History And Philosophy Of Science | Innovation Nation: Science, Technology, and the American Experience
X100 | 2978 | Grau


At the end of the twentieth century the United States maintains its
position as the world's dominant economy.  The resurgence of the
American economy during the last fifteen years is often associated
with the rise of the "New Economy," whose industrial components center
on information technology, biotechnology, and other 'knowledge
industries'.  These developments have given new life to a long
tradition belief in American exceptionalism in science and technology
stretching back to the early nineteenth century and the notion of
'Yankee Ingenuity.'

Innovation Nation will examine aspects of the institutional, social,
economic, and intellectual development of science and technology in
American culture.  Has there been a characteristically "American"
response to innovation?  How has the cultural understanding of science
and technology affected their institutional form?  Should the "New
Economy" be viewed as novel or does it fit well within older
organizational and technical traditions in the United States?  How
have peristent tensions, such as between scientific elitism and
democracy and entrepredeurship and hierarchical institutions, shaped
the role of science and technology in American history?

The course will be structured around a series of case studies
considering the social, intellectual, and institutional development of
science and technology with particular attention to the cultural
representation and interpretation of innovation.  The form of the case
studies will repeat across the semester.  For example, there will be
three case studies focused on particular geographical clusters of
innovation throughout U.S.  history: Southern New England in the early
nineteenth century, New York City and the Second Industrial Revolution
after the Civil War, and Silicon Valley after 1950.  Some case studies
will be thematic: the development of the Industrial Laboratory; gender
and the rise of the consumer economy; science, technology, and the
military; technological optimism and the frontier myth; the science of
management.  Other studies will be organized  by industry:
pharmaceuticals and medical technology, information technology,
textiles, transportation, agriculture.

Students will be expected to provide individual and group
contributions to the course through writing and class presentations.
During the final third of the class, students will be invited to
develop case studies of recent issues in the history of science and
technology in the United States.

For additional information contact Kevin Gray at ktgrau@indiana.edu

Time and Day:  4:00 pm. - 5:15 p.m.  TR
Place:  Ballantine Hall 244