WITH Newsletter 2002 Society for the History of Technology
WITH Progress in 2001
At least 53 Withies gathered for lunch at the annual SHOT meeting in San Jose, California. We had the highest SIG attendance of any of the other SIGs. The meeting was called to order by Molly Berger and Nina Lerman. Debbie Douglas, who, despite having stepped down as the third co-leader, was indispensable in organizing logistics. Unfortunately, Dave Morton, our newsletter editor, was unable to attend. Special thanks, too, to Ruth Oldenziel, who continues as our European liaison. We began with customary introductions around the room and were happy to welcome many new members. Dues of $5 were collected. Anyone not attending the meeting who would like to pay his or her dues is welcome to send a check made out to WITH/SHOT to Molly Berger at 2695 Rocklyn Road, Shaker Heights, Ohio, 44122. Dues helped underwrite the luncheon and also help to pay newsletter production costs. The newsletter was handed out. Many
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News of Members
Molly Berger began working full-time as Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in January 2001. She continues to teach one course per semester in the history department, and then another American history course. She gave three papers over the past year, one at CWRU, one at ICOHTEC in Granada, Spain, and another at the Urban History Conference in Pittsburgh. She wrote several book reviews for T & C and is in the process of working on an essay,” Technology and Popular Culture in the 20th Century” and so will be reading Tom Swift books, watching Star Wars, and deconstructing Dilbert cartoons.
Carolyn Cooper is completing a two-volume book on Connecticut history 1800-1832, entitled Voices of the New Republic. The first volume contains excerpts from an early 19th survey about daily life. The second volume contains essays interpreting the survey results. She expects the book to appear in early 2003. Jonathan Coopersmith’s manuscript on the history of the fax machine, 1843-2000, continues with much progress but, he writes, like socialism, its accomplishment remains on the horizon, though much closer. His recent publications include “Humans in Space: Is the Cost Too High?” AAS Space Times July-August, 2002, “Taking Up the Garbage,” Ad Astra 14, 4 (July-August 2002), and “Membership Has Its Partisans,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 24,2 (April-June 2002).
Ruth Cowan says that after 34 years at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she left to become the Janice and Julius Bers Professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, in September 2002.
Deborah Douglas has been preparing a new exhibition of photographs to open in November as part of a project to rehouse the MIT Museum's collection of 19,000 negatives documenting the MIT Radiation Laboratory. A new unit on the arts, humanities and social sciences will be added to the museum's "Mind and Hand" (last year's big show) in October. The revised manuscript of American women in aviation is off to the press. Participating in the workshop "Race and/in the History of Technology" sponsored by Evelynn Hammonds' Center for the Study of Diversity was a major highlight of the year.
Deborah Fitzgerald continues her work to develop a scholarly group in Cambridge, Massachusetts of people interested in history and anthropology of rural life, technological change, and environmental/agricultural issues. Last year, with colleague Harriet Ritvo, she got a grant from the Mellon Foundation for a seminar called “Modern Times, Rural Places.” She writes that the seminar attracted quite a large group of scholars from area universities. This year she is on leave, but plans to restart the project next fall. She has completed a book called Every Farm a Factory: The Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture, which will be published by Yale in spring 2003.
Daryl Hafter’s article "Women in the Underground Business of Eighteenth-Century Lyon," in Enterprise & Society 2 (March 2001) won the Newcomen Award for best article of the year. She gave one of the two plenary speeches for the Textile Society of America meeting at Northampton, Massachusetts in September 2002, and has been elected to the board of the Western Society for French History.
Haven Hawley spent the summer of 2002 in residence for two Reese Fellowships in American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas, one in Worcester, Mass and the other at the University of Virginia. She will be giving presentations at Georgia Tech and the University of Toronto Centre for the Book in late 2002. She is currently working on her dissertation, "American Publishers of Indecent Books, 1840-1890," and hopes to finish during the 2002-2003 academic year.
Rebecca Herzig is working on a book to be published with Rutgers University Press, tentatively titled Suffering for Science: Faith and Reason in Nineteenth-Century America. She is also co-editing (with Evelynn Hammonds and Abby Bass) a volume of primary scientific documents on race and gender to be published by MIT Press.
Susan Schmidt Horning successfully defended her dissertation, "Chasing Sound: The Culture and Technology of Recording Studios in America, 1877-1977," and received her Ph.D. in History from Case Western Reserve University in August 2002. She is teaching at CWRU for the 2002-2003 academic year and was selected to participate in the "Sound Matters: New Technology and Music" international workshop at the Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands, in November.
