This course is not a comprehensive history of technology, but tries to meditate on the nature and impact of technology from a historical perspective. We will focus on how technologies evolve, and the social and ecological results of technological change. Our point of view is that to understand any technology, we must consider 1) its context, 2) how it is fabricated and operated, and 3) its social, political, economic, and environmental effects. The organization of the material is roughly chronological, but distinctly incomplete in that many important technological advances are omitted. Instead a small number of technologies, many of them presented by guest lecturers, serve as case studies.
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