RC Soc. Sci. 275 - Science, Technology and Society

Syllabus for Tom O'Donnell's STS Lectures

Winter 2006, Jan - April.

Iñigo G. de la Cerda <inyigo@umich.edu>
Tom O'Donnell <twod@umich.edu>
Office: 6 Tyler, Residential College, East Quad
E-mail: twod@umich.edu
URL: Homepage


'R--' Indicates assigned reading. Find in course pack.

'---' Indicates optional background reading (some are in the coursepack; others online if so indicated).

Lecture -- Thursday, 23 March 06

Nature of Technology: Does Technology Determine History and/or Social Relations? (Positions, hard vs. soft, etc.)

R-- [KMarx, 1956] "The Materialist Conception of History," pp. 51-67. in "Karl Marx, Selected Writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy", Translated by T.B. Bottomore. (This is a collection of passages.)

--- [KMarx, 1956] "Society, social relations, and the economic structure," pp. 88-101, in "Karl Marx, Selected Writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy", Translated by T.B. Bottomore. (This is a collection of passages.)

--- [LMarx, 1993], Does Improved Technology Mean Progress?, Leo Marx, pp. 3-14, in [Teich, 1993] Technology and the Future, Ed. Albert H. Teich, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993. (Original Source: Technology Review, January 1987, pp. 33-41, 71).

--- [Smith, Marx, 1998] "Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism," Ed. Merritt Roe Smith and Leo Marx, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998.

R-- Introduction to [Smith, Marx, 1998], pp. ix-xv.

R-- [Heilbroner, 1998a] Do Machines Make History? in [Smith, Marx, 1998], pp. 53-65.

--- [Heilbroner, 1998b] Retrospective on 'Do Machines Make History?' in [Smith, Marx, 1998], pp. 66-78.

---[BBinber, 1998] Three Faces of Technological Determinism, in [Smith, Marx, 1998], pp. 79-100.

--- [LMarx, 1998] The Idea of 'Technology' and Postmodern Pessimism," Leo Marx, in [Smith, Marx, 1998], pp. 236-257.

Total Pages: 30

Lecture -- Thursday, 30 March 06

History of Technology: Development of Technology from Mid-Feudal to Commercial Revolution / Renaissance Europe. (New agricultural technologies, hand cranks, war tech., metal smelting and steel, water wheels and early mechanical arts; and with these the emergence of market towns, [ca. 1000 AD] and of bourgeois commerce and relations of production, etc. Emphasize the difference between feudal and early-bourgeois social relations through commercial revolution] and classes, ways of producing.)

R-- [Marx&Engels, 1847] "Bourgeois and Proletarians", pp. 17-32 (i.e., Section I) in "The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels", Bantam Books, 1992, New York.

--- [F&JGies,94] "Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages", Frances and Joseph Gies, HarperCollins, 1994, New York.

--- "Nimrod's Tower, Noah's Ark," pp. 1-16;

--- "The Technology of the Commercial Revolution: 900-1200," pp. 105-165.

--- "The High Middle Ages," pp. 166-237.

R-- [Cipolla74] "Before the Industrial Revolution" European Society and Economy, 1000-1700," Norton, 1976, New York.

Chapter 6, "Technology", pp. 158-181.

Total Pages: 38.

Lecture -- Tuesday 04 April 06

Case Study: Machines in History (Spread of mechanical arts and early machines in feudal society, monasteries and mechanical arts, machinery's social rejection due to displacement of laborers. Case of textiles in England: women as constant spinners, gynaecium slave weavers in feudal castles, decline of slavery, peasant cottage industries and abandonment of farming, limitations of human motive power, dispossession, use of water wheels, proletarianization, mills and transmission systems, manufacturing, distinctions between tools and machines, evolution of machines from human driven to powered and tended, the scientific study of water wheels [French mathematicians, Franklin Institute in Phila.], solution of steam power, end of location and scale restrictions, transfer to towns and the emergence of large cities [Manchester example], of modern industry, automatic production.)

--- [Marx, 1856] "Capital", K. Marx, Volume I, Part IV, Chapter XV, "Production of Relative Surplus Value": "Machinery and Modern Industry" (Kerr, First American Edition, 1906)

R-- 1. The Development of Machinery, pp. 405-422

R-- 2. The Value Transferred by Machinery to the Product, pp. 422-430

--- 3. The Proximate Effects of Machinery on the Workman, pp. 430-457

--- 4. The Factory, pp. 457-466

--- 5. The Strife Between Workman and Machine, pp. 466-478

--- 6. The Theory of Compensation as Regards the Workpeople Displaced by Machinery, pp. 478-488

--- 7. Repulsion and Attraction of Workpeople by the Factory System. Crisis in the Cotton Trade, pp. 488-502

--- 8. The revolution Effected in Manufacture, Handicrafts and Domestic Industry by Modern Industry, pp. 502-526.