Pamela Laird of the University of Colorado, Denver writes that she has begun a project with the working title “How to Succeed in Business: The Power of Social Capital in American Enterprise.” It will focus on the invention of processes such as what we now call networking and mentoring. She spent the past year on an American Association of University Women fellowship, but will return to teaching this fall as an associate professor.
Nina Lerman was granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor at Whitman College, where she teaches broadly in US history. Her current work seeks to incorporate race and regionalism into our understanding of access to and ideologies of technological knowledge. See also the announcement for her book in the announcements section.
Maura Phillips Mackowski graduated in May from Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona, with a doctorate in history. Her dissertation advisors were co-chairs Stephen J. Pyne and Jannelle Warren-Findley and Robert Trennert. The title of her dissertation was “Human Factors: Aerospace Medicine and the Origins of Manned Space Flight in the United States.”
Alan D. Meyer of the University of Delaware reports that he successfully defended his prospectus, tentatively titled, "Why Fly? A Social and Cultural History of Private Aviation in Post-WWII America.” This autumn he will be continuing his research and writing in Washington, D.C., thanks to a 1-year Guggenheim Dissertation Fellowship at the National Air and Space Museum. After four years together, he and Evelyn (Lyn) Causey are getting married in October.
Kathleen Ochs is recovering from complications resulting from an accident, and is unable to attend meetings. However, she continues to work on finding frameworks in which to understand the history of technology and science from their beginnings 2.6 million years ago to the present, the longue duree approach-- and to teach. She hopes to go into semi-retirement in May 2004, to have more time for the research.
Ruth Oldenziel is pleased to announce a new book, co-edited with fellow WITHies Nina Lerman and Arwen Mohun. For more details, see the announcements section of this newsletter. Ruth’s other publications include the History of Household Technology in Twentieth-Century Netherlands (2001) as part of a multivolume work on Dutch history of technology and "Man the Maker, Woman the Consumer: The Consumption Junction Revisited" in Feminism in Twentieth-Century Science, Technology and Medicine (Chicago University, 2001). Carroll Pursell, Pamela Mack, Michael Mahoney and Ruth Schwartz Cowan also have essays in this volume.
Mary Orisich is a graduate student in Economics at the University of Massachusetts, whose research interests include industrial organization and technological change, and gender issues, loosely defined. She is in the later stages of writing her dissertation on the relationship between strategic groups, choice of technique and technical diversity. She writes that while her work does not have a gender component, she takes great interest in "women and technology" issues.
Sara Pritchard has moved to the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania for an eighteen-month Mellon postdoc. She is working on her book, tentatively titled Recreating the Rhone: Nature, Technology, and the State in France Since 1945. Her dissertation was awarded the Rachel Carson Prize for the Best Dissertation in Environmental History in 2001 by the American Society for Environmental History. In December 2003, Sara will be heading west to a tenure-track position in world/France/French empire at Montana State University in Bozeman.
Bayla Singer’s book "Sex With Gods; A Cultural History Of Flying" is scheduled to be published in the spring of 2003 by Texas A&M University Press. The book will be about 200 pages (plus back matter), with about 20 illustrations that you won't find in other histories of flying. It's intended for general audiences, and has a full scholarly apparatus so anyone who wants to pursue any given topic in greater depth may easily do so.
Amy Slaton is working under an NSF grant on a project entitled "Minority Engineering Education in the United States Since 1945," which compares the education of African-American and non-minority students in an effort to explain the persistent "whiteness" of American engineering occupations. The project will examine instructional materials, built environments, and the political conditions under which engineering has been taught since WWII. She received tenure this year in the Department of History and Politics at Drexel University.
Julie Wosk's new book Women and the Machine: Representations From the Spinning Wheel to the Electronic Age was published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in December 2001. During 2001 and 2002, she presented papers at the Society for Literature and Science conference in Buffalo, at a feminist art history conference at Barnard College, at Union College in Schenectady, and at the New York Academy of Sciences. She's looking for suggestions and ideas for a new website: womenandthemachine.com.
Marian E. Vlasa is an active duty Army officer, currently stationed at Ft Hood, Texas. She is enrolled in the History PhD program at Syracuse University. She writes that she is interested in issues of gender and technology in military applications, as well has having an interest in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, social and political responses to industrialization and technology, political iconography, women's history and military history.
