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  • The Tacoma Meeting, 30 September-3 October 2010

The fifty-second annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology took place in the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Washington, from 30 September to 3 October 2010. Members of the program committee were Asif Siddiqi (chair), Eda Kranakis, and Tiago Saraiva. Serving on the local arrangements committe were: Bruce Hevly (chair), Keith Benson, Brian Schefke, Brian Freer, and Matt Sneddon (University of Washington, Seattle), Michael Allen and Michael Kutcher (University of Washington, Tacoma), and James Evans, Mott Greene, and Kirsten Soloman (University of Puget Sound). Thanks also to Rueben McKnight (Tacoma Heritage Commission), Dave Louter (National Park Service), Hillary Hunt (Port of Tacoma), and Andrea Mensink and Tami Music (Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau) for assistance with local arrangements. Sponsoring institutions included Johns Hopkins University Press, Committee for the History of Environment and Technology at the University of Virginia, University of Puget Sound, and Pacific Lutheran University. Special thanks go to W. Bernard and Jane Carlson.

Annual Meeting Sessions

Opening Plenary: The Past, Present, and Future of Technology and Culture: The View of Three Editors

Moderator: Wiebe Bijker, Maastricht University, Netherlands

Panelists: Robert C. Post, National Museum of American History; John Staudenmaier, S.J., University of Detroit Mercy; Suzanne Moon, University of Oklahoma

The Agency of Infrastructure

Chair and Comment: Bryan Pfaffenberger, University of Virginia

Papers: "Impersonal Rule," Chandra Mukerji, University of California, San Diego; "Moving Rivers: Lowland Water Management in Nineteenth-Century Japan," Philip Brown, Ohio State University; "Landscapes of Technology: [End Page 159] Infrastructure as Mode of Urbanism in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Belgium," Greet De Block, University of Leuven, Belgium

Patent Regimes

Chair and Comment: Paul Israel, Rutgers University

Papers: "How Differences in the U.S. and British Patent Systems Created Two 'First Inventors' of Vulcanized Rubber in the Mid-Nineteenth Century," Cai Guise-Richardson, Chemical Heritage Foundation; "Property, Protection, or Monopoly? Diverse Nineteenth-Century Metaphors for Patents in the UK," Graeme Gooday, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Big Things

Chair and Comment: Bruce Seely, Michigan Tech

Papers: "From 'Going to Work' to 'Out of Work' in Space: Perspectives on the Career of the Space Shuttle," Valerie Neal, National Air and Space Museum; "Challenging the Creation Myth of Carrier Aviation: U.S. Naval Aviation and the Navy before World War II," Laurence M. Burke, Carnegie Mellon University; "Sup'ung Dam and the Innovation of Electric Power Systems on the Colonial Periphery," Oh Sun-sil, Seoul National University, South Korea

Feeding Nationalism

Chair and Comment: Tae-Ho Kim, Columbia University

Papers: "Taste and Technology: Cultural Politics of Rice Consumption in China, 1927-37," Seung-joon Lee, National University of Singapore; "Yogurt Transformation: From Homemade Product to Bulgarian Yogurt," Elitsa Stoilova, Plovdiv University, Bulgaria

The Power of Mundane Things

Chair and Comment: Steve Usselman, Georgia Tech

Papers: "Polaroid Photography from Toy to Attraction," Peter Buse, University of Salford, United Kingdom; "The Power of Things: Towards a Phenomenological History of Technology," Mats Fridlund, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; "The Supply and Demand for Duct Tape," Tisha Hooks, Yale University

Consuming Expertise: Experts' Role in Shaping Food Production and Consumption in Global Contexts

Organizer: Kellen Backer, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Chair and Comment: Linda Nash, University of Washington [End Page 160]

Papers: "Rationalizing Food: World War II Rations and the Making of American Food," Kellen Backer, University of Wisconsin, Madison; "The Missing Masses in a Cold War Food Story," Jenny Leigh Smith, Georgia Tech; "'Broadening Tomorrow's Markets': The International Farm Youth Exchange and Agricultural Development after World War II," Amrys O. Williams, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Networks as Places in the History of Computing

Organizer and Chair: Thomas Haigh, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Comment: Jennifer S. Light, Northwestern University

Papers: "Shaping the Landscapes of Cyberspace: West Coast Metaphors," Sue Thomas, De Montfort University, United Kingdom; "Diverging Paths to a Networked World: Computerizing Spanish and British Savings Banks, 1965-90," J. Carles Maixé-Altés, University of A Coruña, Spain; "'Not Lost in Translation': How English Became the Common Language of Computer Science, 1960-74," Ksenia Tatarchenko, Princeton University

Approaches to Industrialization

Chair and Comment: Nina Lerman, Whitman College Papers: "Preindustrial Artisan Cultures in Early Modern Europe: Clock-making and...