Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 1 hour
Seminars / Tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay: 2 essays (1 x 4,000 words, 1 x 2,500 words)  40%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
a) Demonstrate familiarity with a substantial body of historical knowledge in the field of science and technology history. Be familiar with a range of specific themes in this field, to include technology and work, the role of the state in scientific and technological change, civil-military scientific and technological relationships, and a gender-sensitive analysis of science and technology history.
b) Engage in source criticism, discussion and understanding of the nature of scientific and technological change and its effects on society. Students will be able to critically appraise the changing nature of the history of science and technology, confronting, in particular, the origins and cogency of the social construction school.
c) Demonstrate familiarity with a wide range of historical techniques relevant to the history of science and technology and reflecting, in particular, a sensitivity to the social, political, institutional, cultural and economic contexts in which scientific and technological change takes place.
d) Gather and sift appropriate items of historical evidence
e) Read, analyse and reflect critically on secondary and primary texts.
f) Explore the relationships between history and other disciplines, particularly between history and sociology and cultural studies.
g) Develop the ability to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of particular historical arguments and where necessary challenge them.
h) Develop oral (not assessed) and written skills which will have been improved through seminar discussions and essays
i) Work both independently and collaboratively, and to participate in group discussions (not assessed).

Brief description

This option module examines the interaction between science and technology and change in society, predominantly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is international in scope, focusing mainly on developments in Japan, Germany, Britain, the USA, and the Soviet Union. The module is thematic rather than chronological. It begins by looking generally at the ways in which developemnts in science and technology are brought about, taking issue with the idea that science and technology are neutral, progressive forces independent of society. It locates scientists and engineers within social, political and cultural environments. Bearing in mind these larger theoretical issues the module goes on to look at key areas and in more depth. These include i) science and technology and work - how has large scale corporate science evolved into the 20th century? What has the emphasis on technology meant to people's working lives? ii) Science and the state - how have governments (of widely differing ideological make-up) managed and shaped science and technology? Has military funding been a benefit or burden to civil society? iii) Science, technology and gender - have women been excluded from science and engineering? How has technology restructured the role of women at work and in the home? iv) genetic engineering - what are the political and moral issues involved? v) alternative technology - smaller, greener solutions. Where do these originate and are they feasible? Seminars will revolve around case studies of individuals or technologies - from atom bombs to mountain bikes; from fridges to the human genome.


This module is at CQFW Level 6