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Science, Technology, and Society

Science, Technology, and Society

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Electricity in American Life and Letters, 1882–1952

At the turn of the twentieth century, electricity emerged as a metaphor for modernity. Writers from Mark Twain to Ralph Ellison grappled with the idea of electricity as both life force (illumination) and death spark (electrocution). The idea that electrification created exclusively modern experiences took hold of Americans’ imaginations, whether they welcomed or feared its adoption.

How Occupied Landscapes Shape Scientific Knowledge

Maps are widely believed to be objective, and data-rich computer-made maps are iconic examples of digital knowledge. It is often claimed that digital maps, and rational boundaries, can solve political conflict. But in Mapping Israel, Mapping Palestine, Jess Bier challenges the view that digital maps are universal and value-free. She examines the ways that maps are made in Palestine and Israel to show how social and political landscapes shape the practice of science and technology.

In the STI literature, Africa has often been regarded as a recipient of science, technology, and innovation rather than a maker of them. In this book, scholars from a range of disciplines show that STI in Africa is not merely the product of “technology transfer” from elsewhere but the working of African knowledge. Their contributions focus on African ways of looking, meaning-making, and creating.

Knowledge and Control in the Genomics Revolution

The rise of genomics engendered intense struggle over the control of knowledge. In Reordering Life, Stephen Hilgartner examines the “genomics revolution” and develops a novel approach to studying the dynamics of change in knowledge and control. Hilgartner focuses on the Human Genome Project (HGP)—the symbolic and scientific centerpiece of the emerging field—showing how problems of governance arose in concert with new knowledge and technology.

Problematizing Nanotechnology and Democracy in Europe and the United States

In Democratic Experiments, Brice Laurent discusses the challenges that emerging technologies create for democracy today. He focuses on nanotechnology and its attendant problems, proposing nanotechnology as a lens through which to understand contemporary democracy in both theory and practice. Arguing that democracy is at stake where nanotechnology is defined as a problem, Laurent examines the sites where nanotechnology is discussed and debated by scientists, policymakers, and citizens.

Embryology and the Epistemology of Rhythm, 1760–1830

In The Form of Becoming Janina Wellmann offers an innovative understanding of the emergence around 1800 of the science of embryology and a new notion of development, one based on the epistemology of rhythm. She argues that between 1760 and 1830, the concept of rhythm became crucial to many fields of knowledge, including the study of life and living processes.

The Birth of Computer Science

In 1936, when he was just twenty-four years old, Alan Turing wrote a remarkable paper in which he outlined the theory of computation, laying out the ideas that underlie all modern computers. This groundbreaking and powerful theory now forms the basis of computer science. In Turing’s Vision, Chris Bernhardt explains the theory, Turing’s most important contribution, for the general reader. Bernhardt argues that the strength of Turing’s theory is its simplicity, and that, explained in a straightforward manner, it is eminently understandable by the nonspecialist.

Frozen Life in a Melting World
Edited by Joanna Radin and Emma Kowal

As the planet warms and the polar ice caps melt, naturally occurring cold is a resource of growing scarcity. At the same time, energy-intensive cooling technologies are widely used as a means of preservation. Technologies of cryopreservation support global food chains, seed and blood banks, reproductive medicine, and even the preservation of cores of glacial ice used to study climate change. In many cases, these practices of freezing life are an attempt to cheat death.

Romanticism, Information Technology, and the End of the Machine

Romanticism and technology are widely assumed to be opposed to each other. Romanticism—understood as a reaction against rationalism and objectivity—is perhaps the last thing users and developers of information and communication technology (ICT) think about when they engage with computer programs and electronic devices. And yet, as Mark Coeckelbergh argues in this book, this way of thinking about technology is itself shaped by romanticism and obscures a better and deeper understanding of our relationship to technology.

The History of an Idea

Models abound in science, technology, and society (STS) studies and in science, technology, and innovation (STI) studies. They are continually being invented, with one author developing many versions of the same model over time. At the same time, models are regularly criticized. Such is the case with the most influential model in STS-STI: the linear model of innovation.

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