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HIST386syllabus.docx

HIST386syllabus.docx - HIST386 Spring 2016 Technology in...

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HIST386 – Spring 2016 Technology in American History Prerequisites: Hum 101, Hum 102 and one from among Hum 211, Hum 212, and Hist 213 or their equivalents R510:200 through 299 or R512:200 through 299 or their equivalents with a grade of C or better. Class Meets: HIST 386-002 – MONDAYS 11:30am - 2:25pm KUPFRIAN 108 Instructor: Lisa Nocks, Ph.D. My Office: CULM 322 NJIT Voicemail: 973.596.5360 email: [email protected] Office Hours: MON: 10:30-11:15 THU: 1:00-2:00pm and by appointment SAT: 12:00-1:00 BY APPT ONLY* NOTE: Follow up appointment requests in writing to [email protected] CATALOG DESCRIPTION: Survey of the history of American technology emphasizing the social and economic environments of technological change. Topics include the transfer of technology in building canals and cities, the rise of the factory system, the emergence of the American system of manufacture, and the development of major technological systems such as the railroad, telegraph, electric light and power, and automobile production and use. Focus on the professionalization of engineering practice, the industrialization of invention, and the growing links between engineers and corporate capitalism in the 20th century. HOW WE WILL APPROACH THIS COURSE: Studying history is a means of understanding how and why things happened at particular times and locations. The better we understand the why and how , the easier it is to see the relevance of these historical moments to our own lives, and perhaps to learn from them. This semester, the course is organized around a few themes: The first half of the semester we approach these activities from the idea of the “technological sublime.” After mid-term, we discuss them from the perspectives of workers and management. Within those themes, we will look at major technological initiatives: building infrastructure, inventing labor-saving machines, the American system of Manufacture, management systems, and corporations. We will also consider how mechanics and invention were promoted as progressive to the public during the 18 th and 19 th centuries through exhibition, mass media, and parades. As you read, you will attempt to find the answers to questions I pose, and then articulate your answer in class. (Expect to be called on in class.) You will make a focused presentation on some aspect of this history. You will be tested on your understanding of certain aspects of technological development. You are responsible for both class lectures and readings. Our books are not traditional textbooks, but monographs by historians. You should be reading each of them as you would any narrative. This class meets in person; we use Moodle to support our activities. Check Moodle frequently. This is a 300-level course. You are expected to read and write on a junior college level. COURSE OBJECTIVES: As a result of engaging in reading and discussion, students will: Be able to identify and describe the historical basis of current developments in American technology.
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