WITH 2001 Annual Report (cont’d from page 1)
thanks to Dave Morton for compiling the newsletter and getting it to us for the meeting. It was a difficult task, one made more challenging this year by national events. We are happy to announce that Gabriella Petrick will be building a web site for WITH so that we can post syllabi to be shared by all members. Details will be forthcoming. The main discussion was about whether or not to archive the WITH listerv. Members voiced concerns that archiving the discussions might alter the character of the discussion, which up until now have been open to a wide range of intellectual, scholarly, and emotional issues. Some feared that people might not be as spontaneous or open with their contributions. Ultimately, the group voted to archive unedited list discussion. We then discussed whether there should be a delay on archiving the discussions. The more nimble-minded among us pointed out that there is already a de facto delay, in that we never get anything done with much alacrity and there is already a four year delay in getting the first list discussions archived. Next we discussed whether or not the archive should be just open to members or the public. It was duly noted that joining the list does not require any sort of screening and that, once again, there is a de facto public nature to it. The group voted that no delay of access or membership requirements be imposed. Finally, we debated what sort of storage medium and ultimately decided on both burning a CD/ROM, which Debbie Douglas graciously volunteered to do, with back up of archival paper records that will be eventually stored with the WITH archive once it is moved from Molly's closet to the Smithsonian. The group agreed that paper endured, while technological systems become obsolete. The meeting was adjourned. A good time was had by all. We must, however, take note of WITH's presence at the banquet. Daryl performed her duties as President with presidential grace. Gabrielle Hecht was awarded the newly named Edelstein Prize (formerly the Dexter Prize) for her book, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II (MIT Press, 1998). Heartfelt congratulations to Gabrielle. And finally, Nina and Molly received "Big SHOT" t-shirts for their superb organizational abilities in planning the WITH meeting.
Announcements, Calls for Papers, and Conferences
Announcement: Nina Lerman, Arwen Mohun, and Ruth Oldenziel are to co-editors of the recently published a History of Technology and Gender in North America Reader with Johns Hopkins University Press, is due to come out in 2003. This edited volume began as the 1997 issue of Technology and Culture on gender, and has been expanded with several new pieces. It is aimed at an undergraduate or graduate audience.
Announcement: Women’s History Month 2003, with the them “Women Pioneering the Future,” is the continuation of an annual celebration that takes place each March. Sponsorship is provided by the National Women’s History Project, a non-profit educational organization that promotes the recognition of accomplished women, access to women’s history resources, and teacher training. According to this organization’s web site, the 2003 theme incorporates pioneering women from U.S. history who led and won struggles for equality and civil rights, created and advanced educational and professional opportunities, and made great contributions to the arts, sciences, and humanistic causes, as well as innovative women of today who further these efforts. The group is currently developing the 2003 Women’s History Month honoree list as well as creating resource materials. See their web site at http://www.nwhp.org/whm/themes/theme03.html Call for Papers: The 2004 Organization of American Historians convention program will be organized around the theme of American Revolutions. The OAH expects the program to explore a wide variety of political, social, cultural, intellectual, economic, diplomatic, military, technological, and environmental transformations in American history--as well as movements that sought and failed to bring about such transformations. We also expect the program to examine counterrevolutions and anti-radical backlash and to include sessions and papers that emphasize continuity, challenging the “revolutionary” character of particular moments, movements, or trends in American history. Finally, we welcome sessions that explore the relationship of the United States to various sorts of revolutions in the rest of the world, as well as those that examine revolutions in the interpretation of American history OAH Annual Meeting, 112 North Bryan Ave., Bloomington IN 47408-4199, tel 812-855-9853 fax: 812-855-0696. See URL: http://www.oah.org/meetings/2004/
Call for Papers: Southeastern Women's Studies Association SEWSA 2003-- Gender and Technology: Research, Revisions, Policies, and Consequences, March 20-22, 2003 at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. In recent years feminist scholars and activists have focused attention on the construction and consequences of technology, from bioengineered tomatoes to bioengineered babies, smart houses to smart bombs, vibrators to Viagra. Examining the gender politics of technology reveals the inventiveness and influence of women as well as the ideological or material exclusion of women from particular technological forms. Viewing technology and gender as helping to shape and define one another, feminists show technology to be a force both in perpetuating and challenging gender inequality. We seek proposed papers and entire sessions (with 3-4 papers per session) from scholars, activists, artists, and policy makers engaged with questions of gender, inequality, and technology. We understand gender to be shaped by a multitude of other social positions such as race, sexuality, class, nationality, physical ability, and age. We understand technology in the broadest possible sense. Possible Topics include medical technologies; food technologies; transportation technologies; educational technologies; globalization and technology; labor and technology; women working in technological fields; technologies of the gendered body; technologies of environment, place, and space; representations of gender and technology; feminist revisions of the history and philosophy of technology; masculinity and technology; women inventors. Send a 250-word proposal no later than Nov. 1, 2002 for a scholarly paper, multi-media exhibit, performance, workshop, or entire session, including its relationship to the conference theme, to the submission box on this conference Web site. (Please no snail-mailed submissions as our conference committee is spread out across several campuses.) Please also include a brief bio. If proposing an entire panel, include paper titles, abstracts, and bios for each presenter in addition to a proposal for the panel as a whole.
