hours: Wed., 1:15-2:15, or by appointment.

Required Texts

  • Thomas J. Misa, Leonardo to the Internet: Technology and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).
  • Frederick Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (1835).
  • Willa Cather, Alexander’s Bridge (1912).
  • Harold Loeb, Life in a Technocracy: What It Might Be Like (1933).
  • Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968).

 

Course Work (Percentage of Grade)

  • Four essays (20% each).
  • Weekly reading responses and participation in discussion section (20%).

 

Course Schedule

(We will hold a class discussion in 1120 Snee Hall every Friday, unless otherwise noted.)

 

  • Friday Aug. 29
    Introduction
  • Week 1      Sept. 1-5
    Movement of Technology from China to Europe; Engineering in the Renaissance
    Reading:  Misa, chaps. 1-2
  • Week 2      Sept. 8-12
    What Was the “Industrial Revolution”?
    Reading: Misa, chap. 2; Engels, “Introduction,” chaps. 1-4
  • Week 3      Sept. 15-19
    Textile Industry; Coal, Iron, and Steam
    Reading:  Misa, chap. 3; Engels, chaps. 6, 9.
  • Week 4      Sept. 22-26
    Counter Narratives: Criticizing the Industrial Revolution
    Reading:  Engels, chaps. 5, 8, 11
    Essay 1       Handout 9/19, due 9/29
  • Week 5      Sept. 29-Oct. 3
    Geographical Expansion of Industrialization
    Reading: Handout.
  • Week 6      Oct. 6-10
    Technology, Colonialism, and Imperialism
    Reading: Misa, chap. 4.
  • Oct. 11-14            Fall Break
  • Week 7      Oct. 15-17
    American Engineering in the 19th Century
    Reading: Cather, all.
    Essay 2       Handout 10/17, due 10/27
  • Week 8      Oct. 20-24
    Urbanization; Machine Age Inventors
    Reading: Misa, chaps. 5-6
  • Week 9      Oct. 27-31
    The Rise of Mass Consumption
    Reading: Loeb, chaps. 1-2.
  • Week 10      Nov. 3-7
    Government and Technology in the Great Depression
    Reading: Loeb, rest of book.
    Essay 3      Handout 11/7, due, 11/17.
  • Week 11      Nov. 10-14
    Technology in World War II and the Cold War
    Reading:  Misa, chap. 7; Dick, chaps. 1-6.
  • Week 12      Nov. 17-21
    Postwar Consumerism
    Reading: Dick, chaps. 7-13.
  • Monday      Nov. 24
    Counter Narratives: Dehumanization and Environmentalism
    Reading: Dick, chaps. 14-16.
  • Nov. 26-30            Thanksgiving Recess
  • Week 13      Dec. 1-5
    Information Technology and Globalization
    Reading:  Misa, chaps. 8-9; Dick, chaps. 17-22.
    Essay 4      Handout 12/35, due on the date of the final exam.