Engineering Studies

Since the early 2000s, A set of networks have coalesced under theumbrella of “engineering studies” to investigate the roles of engineers in science, technology, and medicine. The CHSTM working group forwards this development with a specific focus on historical questions in a forum for early stage work. Engineering studies is a small but growing group of historians, anthropologists, sociologists, engineering educators, and other science and technology studies scholars, who center engineers and engineering as their subjects of analysis. The purpose of this working group is to promote historical research on engineering in the context of the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine by: building a vibrant community via regular meetings with low barriers to participation; sharing work in progress among historians and other engineering studies scholars; and clarifying the role of engineering studies in the history of science, technology, and medicine.

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Consortium Respectful Behavior Policy

Participants at Consortium activities will treat each other with respect and consideration to create a collegial, inclusive, and professional environment that is free from any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

Participants will avoid any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual characteristics such as age, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, ability status, educational background, or any other characteristic protected by law. Disruptive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Harassment includes but is not limited to inappropriate or intimidating behavior and language, unwelcome jokes or comments, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, photography without permission, and stalking.

Participants may send reports or concerns about violations of this policy to conduct@chstm.org.

Upcoming Meetings

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.


Past Meetings

  • May 20, 2022

    From Social Optimization to Interconnected Systems: The “Systems Approach” as Technological Imagination in Japan, 1960s–80s

     
    A work-in-progress by Yize Hu, PhD candidate in history of science and technology at Johns Hopkins University (USA). This is a chapter draft from Yize's forthcoming dissertation.
    Commentary from Cyrus Mody, Maastricht University (Netherlands).
     
     


  • April 15, 2022

    In it for the long haul: Negotiating interdisciplinary “culture change” in engineering education reform.
     
    A work-in-progress by Annie Patrick, Matthew Wisnioski, and Lisa McNair, Virginia Tech (USA).
    Commentary by Caitlyn Wyle, University of Virginia (USA).
     
    Abstract
    How do engaged STS scholars and engineering educators work together over an extended period to make change? In 2015, the National Science Foundation created the Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) initiative to address persistent challenges in engineering education. A distinguishing feature of RED was its focus on “culture change” via interdisciplinary teams that brought social scientists and engineering education researchers into long-term departmental planning with the intention of creating sustainable, evidence-based, and reproducible results. In this study we analyze what happened when we translated this complex national imperative into local practice at our university. Focusing on the groundwork of critical participation, we reconstruct how we enacted culture change through visible and invisible negotiations. We draw on six years of documents, interviews, and ethnographic observations to show how interdisciplinary engineering education reform begins with different, often unstated, perspectives about culture change. We then trace how these meanings and practices evolved across time along with transformations in identities, departmental structures and power relations, and our own strategies of intervention. We demonstrate that culture change is a crucial but elusive concept for both engaged STS scholars and engineering educators, and that attending to its negotiations can reveal how change can be foreclosed, why efforts fail and succeed, and how projects can be revitalized and sustained.


  • March 18, 2022

    “Balance Work” on the Bleeding Edge: Women Engineers Managing Precarity in the Semiconductor Industry
    Sarah Appelhans, PhD, Bucknell University
    Comment:  Amy Slaton, Drexel University

     


  • February 18, 2022

    Johannes Lenhard and Ann Johnson, "Systems Thinking and the Mainframe Culture of Prediction." Chapter five from their forthcoming book, Prediction as Practice and Culture.
     
    Commentary from Davis Baird, professor of philosophy at Clark University.
     
    Click the link below to download the book's table of contents, introduction, and fifth chapter.


  • January 21, 2022

    “Engineering Studies in the Real World”  
    This session explores where, why, and with what impacts engineering studies is being practiced outside of the academy. We will hear from panelists who pursue history, philosophy, ethnography as engaged practices in the investigation of engineering failures, NASA decision-making, and issues of ethics and responsibility at the National Academy of Engineering. We especially encourage others practicing engineering studies beyond the academy to join us. 
    Panelists

    • Julie Mark Cohen, Independent Scholar
    • Zachary Pirtle, NASA
    • Courtney Hill, National Academy of Engineering

    Moderator


  • December 21, 2021

    *Note Special Time*
    Joint meeting with the History of Technology Working Group
    Ryan Hearty, Johns Hopkins University
    "Monitoring Water Quality in US Rivers in the 1950 and 1960s: information, communication, and applied sciences"


  • October 15, 2021

    TBA


  • September 24, 2021

    A discussion with Jessica M. Smith of her forthcoming book in the Engineering Studies Series of MIT Press, Extracting Accountability: Engineers and Corporate Social Responsibility (MIT Press, 2021). Comments from Rider Foley (University of Virginia) and Thomas De Pree (University of New Mexico and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute).
     
    Please read chapter 3 for the discussion (attached). Or, to download the entire book, click here.


  • June 18, 2021

    No meeting this month. Have a happy and restful June!
     


  • May 21, 2021

    “ABET’s Errant Evaluators and the Limits of Accreditation as a Mode of Governance in Engineering Education”
    Atsushi Akera (Rensselaer), Sarah Appelhans (U Albany), Rafael Burgos-Mirabal (U Mass Amherst), Alan Cheville (Bucknell), Thomas DuPree (Univ. New Mexico), Soheil Fatehiboroujeni (Cornell), Jennifer Karlin (Minnesota State, Mankato), Donna Riley (Purdue)
    Commentator: Julia Williams, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


Group Conveners

  • RossB's picture

    Ross Bassett

    Ross Bassett is a professor of history at North Carolina State University. He is the author of The Technological Indian (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016) and To the Digital Age (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Penn and worked at IBM before earning his Ph.D. in history from Princeton. He is currently working on the connections between the American and French engineering education systems in the post-World War II era.

     

  • rhearty1's picture

    Ryan Hearty

    Ryan Hearty ​completed his MA in history of science and technology in 2019 at Johns Hopkins University, where he is pursuing his PhD and writing a dissertation on interdisciplinary collaboration and conflict among water quality experts in the United States between 1945 and 1980. As a former engineer, he has worked on the radio communications for NASA's Parker Solar Probe at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and has a masterʼs degree in electrical engineering.

     

  • matt.wisnioski's picture

    Matt Wisnioski

    Matthew Wisnioski​ is associate professor of science, technology, and society at Virginia Tech. He is the author of ​Engineers for Change​ (MIT Press, 2012) and co-editor of ​Does America Need More Innovators? ​(MIT Press, 2019). He is co-editor of MIT Pressʼs Engineering Studies series and chair of the board of the journal ​Engineering Studies​. He has also written extensively on the intersections of art, science, and engineering. He earned his B.S. in materials science and engineering from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. He is currently writing a book on the rise of innovation culture from World War II to the present.

     

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