Call for Papers: The Costume Society of America will be holding an interdisciplinary symposium entitled "Understructures: Shaping the Body, Fashioning the Person," April 5, 2003 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Proposals are invited on topics related to undergarments that shape the body, from antiquity to the present day, from a broad range of disciplines. Special consideration will be given to papers that use interdisciplinary or multicultural approaches. Proposals of original research/perspectives may be submitted for 20 minute paper presentations and 10/10 ongoing research presentations (10 min. presentation, 10 min. group discussion). Submit a title page with name/complete contact information, 1-2 page abstract with bibliography (4 copies, do not put your name on these), and two-page CV, postmarked by Friday, Dec. 6, 2002, to Carrie Alyea. 26 Bradford St. #1, Boston, Massachusetts 02118
Call for Papers: Western Association of Women Historians, Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference. Clark Kerr Conference Center, University of California, Berkeley, California, June 6-8, 2003. The WAWH welcomes proposals for panels or single papers on any historical subject, time period, or region. Papers do not necessarily have to focus on women or gender history, although those issues are of special interest to our membership. Panels, workshops, or roundtables on major concerns of women in the historical profession are also encouraged. Proposals for complete panels, including commentators, are preferred, but individual papers will also be considered. Proposals must include five copies of each of the following: A WAWH Cover Page (found at www.wawh.org ) The cover sheet must be included for either individual or panel proposals; A one-half to one-page abstract for each paper; One-to-two-page curriculum vitae for each panelist.. Please send five copies of these materials by February 1, 2003 to Barbara Loomis, History Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. Tel. 415-338-7537, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at http://www.wawh.org
Call for papers: Reinventing the Factory:A Hagley Fellows' Conference. March 28-29, 2003 at the Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware. The Hagley Fellows at the University of Delaware invite paper proposals for "Reinventing the Factory," the 2003 Hagley Fellows' Conference. Amy Slaton, Professor of History at Drexel University and author of Reinforced Concrete and the Modernization of American Building, 1900-1930 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), will give the keynote address. Since the early industrial revolution, the factory has been recognized as a visible symbol and an important site for industrial production, technological innovation, labor relations, and political and economic change. This conference seeks to broaden our traditional understanding of what a factory is and how it has operated as a place of work, an architectural structure, and a social and cultural environment, which has evolved historically from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. By making the factory the focus of analysis, we want to expand our understanding of how structures both real and imagined are built and how they have influenced the lives of laborers, managers, and consumers. We envision papers that expand the definition of the factory as a workspace to include agricultural fields, laboratories, hospitals, universities, and even web-based virtual factories. We are also interested in the role of scale in factory production and its relation to labor and production in addition to studies involving regional and geographic analysis. The design and representation of factories as physical spaces is another area papers might focus on especially in relation to racial dynamics and gender construction.
We encourage submissions from a broad array of fields including but not limited to the history of technology, industrialization, architecture and design, public health, the environment, agriculture, business, labor, and gender. Proposals, including a 500-word abstract and one-page CV, should be sent, by December 1 2002 to Gabriella Petrick via e-mail. If electronic submission is not possible, please mail materials to Gabriella M. Petrick, Department of History, 236 Munroe Hall, University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716. Tel (302) 286-6227 or email@example.com
Conference: The Gender and Medieval Studies Group presents Gender and Objects, a conference to be held at the University of Nottingham 3-5 January 2003. While there is no detailed description of the conference in the call for papers, its web site lists topics of interest including gender and objects, gendered objects, gender and materialism, gender and the gift, gender and economy.
Conference Announcement: Women Scholars And Institutions, Prague, June 8-11, 2003, organized by the Commission Women in Science of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science/Division of History of Science (IUHPD/DHS) and Research Centre for the History of Sciences and Humanities founded by the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University, Prague. This conference will focus mainly on historical themes, however, gender and sociological topics will be included, as well. All historical periods will be included, however, papers drawing on 19th and 20th centuries would be welcome. Contact Mgr. Katerina Mojsejová, Research Center for History of Sciences and Humanities, Legerova 61, 120 00 Praha 2, Czech Republic, Phone: (+420) 2 2199-0617; fax: (+420) 2 2494-3057, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com On the Tube: The Steward Huston Charitable Trust and Nightingale Productions announce “Rebecca Lukens: Woman Of Iron: America's First Industrialist,” a 60 minute documentary film. Produced by Gail Pietruzyk and Laura Jackson, the film is based on the writings of Rebecca Lukens, and includes reenacted scenes from her life and comments from a number of historians and others including activist Mary Brooks, historians Judith McGaw, Paul Paskoff, Emma Lapansky, Angel Kwolek-Holland, English professor Judith Scheffler, President of Graystone Eugene Diorio, Charles Lukens Huston III, and Katherine Pella. Although the film aired on public television in many locations early in 2002, the editor’s internet search for this item did not turn up any sources where it can be purchased.
