On Early American Technologies


Panel organizers: Matthew H. Fisk, University of California at Santa Barbara mhfisk@umail.ucsb.edu

                              Michele Speitz, University of Colorado at Boulder (Furman University as of AY 2012-13) speitz@colorado.edu


Cognitive theorist Andy Clark writes that human beings “are thinking beings whose nature … is not accidentally but profoundly and continuously informed by our existence as physically embodied, and as socially and technologically embedded organisms.” Proceeding from a similar hypothesis, this panel seeks papers on the technological artifact and/or technologies broadly conceived and the early-American world, 1500 to 1820. How did early American devices and instruments operate as physical forms of knowledge? In what ways did early American technologies enable and limit forms of intellectual and social order? Potential topics range from traditionally-defined technologies in the service of science and engineering, manufacturing, agriculture, urban planning, and print culture, to domestic technologies, material culture, and design. In particular, we invite submissions that address the problematics of embodiment, epistemology, aesthetics, or temporality as they relate to early American technologies. 
We look forward to hearing from colleagues working in all geographies of the Atlantic and Pacific regions, including the United States, British North America, French North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Western Africa.  We welcome a broad range of papers that engage any of the following topics: history of science and technology (including new economic criticism); literature and science; literature and the environment; art and architecture; print culture; history of design; urban studies.

Please send your 250-300 word abstract and C.V. (in PDF format if possible) to Matthew H. Fisk mhfisk@umail.ucsb.edu and Michele Speitz michele.speitz@gmail.com by Friday, September 7, 2012.