A Companion to American Technology / Edition 1

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A Companion to American Technology is a groundbreaking collection of original essays that analyze the hard-to-define phenomenon of “technology” in America.

  • 22 original essays by expert scholars cover the most important features of American technology, including developments in automobiles, television, and computing
  • Analyzes the ways in which technologies are organized, such as in the engineering profession, government, medicine and agriculture
  • Includes discussions of how technologies interact with race, gender, class, and other organizing structures in American society
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"These essays serve the purpose of establishing a base of information for the reader to better understand the process of technology, how it is defined, and how it can be traced throughout the history of the nation ... An excellent collection."
Journal of Southern History

"The very breadth of the subject matter and analytical techniques in these contributions is extremely impressive. A stimulating collection."

"Highly recommended."

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Carroll Pursell is Adeline Barry Davee Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Case Western Reserve University, and Adjunct professor of Modern History at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of White Heat: People and Technology (1994) and The Machine in America: A Social History of Technology (2nd edition, 2007), and the editor of Technology in America: A History of Individuals and Ideas (2nd edition, 1990) and American Technology (Blackwell, 2000).

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors vii

Introduction 1
Carroll Pursell


1 Technology in Colonial North America 9
Robert B. Gordon

2 The American Industrial Revolution 31
James C. Williams


3 The Technology of Production 55
Carroll Pursell

4 Technology and Agriculture in Twentieth-Century America 69
Deborah Fitzgerald

5 House and Home 83
Gail Cooper

6 The City and Technology 97
Joel A. Tarr

7 Technology and the Environment 113
Betsy Mendelsohn

8 Government and Technology 132
Carroll Pursell

9 Medicine and Technology 156
James M. Edmonson


10 The North American “Body–Machine” Complex 179
Chris Hables Gray

11 Gender and Technology 199
Rebecca Herzig

12 Labor and Technology 212
Arwen P. Mohun


13 The Automotive Transportation System: Cars and Highways in Twentieth-Century America 233
Bruce E. Seely

14 Airplanes 255
Roger E. Bilstein

15 Technology in Space 275
Roger D. Launius

16 Nuclear Technology 298
M. Joshua Silverman

17 Television 321
Douglas Gomery

18 Computers and the Internet: Braiding Irony, Paradox, and Possibility 340
Jeffrey R. Yost


19 The Profession of Engineering in America 363
Bruce Sinclair

20 Popular Culture and Technology in the Twentieth Century 385
Molly W. Berger

21 Art and Technology 406
Henry Adams

22 Critics of Technology 429
David E. Nye

Index 453

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