Listserv Dialog- Sept 2001-Sept 2002 Each year, the WITH newsletter summarizes the previous year’s listserv discussions. These discussions take place on the internet, and those who are not yet participating may join by following the instructions at the end of this article.
In early September 2001, the online discussion sponsored by WITH was extremely active and dominated by talk about the destruction of the World Trade, an event that clearly had overwhelmed academic issues. As one WITHie put it, immediately after September 11th, “the history of women in the medieval period and in early America just seemed too remote, abstract.” Relatively little of the talk attempted to put these events into the context of the women’s history (there was some mention of the suppression of women’s rights in Afghanistan) but some subscribers did try to make connections between current events and scholarship in the history of technology. In particular, several correspondents raised issues related to surveillance technologies—how they had failed to help the U.S. avoid the attack, and how they were likely to become more intrusive in the future. There was considerable discussion of the likelihood of U.S.-led attacks on Afghanistan, and several messages were posted calling on members to organize in opposition to the coming war. In the midst of this discussion, one subscriber suggested that an archive of the listserv be prepared as a record of how WITH members responded to the crisis (see more on this in the annual report elsewhere in this newsletter). By mid-September, subscribers were discussing how they had held classroom discussions on the terrorist attack and subsequent events. Yet once the Afghanistan offensive began, members turned to other matters.
Correspondence on historical issues resumed following a query about the knitting of “Liberty Bonnets” during the French Revolution, and a call for volunteers issued from the producer of a forthcoming children’s television series. Arwen Mohun requested help in creating the reading list for a “women and technology” American Studies course, and she received numerous suggestions including McGaw’s Early American Technology, Gamber's Female Economy, Boydston’s Home and Work, Ulrich’s A Midwife's Tale, Calvert’s Children in the House, Wright’s Moralism and the Model Home, Riley’s The Female Frontier, Stansell’s City of Women, Davies’ Woman's Place is at the Typewriter, Dublin’s Women at Work, Blewett’s Men, Women & Work, Maines' The Technology of Orgasm, Gordon’s Woman's Body, Woman's Right, Walzer's Brought to Bed, Kolodny’s The Lay of the Land, Lefanu’s Feminism and Science Fiction, Cowan’s More Work for Mother, Oldenziel’s Making Technology Masculine, Brown's Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, & Anxious Patriarchs, and others.
The discussion in January turned briefly to the subject of shaving and hair removal. Listserv subscribers Gwen Bingle and Heike Weber mentioned that they had explored the gendering of artifacts in a seminar, using men’s and women’s razors as the case study.
Food canning stimulated a good bit of banter in April. Suggestions for readings included the relevant section from The
Cambridge World History of Food, Schlosser's Fast-Food Nation, the Underwood corporation’s web site, Levenstein's Paradox of Plenty, Tannahill’s Food in History, Strasser's Satisfaction Guaranteed, Kurlansky’s COD: A Biography Of The Fish That Changed The World, and former Hagley Fellow Katie Leonard’s unpublished thesis, Hine’s The Secret History & Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans & other Persuasive Containers, Counihan and Van Esterik's Food and Culture: A Reader, Braudel’s Capitalism and Material Life, and Shortridge and Shortridge’s The Taste of American Place. Others suggested contacting the Heinz History Museum or investigating the role played by military and government agencies in the promotion of canning.
While there were some other minor topics, a series of job and grant announcements, a few virus hoaxes, and a phone scam warning, the listserv traffic for the year overall was relatively light. We look forward to more active participation in the coming year.
WITH Newsletter 2002 is a publication of Women in Technological History, a Special Interest Group of the Society for the History of Technology
2695 Rocklyn Rd., Shaker Heights, OH 44122 USA
Nina Lerman - Listserv Editor
Whitman College, Department of History, Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA firstname.lastname@example.org
David Morton - Newsletter Coordinator
IEEE History Center at Rutgers University, 39 Union St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901 USA email@example.com
Ruth Oldenziel - European Liaison
Belle van Zuylen Institute, University of Amsterdam, Rokin 84, NL-1012 KX