HIS 350L • Electrification-W
In this seminar, we will examine the many ways in which electrical technologies have changed the workings of the world and the lives of ordinary people over the past 150 years. We will look at the history both of the electrical power systems on which we have all come to rely, and of the telecommunications networks (telegraph, telephone, radio, TV, and the Internet) that now connect us together. We will give particular attention to the electrical history of the Austin area, which turns out to provide particularly revealing instances of many of the developments we will be discussing.
After our first few meetings, our sessions will alternate: on most Tuesdays, I will present background material on a topic, and then at our Thursday meeting a pair of students will lead our discussion of the assigned readings on that topic. About the last third of the semester will be devoted to presentation and discussion of student research papers.
This is a "Substantial Writing Component" course. You will be expected to write a 4-5 page paper related to the topic of your class presentation, and a 16-20 page research paper on a topic of your choice, to be presented to the class toward the end of the term and then revised before final grading. Each of you will also be required to write a short critique of another student's draft paper. Grades will be based on your class presentation (10%), your two papers (15% and 45%), your critique (10%), and class participation (20%).
David Nye, Electrifying America; Susan Smulyan, Selling Radio; a course packet