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Week 11: Workshop of the world, 1780-1900. Technology.

Lecture slides and handout.

New technologies transformed the Victorian world. Steam-engines roared in the factories of Lancashire, railways followed the expansion of colonialism in India, and engineering projects expanded the American frontier.

Seminar Questions

  • How should we understand the relationship between technology and society?
  • Was the industrial revolution a technological revolution?
  • Did technology make work easier? If not, what did it do?
  • To what extent were industrial technologies ‘tools of empire’?

Essential Readings
Adas, Michael, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology and Western Dominance (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. 129-198

Additional Readings
Ashworth, William, ‘‘System of Terror’: Samuel Bentham, Accountability and Dockyard Reform during the Napoleonic Wars’, Social History, 23 (1998)

Ashworth, William, ‘The Industrial Revolution and the Ideological Revolution: Science, Neoliberalism and History’, History of Science, 52 (2014)

David Arnold, Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Headrick, Daniel, The Tentacles of Progress: Technology Transfer in the Age of Imperialism, 1850-1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988)

Headrick, Daniel, Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981)

Hills, Richard, Power from Steam: A History of the Stationary Steam Engine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Inkster, Ian, ‘Technological and Industrial Change: A Comparative Essay’, in Roy Porter (ed), The Cambridge History of Science: Eighteenth-Century Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), vol. 4

Jacob, Margaret, The First Knowledge Economy: Human Capital and the European Economy, 1750-1850 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Jones, Peter, Industrial Enlightenment: Science, Technology and Culture in Birmingham and the West Midlands, 1760-1820 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008)

Marsden, Ben and Crosbie Smith, Engineering Empires: A Cultural History of Technology in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005)

Mokyr, Joel, The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002)

Samuel, Raphael, ‘Workshop of the World: Steam Power and Hand Technology in Mid-Victorian Britain’, History Workshop Journal, 3 (1977)