that belief, the “age of print” follows directly upon what may be called, for symmetry's sake but a little awkwardly, the “age of eternity.” While the advent of printing is intensely studied as the history of technology and as socio-cultural history, it
How Medieval Ideas of Time Influenced the Development of Mechanical Reproduction of Texts and Images
Remembering Second World War Technologies in Rural East Germany from 1984 to 1992
Given Peenemünde’s ambivalent military and technological history, from rocket development during the Nazi period to East German naval and air bases during the Cold War, its musealization was considered both a chance and challenge during the region’s deindustrialization in the 1990s. Local residents’ support of veteran engineers promoting an apologetic view of Nazi rocketry was met with bewilderment. However, a space park project and anniversary event were spearheaded by government and industry representatives, turning a regional affair into an international controversy. The article analyzes the function of memory work and the remembrance of technological progress in rural northeastern Germany before and after German reunification. Based on archival sources and interviews with former officers and museum advocates, it traces the Peenemünde museum project through a history of ideological and biographical caesurae, enthusiasm, political promises, and socioeconomic despair.
Animals and Human Knowledge
The domestication and use of animals is an integral part of the history of technology, as beasts were used to improve the efficiency of agricultural, military, and transportation activities. Individuals and social groups often had to be introduced along with animal technologies, as the domestication, breeding, training, and handling of animals was a culture that could not be immediately learned. In the age of European empires, several ethnic groups were imported along with the animals that they tended. This article highlights the role of humans as part of animal technologies, as an important anthropological component when technologies that involve animals are introduced to new settlements and areas. Using three case studies in which animal technologies from Asia were introduced to other parts of the world, it can be seen that humans are an essential and integral component of animal technologies.
Reflections on Rootedness and Mobility
Francesca Bray, Barbara Hahn, John Bosco Lourdusamy, and Tiago Saraiva
Crops are a very special type of human artifact, living organisms literally rooted in their environments. Crops suggest ways to embed rootedness in mobility studies, fleshing out the linkages between flows and matrices and thus developing effective frameworks for reconnecting local and global history. Our focus here is on the movements, or failures to move, of “cropscapes”: the ever-mutating ecologies, or matrices, comprising assemblages of nonhumans and humans, within which a particular crop in a particular place and time flourishes or fails. As with the landscape, the cropscape as concept and analytical tool implies a deliberate choice of frame. In playing with how to frame our selected cropscapes spatially and chronologically, we develop productive alternatives to latent Eurocentric and modernist assumptions about periodization, geographical hierarchies, and scale that still prevail within history of technology, global and comparative history, and indeed within broader public understanding of mobility and history.
Places of Progress? Technology Museums, Memory, and Education
Christian Kehrt and Daniel Brandau
“Revolutionary” technologies or large technological systems are often deemed controversial, risky, or ambivalent. Diverging interpretations clash when technological objects, such as rockets, airplanes, or nuclear reactors, are exhibited in museums or at heritage sites, with profound implications for underlying concepts of historical education. This special issue explores the argument that histories of technology have often upheld a traditional view of modern linear progress but became the focus of controversies when the social, political, and cultural conditions of perceiving and remembering these objects changed. At former “places of progress,” visitors and exhibition makers are confronted with the remains of the Industrial Revolution, colonialism, two World Wars, the Cold War, the Age of Coal, the Space Age, the Atomic Age and the Digital Age. Exhibitions and displays have been used to explain, teach, or make sense of the advents, successes, and failures of high-tech projects. Understanding technological artifacts and corresponding sites such as Chernobyl, Peenemünde, and Hiroshima as well as structures such as factories or bunkers as sites of memory (lieux de mémoire, a term coined by Pierre Nora) shifts our attention to processes of remembering modern technologies and the cases in which established narratives of progress have been supported or challenged. Questions about the ethics of technology use often seem to subvert stories of the “heroes of invention,” leaving visitors with the impression of technological ambivalence. Attempts to teach and learn about history and technology via objects and sites have been complicated, politicized, and contested.
Mobility Studies, a Transdisciplinary Field
) immobility. The history of technology may offer “nothing certain in a world of complex sociotechnical systems” when it comes to tackling modern mobility concerns, but, as Collin Divall has argued, “history can help us to see how, over the long term, various
Niklas Olsen, Irene Herrmann, Håvard Brede Aven, and Mohinder Singh
. HÅVARD BREDE AVEN Oslo Metropolitan University For a long time, historians of concepts were not particularly interested in the history of technology, and historians of technology have not been particularly interested in the history of concepts. In
literary studies, sociology, and the history of technology, these essays illustrate the versatility of the mobility optic as well as its massive potential for the formation of new knowledge and the effecting of egalitarian policy. The scholars here make the
The Temporalities of Infrastructure
Ashley Carse and David Kneas
dimensions of infrastructure ( Anand et al. 2018 ; Barry 2017 ; Hetherington 2014 , 2019 ). This is a longstanding concern in the history of technology, where, to cite one influential example, a body of work traces the development of large sociotechnical
Three Views of Mobility from Africa
Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Jeroen Cuvelier, and Katrien Pype
in the Humanities (KU Leuven–OJO Initiative). Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, and Trevor Pinch, The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987