Histories of Technology, the Environment and Modern Britain
Edited by Jon Agar and Jacob Ward
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
2 Encroaching Irish bogland frontiers: science, policy and aspirations from the 1770s to the 1840s
3 Landscape with bulldozer: machines, modernity and environment in post-war Britain
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
6 The Agriculture Gallery: displaying modern farming in the Science Museum
7 About Britain: driving the landscape of Britain (at speed?)
8 Crops in a machine: industrialising barley breeding in twentieth-century Britain
9 Plants are technologies
Dominic J. Berry
10 Oceanscapes and spacescapes in North Atlantic communications
11 The Thames Barrier: climate change, shipping and the transition to a new envirotechnical regime
12 The woods for the state
13 The UK government’s environmentalism: Britain, NATO and the origins of environmental diplomacy
14 Simulating the global environment: the British Government’s response to The Limits to Growth
Format: Open Access PDF
Publication: April 09, 2018