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Geopolitics and Justice Cluster Seminar-‘Technology as a Geographical Keyword’
May 22 @ 4:00 pm
by Prof. Scott Kirsch
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
While for centuries technology referred to a systematic study of the ‘practical arts’ – typically in the form of a book or technical manual – the term’s usage has expanded so dramatically that today we think nothing of the same word being used to describe a set of methods, a specific piece of machinery, or the totality of our collective means and capabilities. From a textbook to an ethnological category, and from mechanical objects to infrastructural networks and large technological systems, historical geographers, in turn, have been left to explain the world technology has “made.” Through a materialist keyword approach to the career of technology, this paper raises questions about what it means to think of things, processes, and relations as technological, and explores the implications of the idea of technology – understood in terms of its integrative, meaning-making, cultural work – for the histories and geographies that we produce.
Scott Kirsch (email@example.com) is Professor of Geography at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include the politics and culture of technology; nuclear landscapes; 19th- and 20th-century US science; history of scientific exploration and cartography; US geopolitics and empire, especially in the Philippines and Asia/Pacific; and geographies of war and peace. He is author of Proving Grounds: Project Plowshare and the Unrealized Dream of Nuclear Earthmoving (Rutgers University Press, 2005) and editor (with Colin Flint) of Reconstructing Conflict: Integrating War and Post-War Geographies (Routledge 2011). He is currently writing a book about America’s “insular empire” in the Philippines.