Technology and Society
COLLOPY, PETER S
Technology plays an increasing role in our understandings of ourselves, our communities, and our societies, in how we think about politics and war, science and religion, work and play. Humans have made and used technologies for thousands, if not millions of years. In this course, we will use this history as a resource to understand how technologies affect social relations and, conversely, how the culture of a society shapes the technologies it produces. Do different technologies produce or result from different economic systems like feudalism, capitalism, and communism? Can specific technologies promote democratic or authoritarian politics? Do they suggest or enforce different patterns of race, class or gender relations? Among the technologies we’ll consider will be large objects like cathedrals, bridges, and airplanes; small ones like guns, clocks, and birth control pills; and networks like the electrical grid, the highway system, and the internet.