HSCI 1714: Stone Tools to Steam Engines: Technology and History to 1750

3-4 CreditsHistorical PerspectivesTechnology and Society

Technology is an enormous force in our society, and has become so important that in many ways it seems to have a life of its own. This course uses historical case studies to demonstrate that technology is not autonomous, but a human activity, and that people and societies made choices about the technologies they developed and used. It asks how technological differences between nations influenced their different courses of development, and why some societies seemed to advance while others did not. We ask how technological choices can bring about consequences greater than people expected, and how we might use this knowledge in making our own technological choices. In particular, we explore the historical background, development, and character of the most widespread technological systems the world has known, from prehistoric stone tool societies, through Egypt and the pyramids, ancient Greece and Rome, the explosion of Islam, and the dynamic and often violent technologies of medieval Europe.

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All Instructors

B+ Average (3.182)Most Common: A- (20%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

748 students
  • 3.66


  • 4.21


  • 4.14


  • 3.58


  • 4.19



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