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Vilja Reads

I'm a student, so I don't have nearly as much time for leisure reading as I'd like. If I manage to read an entire course book instead of just the assigned chapters, I'll review that here, too.

Hubris and Hybrids: A Cultural History of Technology and Science

Hubris and Hybrids: A Cultural History of Technology and Science - Mikael Hxe5rd, Andrew Jamison

The title of the book refers to Hård and Jamison's contention that scientific aspiration rests largely on hubris, and that the men (only men) who have been central figures in forming the (Western-centric) history of technology were often "hybrid figures" straddling or crossing the lines between science, technology and social engineering.



I was prejudiced against this book from chapter one. It's hard not to be suspicious of a history of technology that describes Francis Crick and Alexander Graham Bell as heroic figures without mentioning that they stole the work they're best remembered for, or that brushes away all contributions of women scientists and craftsmen as insignificant. But to be fair - Hård and Jamison are talking about the Western narratives of technology's history, not the minutiae, and those narratives do tend to make heroes of Western men. Nonetheless, this book makes no attempt to be any different.


Leaving that aside, the style of the book, which was probably intended to be accessible and dynamic, manages to come off as undisciplined and pompous.


Is it a good summary of the history of our cultural conceptions of technology? Does it do a good job of describing technology's integration into and adoption (or "appropriation" as the authors prefer to call it) by society? Hard to say. I lost my faith in the authors early on, and with it most of my interest in the storylines they attempted to sketch.