Science and Technology Studies, Environment

How do networks of technology change politics, culture, social relations, and the environment? How are knowledge-making and power related? How do the class, gender, race, and environmental contexts shape science, technology, and medicine? Historical studies of science, technology, and medicine, often working closely with environmental studies, are among the most exciting new areas of historical study of recent decades. History faculty at Minnesota are particularly interested in the cultural, intellectual, and social aspects of science and technology, from early modern to post-modern times, in the West and non-Western worlds.

The history of science, technology, and medicine means more than the development of space science, atomic weapons, genetics, or modern hospital system; it includes various ways of observing and “knowing” nature and of changing or preserving our physical and spiritual worlds, healing our bodies, and engineering society with a vision of the future. Therefore, the questions we investigate include not only how scientific discoveries are made, or how diseases are cured. We also explore how experts and knowledge-makers view the world; how scientific values clash or work together with religious, cultural, and ideological values; what technologies enable empires to be built; how science fiction envisions the future; and how our sense of time, space, and the body have been shaped through new technologies.

See list of faculty