History of Technology
Auburn has one of the largest concentrations of faculty specializing in the history of technology of any department in the country, and has been internationally recognized for its work in the field. Faculty members have published broadly in aerospace, general aviation, automotive, industrial, environmental, and ancient history; have taken leading roles in professional organizations and academic societies; and have received numerous awards and accolades for their work, including the Society for the History of Technology’s Sidney M. Edelstein Prize for the best book in the field, the Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award from the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, and nominations for the Pulitzer Prize.
In the classroom, our core undergraduate Technology and Civilization sequence is one of the longest-running courses of its type in the country. By way of lectures and small breakouts taught by faculty, it offers undergraduates the opportunity to explore global history through the lens of technological and environmental change. Our upper-division and graduate courses delve into a number of topics, including aviation, transportation and the automobile, aerospace, southern industrialization, sport history, gender and technology, the technology of the ancient world, and technology and the environment. Our graduate students have gone on to hold prestigious postdoctoral fellowships and a variety of university, public history, and professional positions.
History of technology faculty have particular interests in the history of aviation and aerospace; transportation and automobility; gender and technology; science, technology and society; the environmental contexts and consequences of production and consumption; and sport history. Graduate students are encouraged to work closely with other colleagues in the Department interested in business and labor history, material culture, archives, and museum studies within the fields of modern China, modern U.S., early modern and modern Europe, and the ancient Near East. Our emphasis on the history of technology at Auburn also complements the engineering and aviation programs at one of the Southeast’s premier technical universities.
Current History of technology M.A. and Ph.D. students are working on a diverse range of topics, including international technology transfer in post-independence India, the social and cultural history of deodorant, automobile manufacturing in the rust belt, the recreational vehicle industry, the visitor infrastructure of national parks, southern industrialization, early British aviation, and the early origins of strategic bombing. They regularly present their work at regional, national, and international conferences. Local and regional research, industrial, and military institutions further enrich the program and extend the range of opportunities to students interested in careers in the management, preservation and interpretation of technological artifacts can use part of their Ph.D. coursework to complete an internship and work towards earning a Certificate in Public History.
Our graduates have held prestigious postdoctoral fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and have gone on to a variety of university, public history, and professional careers. These include tenure-track positions at the Air Force Academy, the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, the University of Central Florida, Mary Baldwin College, and Middle Georgia State College; curators at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum; and civilian government historians with the U.S. Air Force, the National Park Service, and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. Other recent graduates have established careers at Troy University (archives), Haverford College (libraries), and Georgia Tech (research).
Last Updated: August 11, 2016