HIST 285 (12229) - Technology in Historical Perspective
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 8:00-8:50 - Curtis Hall 250A
Professor Lloyd Ackert
History and Politics Department, Drexel University
Office: MacAlister Hall 5024;
Office Phone: 215-895-0993, Cell: 518-965-3562
Office Hours: by appointment.
In this course we will survey the history of technological developments from
the Renaissance to the current day. We will focus on a series of technological objects
—machines, tools, and systems—considering them in their broader historical
(social, cultural, and political) contexts.
Organized chronologically we will trace this
history beginning with Leonardo Da Vinci and ending with the International Space
This is not, however, a teleological assessment which assumes a
progressive improvement of technology—each age has merits in its own rights. The
goal of the course, in fact, is to debate this central issue.
objects we can examine the role of technology in society—both in the distant past,
and occasionally as it relates to your own contemporary interests.
: Thomas J. Misa, Leonardo to the Internet: Technology and
Culture from the Renaissance to the Present
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 2004) [ISBN 9780801878091]
The final course grade will be assessed by:
Midterm exam – 40%
Research essay -- 20%
This quarter, we will continue a project I initiated this Summer
We will work together to produce a database for HIST 285 students.
will research and write an essay of 1500 words on a topic in the history of
technology according to a book outline, which I will distribute in the first week of
You can opt to revise and expand one of the essays already in the database,
or write a new one.
You will complete this project in stages: proposal, outline,
preliminary draft, final draft, and in-class presentation.
The essay is due during
the ninth week.