Monday, March 31, 2014

Articles of Interest in AHA Perspectives

The current issue of the AHA's Perspectives on History (now ungated) features two articles of interest to readers of this blog. The first is an article by Barbara Hahn on the history of technology: "The Social in the Machine: How Historians of Technology Look Beyond the Object." She writes,
Despite public fascination with technology, the approaches and understandings of technology’s historians do not much penetrate popular consciousness. For example, a difficult-to-shake belief in technological determinism—the idea that tools and inventions drive change, rather than humans—is widespread. But most research into the history of technology undermines this widespread assumption. Technology itself has causes—human causes. If it didn’t, it would have no history. So the field by its very existence fights common misconceptions about technology.
Barbara Hahn is associate professor of history at Texas Tech University and the author of Making Tobacco Bright: Creating an American Commodity, 1617–1937 (Johns Hopkins University Press). She is also the associate editor of Technology and Culture and a Trustee of the Business History Conference. She tweets at @behahn.

    The second article of interest is by Chris McNickle, a history Ph.D. who served as the global head of institutional business for Fidelity Worldwide Investment. In "A Historian in the World of Investments: How Historical Thinking Resonates in Business," he argues that "As a discipline, history offers as compelling a framework for business decision making as any of the courses of study more commonly championed by those inside city skyscrapers and suburban office parks." McNickle is the author of numerous books and articles on New York City history and investment-related topics.