You are here: Home Outreach Weekly Reading Seminar Series A Global History of Things

A Global History of Things

A Global History of Things
Yogesh Raj

Seminar Schedule @ Nepā School
Starting from August 16, 2013

 This seminar is a critical engagement with society through the history of things in use. It will provide insights into how one could explain the overabundance of stuffs in modern society. Moving beyond the conventional innovation-centric approaches, the seminar aims to revise the existing narratives on the relationship between technology and society. It will enable the participants to develop mature views on what technology is, how history of things can be written, and how such a history may alter the way economy, politics and culture are currently analysed. The seminar will deliberate on the origins, rise, spread and disuse of some everyday things, but through these stories, will question the validity of established categories of historical analysis.


Seminar 1: Thinking through Things.
David Edgerton, Introduction, The Shock of the Old (London: Profile Books, 2006), pp. i-xviii.
David Edgerton, Innovation, Technology, or History: What is the History of Technology about?, Technology and Culture, 51(3) (July 2010), pp. 680-697.
Frank Trentman, Materiality in the Future of History, Journal of British Studies 48 (April 2009), pp. 283-307.
Latour, Bruno, Can We Get Our Materialism Back, Please, Isis 98 (2007), pp. 138-142.

Seminar 2: Significance.
David Edgerton, Significance, The Shock of the Old, pp. 1-27.
R. L. DiNardo and A. Bay, Horse-Drawn Transport in the German Army, Journal of Contemporary History (1988), pp.129-41.
Daniel Roche, Equestrian Culture in France from Sixteenth to Nineteenth Century, Past and Present 199 (2008), pp. 113-145.
Sandra Swart, The World the Horses Made: A South African Case Study of Writing Animals in Social History, International Review of Social History 55(2010), pp. 241-263.

Seminar 3: Time.
David Edgerton, Time, The Shock of the Old, pp. 28-51.
Svante Lindqvist, Changes in the Technological Landscape: The Temporal Dimension in the Growth and Decline of Large Technological Systems, in Ove Granstrand (ed.), Economics of Technology (Amsterdam: North Holland, 1994), pp. 271-288.
Rapahel Samuel, Workshop of the World: Steam Engines and Hand Technology in Mid-Victorian Britain, History Workshop Journal 3 (1977), pp. 6-72.
Cordovil, Bruno, De-electrifying the History of Street Lighting, A Draft Paper Presented at CHoSTM Seminar (2008).

Seminar 4: Production and Consumption.
David Edgerton, Production, The Shock of the Old, pp. 52-74.
Joachim Radkau, Paths into the Thicket of History, Wood: A History, tr. Patrick Camiller (London: Polity, 2012), pp. 13-55.
Ruhi Grover, Rites of Passage: The Mobility of Timber in Colonial North India, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 23 (2000), pp. 39-64.
Raymond L. Bryant, Consuming Burmese Teak: Anatomy of a Violent Luxury Resource, Environment, Politics and Development Working Paper Series-25, Department of Geography, King’s College London. Available at working. html.

Seminar 5: Maintenance and Repair.
David Edgerton, Maintenance, The Shock of the Old, pp. 75-102.
Chung-his Lin, The Silenced Technology – The Beauty and Sorrow of the Reassembled Cars, East Asian Science, Technology and Society, an International Journal 3 (2009), 91-131.
Jojada Verrips and Birgit Meyer, Kwaku’s Car. The Struggles and Stories of a Ghanaian Long Distance Taxi Driver, in Daniel Miller (ed.), Car Cultures (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2001)

Seminar 6: Recycle.
Tirtha Bista and Yogesh Raj, The Kabaadi Network in the Kathmandu Valley, MC Report (2013).
Marria Sarraf et al, Shipbreaking and Recycling Industry in Bangladesh and Pakistan (Washington: World Bank, 2010).

Seminar 7: Rearrange.
Volker Hess and J. Andrew Mendelsohn, Case and Series: Medical Knowledge and Paper Technology, 1600-1900, History of Science, XLVIII (2010), pp. 287-314.

Seminar 8: Things as Historical Signatures.
Giorgio Agamben, The Signature of All Things: On Method (New York: Zone Books, 2009), Theory of Signatures, pp. 33-80.
Georges Perec, On the Stairs 1-12, Life: A User’s Manual , tr. David Bellos (London: Harvill, 1987), pp. 3-6, 59-62, 125-131, 157-161, 166, 183-184, 213-220, 262-263, 327-328, 371-383, 465-467.