Stevens Institute of Technology
College of Arts & Letters
Program in History

HHS 312: Technology & Society in America
Dr. Andrew L. Russell
email: arussell at stevens dot edu
Office Telephone: 201-216-5400
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 2-2.50 pm; and by appointment
Office: Morton 329

, 9.00 - 11.50 am
Classroom: McLean 105

Link to Schedule, Reading List, and Assignments

Course Description

This course examines episodes in American technological development, and emphasizes the social, cultural, political, and economic significance of technology in American history. In the Spring 2011 semester, students in HHS 312 will concentrate on two historical methods: digital history and oral history. The practice of digital history includes the use of online source material in research as well as the online publication of research results; oral histories may be published online, but the study of oral history also considers broader questions about the collection, interpretation, and dissemination of historical information created through interviews. Students will study theoretical considerations and examples of both methods before moving on to produce their own original works of digital and/or oral history. Assignments also will include the analysis of digital and oral history projects that document events in American technological history, including the creation of the atomic bomb, the development of the Internet, the dot-com crash, and the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Course and Program Objectives and Outcomes

Textbooks to purchase
(available in the campus store):

Donald A. Ritchie
Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide
Oxford University Press (2nd edition, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0195154347

Alessandro Portelli
The Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories: Form and Meaning in Oral History
State University Press of New York (1991)
ISBN-10: 0791404307

Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig
Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web
University of Pennsylvania Press (2005)
ISBN-10: 0812219236
NB: this book is available online at

Humanities Resource Center:

If you want assistance writing your papers, you should ask for help well ahead of the paper's due date. For more information, get in touch with me and/or visit the Writing & Communications Center at Stevens in Morton 210 (Office Hours Mon-Fri, 11 am-5 pm).

Honor Board Policies:

You should by now be familiar with The Honor System at the Stevens Institute of Technology. It is your responsibility to uphold the ideals set forth in the Honor System Constitution. Specific student responsibilities include:

If you ever have questions about how to interpret the Honor System in relation to your work in this class, please get in touch with me.

Students with disabilities:

If you require special accommodations due to a disability, or if you need individual arrangements should the building be evacuated, you must inform the office of Student Counseling and Psychological Services, Dr. Terence Hannigan, Director, in the Howe Center, 7th floor (x5177), and complete the Faculty Contact Form. Once you have done so, you should ask to meet with me so that we can work out any special arrangements that may be necessary.

Grades and Course Policies

Attendance is mandatory. Any absences must be accounted for by notifying me before the start of class. Otherwise I will need verification from an outside authority (i.e., doctor, coach, another professor) explaining why it was necessary for you to miss class. Cell phones should either be turned off or silenced. Students may not use laptops or other computers in class without my permission. Any students in violation of these simple rules will be marked as absent for that particular class.

Grades will be based on the following criteria:

Percentages are approximate. I will determine final weights at the end of the course. I reserve the right to give pop quizzes.

Link to Schedule, Reading List, and Assignments