Technological Determinism

by jason.duke on September 24, 2013

Today in class, we discussed a book titled “Does Technology Drive History?” Which focuses on the idea of technological determinism. We discussed both the plausible and absurd aspects of the idea that technology directs the world down a specific path of history. To build on the discussion, we headed over to the AAS to look at some pictures and documents that would help build on these ideas. Each student looked at a specific document and discussed it with the class, and I was able to look at a picture from the 1830′s. We were also assigned the task of finding a document in the AAS that pertained to a specific class theme and writing a paper on it as we’ll as presenting it to the class. Next weeks class theme is Revolutionary Notions, sounds exciting!
-Jason Duke

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Prof. Keyes October 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Could you tell us more about your image from the 1830s? What was it? Why did you decide that it was important?


jason.duke October 21, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Sorry to take so long to get back to you! I am having a little trouble remembering all the details as I was running a fever the day of this class, but I can give it my best shot. Since the class was about Technological Determinism, we looked at a picture with a technological aspect to it. The picture depicted a standoff between Native American and white troops not too long before the period the picture was made. There were two pictures that depicted the same battle, one showing the Native Americans as utilizing guns in the same manner as the white soldiers and the other showing the Native Americans as using more primitive weapons. We discussed which picture was likely more accurate (deciding it was likely the one showing the Native Americans using guns) and the motive behind one artist or the other choosing to depict the event in an inaccurate manner (which we decided was likely due to anti-Native American sentiments at the time).


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