--- [Hawke88] "Nuts and Bolts of the Past: A History of American Technology, 1776-1860", Harper&Rowe, 1988, New York.

R-- Chapter 27, "The Franklin Institute," pp. 185-189;

R-- Chapter 29, "Water and Science," pp. 195-198;

--- [Mackenzie&Wajcman] The Social Shaping of Technology, 2nd Ed., Editors D. MacKenzie and J. Wajcman, Open University, 1999, Philadelphia.

--- Article 11, "The Watermill and Feudal Authority" by Marc Bloch, pp. 152-155.

--- Milltown. PBS Video.

Total pages: 32

NOTE: This year we did the following two lectures out of order because of an error at the coursepack printer shop. T. O'D.

Lecture -- Tuesday 16 March 06

Information Society, Part I: Prerequisites. (a. Intellectual pre-history: philosophy, mathematics, logic up to Church-Turing thesis of 1936; b. Subsequent realization of 'universal computer' technology during and after WWII: physics, computer science using pneumatics, solenoids, vacuum tubes and silicon semi-conductors.)

--- [Davis00] "Universal Computer," Martin Davis, 2000.

--- [Berlinski00] "The Advent of the Algorithm, David Berlinski, 2000.

--- "The 150th anniversary of George Boole's Birth," in "New Scientist" magazine. (Try to do the examples of applications of Boolian logic for circuits, AIDS epidemic, computer adder and multiplier, etc.

--- Questions for study in the history of information: www-personal.umich.edu/~twod/rc-fys/assignments/study_questions00.html

--- On positivism and the split in mathematics: www-personal.umich.edu/~twod/rc-fys/assignments/positivism/index.html

--- On Godel and Wittgenstein, logical positivism, etc. www-personal.umich.edu/~twod/rc-fys/assignments/class_19.html

--- References (on reserve)


-Videos: (Recommended. Times of showing to be decided in class.)

--- "Breaking the Code" (About Alan Turing's work on Enigma and universal computation, and his persecution.). Video. Co-production by The Drama House and WGBH Boston for BBC North Writer: Hugh Whitemore Producer: Jack Emery Director: Herbert Wise Pub: Video Treasures

R-- "Giant Brains" (German, English and US building of first computers, etc.). Video. Co-production of the WGBH Science Unit and the BBC in association with NDR / Germany Writer, Producer, Director: Fiona Holmes Pub: Films for the Humanities and Sciences, Princeton, N.J.

R-- Chaitain, G. on "A Century of Controversy over the History of Mathematics, Computer Technology as a Byproduct" (Also at: www-personal.umich.edu/~twod/rc-fys/assignments/chaitin.pdf)

--- Robinson, Alan, "Computational Logic: Memories of the Past and Challenges for the Future" (Also at: www-personal.umich.edu/~twod/rc-fys/assignments/computational_logic18610001.pdf)

Total pages: ~14 + a video

Lecture -- Tuesday 21 March 06

Information Society, Part II: Realization (Phase 1: Application to science, replacing business machines, control technology and programmable logic controllers in production, automation, robotization, flexible production, ... and post-modern society. Phase II: Combination of telecommunications with distributed computing, networking and the internet; the transformation of commerce, business practice and inter-personal communication.)

R-- [Ceruzzi, 1993] The Unforeseen Revolution: Computers and Expectations, 1935-1985, by Paul Ceruzzi, pp.160-174, in [Teich, 1993]. (Source: Imagining Tomorrow: History, Technology and the American Future, edited my Joseph J. Corn (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986).

R-- [Zuboff, 1993] In the Age of the Smart Machine, Shoshana Zuboff, pp. 340-349, in [Teich, 1993]. (Source: In the Age of the Smart Machine, Basic Books, 1988.)

--- [Bell, 1973] Daniel Bell, "The Coming of Post-Industrial Society," Basic Books, New York, 1973. - The Axial Age of Technology. Forward: 1999 pp. ix-lxxxv.

--- Peter Drucker, "The Age of Social Transformation," Atlantic Monthly, Nov. 1994.

Total pages: 23