Richard F. Hirsh

History/STS 5206
Course Information

Main Themes in the History of Technology

This graduate-level introduction to the history of technology focuses on the predominant themes that have been pursued by scholars during the past 40 years. For example, students will read several books and articles that employ a "contextualist" approach to history of technology—an approach that examines hardware and artifacts within a context of public policy, economics, and society in general. Students also evaluate criticisms of the historiographical approaches in the discipline and look at studies that have sought to remedy thematic and methodological imbalances.

On a highly practical level, this course helps students become better analytical thinkers, writers, and communicators. The course involves extensive reading and writing as well as public speaking. Skills honed in the course will serve students well in academic and other professions.

This class, cross listed with the Science and Technology Studies program, was last taught by Dr. Hirsh in fall 2011.

Class Resources

Other Resources


The social nature of technology

REA woman with electric appliancesThe course highlights the social context in which technology emerges. Modern Times