This special issue of American Quarterly asks powerful and poignant questions about technology and its effects on our bodies, minds, families, economies, armies, and academies. Technology is an entry point for American studies scholars to find new and creative ways to think through social and cultural problems. The essays in this collection provide an interdisciplinary exploration of the ways scholars of culture use the study of technology to examine the flows, conflicts, tensions, and hazards of American culture.
Re-reading the narrative of U.S. technology, the contributors move beyond celebrations of exceptional tinkerers and a deterministic machine-driven sense of progress and form a more comprehensive understanding of opportunities and responsibilities that befall a nation that interweaves its identities, labors, and creative cultures with its machines. Discussing technologies of transcendence; the cultural work of technological systems; technology and knowledge systems; and technology, mobility, and the body; they consider the place of American technologies in an increasingly globalized, multi-polar, high-tech world and illuminate the relationship between technological positivism and the dynamics of imperialism and war.
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