The Craft of Premodern European History of Technology: Past and Future Practice
Abstract

This essay discusses the history of technology for premodern Europe in terms of historiography and contemporary practices. It treats the origins of the history of technology in the Annales School as developed by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre. It focuses on the early years of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), including early participants such as Lynn White jr., Melvin Kranzberg, Lewis Mumford, and Abbot Payson Usher. It treats contemporary work in the history of premodern technology across a number of fields including hydrology, mining, textiles, and building construction and emphasizes the importance of primary source research, local history, and traditional technologies as opposed to the traditional focus on invention. Finally, it discusses the future of the field and the importance of developing relationships with other disciplines, such as archaeology and material culture studies.


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