Sticky technologies

—Tom Scott-Smith— It is easy to love fluidity. Fluid movement implies grace and effortless beauty. Fluid materials yield and flow. Fluids fill gaps, change in response to new conditions and are inherently smooth and adaptable. These qualities have seemed particularly useful in development and humanitarian aid. The Zimbabwe bush pump, as described in an article … Continue reading Sticky technologies

Relays from the Society for History of Technology (SHOT) conference

For those who couldn’t attend this year’s exciting meeting, we’ve collected interesting and incisive reviews of key panels from this year’s SHOT conference, which took place October 26-29, 2017 in Philadelphia, PA. Presidential panel: Theorizing human agency and the self, by Martin Collins Playing with Technology, by Ingrid Ockert and Roger Turner Computers and Futures, by … Continue reading Relays from the Society for History of Technology (SHOT) conference

Presidential panel: Theorizing human agency and the self

— Martin Collins — For the 2017 annual meeting of the Society for History of Technology, I organized and moderated a “presidential roundtable” on “Theorizing human agency and the self: What Does/Can History of Technology Contribute to the Humanities?” As discussants the panel included Katherine Boyce-Jacino (Johns Hopkins); Christopher Otter (Ohio State); Amy Slaton (Drexel); … Continue reading Presidential panel: Theorizing human agency and the self

Computers and Futures

— Dick van Lente — Two panels at the conference of the Society for the History of Technology in Philadelphia, last October, were devoted to ‘Computers and futures: expectations of a future with computers in eight countries, 1945-1970.’ During the first post war decades, several scientists, politicians and intellectuals believed that electronic computers would fundamentally … Continue reading Computers and Futures

Playing with Technology

— Ingrid Ockert and Roger Turner — Play matters. Fun technologies invite participation, which can become mediums of expression for political organizing or economic engagement. Positive associations with particular technologies can guide career choices and create a better society, or so people have believed in societies from the communist Soviet Union to the United States … Continue reading Playing with Technology