Humanities >> History of Science and Technology

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Course Info

  • Course Number / Code:
  • STS.036 (Spring 2008) 
  • Course Title:
  • Technology and Nature in American History 
  • Course Level:
  • Undergraduate 
  • Offered by :
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Massachusetts, United States  
  • Department:
  • Science, Technology, and Society 
  • Course Introduction:

  • STS.036 Technology and Nature in American History

    Spring 2008

    Course Highlights

    STS.036 Technology and Nature in American History

    Spring 2008

    A photo of two rows of tall concrete grain elevators with a few railroad cars.
    Grain elevators dwarf a few rail cars near Amarillo, Texas. The growth of railroads and industrial-scale agriculture are among the topics covered in this class. (Photo by Jack Delano, March 1943. Courtesy of The Library of Congress Flickr Commons project.)

    Course Description

    This course considers how the visual and material world of "nature" has been reshaped by industrial practices, ideologies, and institutions, particularly in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Topics include land-use patterns; the changing shape of cities and farms; the redesign of water systems; the construction of roads, dams, bridges, irrigation systems; the creation of national parks; ideas about wilderness; and the role of nature in an industrial world. From small farms to suburbia, Walden Pond to Yosemite, we will ask how technological and natural forces have interacted, and whether there is a place for nature in a technological world.


    This class is based on one originally designed and taught by Prof. Deborah Fitzgerald. Her Fall 2004 version can be viewed by following the link under Archived Courses on the right side of this page.


This course content is a redistribution of MIT Open Courses. Access to the course materials is free to all users.

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