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Histories of Technology, the Environment and Modern Britain

Edited by Jon Agar and Jacob Ward

ISBN: 9781911576570

Publication: April 09, 2018

What is this?

Histories of Technology, the Environment and Modern Britain brings together historians with a wide range of interests to take a uniquely wide-lens view of how technology and the environment have been intimately and irreversibly entangled in Britain over the last 300 years. It combines, for the first time, two perspectives with much to say about Britain since the industrial revolution: the history of technology and environmental history. Technologies are modified environments, just as nature is to varying extents engineered. Furthermore, technologies and our living and non-living environment are both predominant material forms of organisation – and self-organisation – that surround and make us. Both have changed over time, in intersecting ways.

Technologies discussed in the collection include bulldozers, submarine cables, automobiles, flood barriers, medical devices, museum displays and biotechnologies. Environments investigated include bogs, cities, farms, places of natural beauty and pollution, land and sea. The book explores this diversity but also offers an integrated framework for understanding these intersections.

Jacob Ward is a PhD candidate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL, and the Science Museum, London. His PhD thesis addresses the history of the so-called ‘information revolution’ in the British telephone network in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Jon Agar is Professor of Science and Technology Studies at UCL. He has written on the history of radio-astronomy, computing, and mobile phones, and his most recent book, Science in the Twentieth Century and Beyond, surveys the history of science across the twentieth century. He also co-edited Histories of Technology, the Environment and Modern Britain (UCL Press).

1 Technology, environment and modern Britain: historiography and intersections
Jon Agar
2 Encroaching Irish bogland frontiers: science, policy and aspirations from the 1770s to the 1840s
Esa Ruuskanen
3 Landscape with bulldozer: machines, modernity and environment in post-war Britain
Ralph Harrington
4 Locality and contamination along the transnational asbestos commodity chain
Jessica van Horssen
5 A machine in the garden: the compressed air bath and the nineteenth-century health resort
Jennifer Wallis
6 The Agriculture Gallery: displaying modern farming in the Science Museum
David Matless
7 About Britain: driving the landscape of Britain (at speed?)
Tim Cole
8 Crops in a machine: industrialising barley breeding in twentieth-century Britain
Matthew Holmes
9 Plants are technologies
Dominic J. Berry
10 Oceanscapes and spacescapes in North Atlantic communications
Jacob Ward
11 The Thames Barrier: climate change, shipping and the transition to a new envirotechnical regime
Matthew Kelly
12 The woods for the state 
Mat Paskins
13 The UK government’s environmentalism: Britain, NATO and the origins of environmental diplomacy
Simone Turchetti
14 Simulating the global environment: the British Government’s response to The Limits to Growth
Thomas Turnbull

Format: Open Access PDF

ISBN: 9781911576570

Publication: April 09, 2018

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