Engineers for Change
Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America
MIT Press 2012
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in Science, Technology, and SocietyNew Books Network February 26, 2013 Carla Nappi
In his compelling and fascinating account of how engineers navigated new landscapes of technology and its discontents in 1960s America, Matthew Wisnioski takes us into the personal and professional transformations of a group of thinkers and practitioners who have been both central to the history of science and technology, and conspicuously under-represented in its historiography. Between 1964 and 1974, engineers in America wrestled with the ethical and intellectual implications of an “ideology of technological change.” Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America (MIT Press, 2012) takes us into the debates among engineers over their responsibilities for crafting a future in a world where nuclear weapons and chemical pollutants were now facts of life, as citizens were rising in support of environmental and civil rights, and in protest of war and violence. Wisnioski introduces us to the changing resonances of and debates over key concepts in the print culture of engineers in mid-century America, key experiments in the pedagogy and training of engineers at major US institutions, and key efforts to promote creativity in the profession by collaborating with artists, social activists, and others. The book situates all of this within a wonderful introduction to the classic historiography of social studies of technology and engineering, and is illustrated with striking images from the visual culture of engineering in the 1960s. Readers interested in how these issues extend into the more recent history of technology will also find much of interest in Wisnioski’s accounts of Engineers Without Borders and the Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace (ESJP) Network. Enjoy!