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Technology and the African-American Experience: Needs and Opportunities for Study

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Race and technology are two of the most powerful motifs in American history, but until recently they have not often been considered in relation to each other. This collection of essays examines the intersection of the two in a variety of social and technological contexts, pointing out, as the subtitle (borrowed from Brooke Hindle's classic 1966 work Early American Technology) puts it, the "needs and opportunities for study." The essays challenge what editor Bruce Sinclair calls the "myth of black disingenuity" --...
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2004 Hardcover Brand new books, maps and cd's available immediately from a reputable and well rated UK bookseller; despatched promptly and reliably worldwide. *****PLEASE NOTE: ... This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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2004 Hardcover Brand new books, maps and cd's available immediately from a reputable and well rated UK bookseller; despatched promptly and reliably worldwide. *****PLEASE NOTE: ... This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

Race and technology are two of the most powerful motifs in American history, but until recently they have not often been considered in relation to each other. This collection of essays examines the intersection of the two in a variety of social and technological contexts, pointing out, as the subtitle (borrowed from Brooke Hindle's classic 1966 work Early American Technology) puts it, the "needs and opportunities for study." The essays challenge what editor Bruce Sinclair calls the "myth of black disingenuity" -- the historical perception that black people were technically incompetent. Enslaved Africans actually brought with them the techniques of rice cultivation that proved so profitable to their white owners, and antebellum iron working in the South depended heavily on blacks' craft skills. The essays document the realities of black technical creativity -- in catalogs of patented inventiveness, in the use of "invisible technologies" such as sea chanteys, and in the mastery of complex new technologies. But the book also explores the economic and social functions of the disingenuity myth, and therefore its persistence. African-Americans often saw in new technologies a means to escape racial prejudice, but white Americans used them just as often to re-frame the boundaries of social behavior. The essays show that technologies and racialized thought are much more tightly connected than we have imagined.
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

"This enlightening collection of essays offers a wealth of insights into the relationship between race and technology in America, and opens the door to further research in this essential subject."--John Morrow, Franklin Professor of
History, University of Georgia

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262195041
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Pages: 249
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Sinclair, formerly Melvin Kranzberg Professor of the History of Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is a Senior Fellow at the Dibner Institute at MIT. He has served as president of the Society for the History of Technology and received its Da Vinci Medal.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Integrating the histories of race and technology 1
Landscapes of technology transfer : rice cultivation and African continuities 19
Invention and innovation, 1619-1930 49
History in the funny papers 71
New south, new north : region, ideology, and access in industrial education 77
Raising fish with a song : technology, chanteys, and African-Americans in the Atlantic Menhaden fishery 107
Pictures from an exposition 119
"The open road" : automobility and racial uplift in the interwar years 131
The matter of race in histories of American technology 155
Minority engineering education in the United States since 1945 : a research proposal 171
Museums and the interpretation of African-American history 187
A bibliography of technology and the African-American experience 197
Index 235
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