ISBN-10:
0262232235
ISBN-13:
9780262232234
Pub. Date:
08/30/2002
Publisher:
MIT Press
Retooling: A Historian Confronts Technological Change

Retooling: A Historian Confronts Technological Change

by Rosalind Williams

Hardcover

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Overview

A humanistic account of the changing role of technology in society, by a historian and a former Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education at MIT.

When Warren Kendall Lewis left Spring Garden Farm in Delaware in 1901 to enter MIT, he had no idea that he was becoming part of a profession that would bring untold good to his country but would also contribute to the death of his family's farm. In this book written a century later, Professor Lewis's granddaughter, a cultural historian who has served in the administration of MIT, uses her grandfather's and her own experience to make sense of the rapidly changing role of technology in contemporary life.

Rosalind Williams served as Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education at MIT from 1995 through 2000. From this vantage point, she watched a wave of changes, some planned and some unexpected, transform many aspects of social and working life—from how students are taught to how research and accounting are done—at this major site of technological innovation. In Retooling, she uses this local knowledge to draw more general insights into contemporary society's obsession with technology.

Today technology-driven change defines human desires, anxieties, memories, imagination, and experiences of time and space in unprecedented ways. But technology, and specifically information technology, does not simply influence culture and society; it is itself inherently cultural and social. If there is to be any reconciliation between technological change and community, Williams argues, it will come from connecting technological and social innovation—a connection demonstrated in the history that unfolds in this absorbing book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262232234
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 08/30/2002
Series: The MIT Press
Pages: 270
Product dimensions: 5.38(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rosalind Williams is Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology.

What People are Saying About This

Peter Galison

In Retooling, Rosalind Williams has written a book that darts across genres as she grapples with the meaning of contemporary engineering through the lens of MIT. Williams's perspective is current, vivid, and smart, framed by a strong sense of where the Institute has been and where it is heading now, even as the institution faces tough internal debates about the role of work, enterprise, and teaching. The status of women faculty, student suicides, and the events of September 11 figure alongside arguments about the meaning of re-engineering and virtual learning. Throughout, Williams offers us a complex vision of engineering from the central administration of one of its great citadels.

Endorsement

In Retooling, Rosalind Williams has written a book that darts across genres as she grapples with the meaning of contemporary engineering through the lens of MIT. Williams's perspective is current, vivid, and smart, framed by a strong sense of where the Institute has been and where it is heading now, even as the institution faces tough internal debates about the role of work, enterprise, and teaching. The status of women faculty, student suicides, and the events of September 11 figure alongside arguments about the meaning of re-engineering and virtual learning. Throughout, Williams offers us a complex vision of engineering from the central administration of one of its great citadels.

Peter Galison, Mallinckrodt Professor of the History of Science and of Physics, Harvard University

From the Publisher

In Retooling, Rosalind Williams has written a book that darts across genres as she grapples with the meaning of contemporary engineering through the lens of MIT. Williams's perspective is current, vivid, and smart, framed by a strong sense of where the Institute has been and where it is heading now, even as the institution faces tough internal debates about the role of work, enterprise, and teaching. The status of women faculty, student suicides, and the events of September 11 figure alongside arguments about the meaning of re-engineering and virtual learning. Throughout, Williams offers us a complex vision of engineering from the central administration of one of its great citadels.

Peter Galison , Mallinckrodt Professor of the History of Science and of Physics, Harvard University

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