16.150 new book: historian confronts technological change

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty (w.mccarty@btinternet.com)
Date: Sat Aug 10 2002 - 05:14:14 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 150.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2002 10:07:36 +0100
             From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
             Subject: A Historian Confronts Technological Change

    A new publication from MIT might interest to humanist scholars,
    "Retooling: A Historian Confronts Technological Change" by Rosalind
    Williams (August 2002, ISBN 0-262-23223-5, MIT Press)

    When Warren Kendall Lewis left Spring Garden Farm in Delaware in 1901 to
    enter MIT, he had no idea that he was becoming part of a profession that
    would bring untold good to his country but would also contribute to the
    death of his family's farm. In this book written a century later,
    Professor Lewis's granddaughter, a cultural historian who has served in
    the administration of MIT, uses her grandfather's and her own experience
    to make sense of the rapidly changing role of technology in contemporary

    Rosalind Williams served as Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education
    at MIT from 1995 through 2000. From this vantage point, she watched a wave
    of changes, some planned and some unexpected, transform many aspects of
    social and working life--from how students are taught to how research and
    accounting are done--at this major site of technological innovation. In
    Retooling, she uses this local knowledge to draw more general insights
    into contemporary society's obsession with technology.

    Today technology-driven change defines human desires, anxieties, memories,
    imagination, and experiences of time and space in unprecedented ways. But
    technology, and specifically information technology, does not simply
    influence culture and society; it is itself inherently cultural and
    social. If there is to be any reconciliation between technological change
    and community, Williams argues, it will come from connecting technological
    and social innovation--a connection demonstrated in the history that
    unfolds in this absorbing book.

    More details about the book is available at

    Best regards,
    Arun Tripathi

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