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  • The Portland Meeting, 10–13 October 2013

The fifty-sixth annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology took place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, Maine, USA, from 10 to 13 October 2013. Members of the program committee were Audra Wolfe (chair), Lars Heide, and Andreas Fickers. The local arrangements committee included Paul Josephson (chair), James Fleming, Howard Segal, and Rebecca Herzig. Thanks also to SHOT webmaster Allen Miller and to Bill Kelsh for assistance at registration. Special thanks go W. Bernard and Jane Carlson.

Annual Meeting Sessions

Opening Plenary: The Multiple Histories of Technology: Opportunities and Challenges

Chair: Bruce Seely, Michigan Technological University

Panelists: Mara Mills, New York University; Scott Knowles, Drexel University; William Storey, Millsaps College; Jenny Smith, Georgia Tech

President’s Roundtable: Interdisciplinarity and the History of Technology: Why Diversity Matters

Organizers: Anke Ortleppt, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, and Chandra Bhimull, Colby College

Panelists: Anke Ortlepp, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität; Chandra Bhimull, Colby College; Martin Collins, National Air and Space Museum; Phil Tiemeyer, Philadelphia University; Jennifer C. Reut, American Historical Association

The Nature of Risk: Envirotech Approaches to Accidents

Organizer: Peter Soppelsa, University of Oklahoma

Chair: Thomas Zeller, University of Maryland

Commentator: Scott Knowles, Drexel University [End Page 198]

Papers: “Water and Electric Railway Accidents in Paris around 1900,” Peter Soppelsa, University of Oklahoma; “Film and the Politics of Infrastructural Visibility: Total’s Risky Images of North Sea Drilling,” Brian R. Jacobson, University of St Andrews; “Accidents and Risk Perception: A Historical Analysis of ‘Civic Dislocation’ in the Archipelago of La Maddalena (Italy, 2003),” Davide Orsini, University of Michigan

President’s Roundtable: Cultures of Use: Histories of Technology Beyond Invention and Innovation

Organizer: Arwen Mohun, University of Delaware

Chair: David Nye, University of Southern Denmark

Panelists: Aaron Alcorn, Independent Scholar; Francesca Bray, University of Edinburgh; Mats Fridlund, University of Gothenburg; Tisha Hooks, Yale University; Arwen Mohun, University of Delaware; William Storey, Millsaps College

Expertise, Efficiency, Entertainment? Educational Technology in the United States, 1930–2000

Organizer and Chair: Victoria Cain, Northeastern University

Commentator: Amy Slaton, Drexel University

Papers: “Constructing Teachers Through Technology, 1930–1960,” Victoria Cain, New York University; “‘Can Our Kids Hack It with Computers?’: Making Hacking ‘Family-Friendly,’ 1983–1987,” Meryl Alper, University of Southern California; “Playing the Environment: Advocacy and Web-Based Video Games in Contemporary American Children’s Culture,” Rebecca Onion, Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science

“Object Lessons,” or, Learning from Artifacts in the History of Technology

Organizer and Commentator: Joseph Corn, Stanford University

Chair: Allison Marsh, University of South Carolina

Papers: “Countless Connecting Threads: New Insights from MIT’s Material Culture,” Deborah Douglas; “‘Hear My Voice’: Learning from Alexander Graham Bell’s Volta Laboratory Sound Recordings,” Carlene Stephens, Smithsonian National Museum of American History; “Message in a Model: Mining on Display at the U.S. National Museum, 1910s–1940s,” Eric Nystrom, Rochester Institute of Technology; “Atomic Deliveryman on Display: The Enola Gay and American Understanding of the Hiroshima Bombing,” Emily Margolis, Johns Hopkins University [End Page 199]

Symbolic Power and Technological Display

Chair and Commentator: Audra J. Wolfe, Independent Scholar, Philadelphia

Papers: “Nation-Building: The Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project,” Daniel Macfarlane, Michigan State University; “Court Holidays Electrified: Technological Novelties in Russian Palaces of the Nineteenth Century,” Natalia Nikiforova, St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics, and Optics; “Arnold Frutkin and the Rhetoric of Cooperation in Space: Transnational Discourse in Space Exploration at NASA, 1959–1979,” Petar G. Markovski, University of Oklahoma

Engineers as Reflective Practitioners: Idealistic, Predictive, and Innovative Selves (sponsored by the Prometheans)

Organizer: Adelheid Voskuhl, University of Pennsylvania

Chair: Ron Kline, Cornell University

Commentator: Cyrus Mody, Rice University

Papers: “Industry and Philosophy: Engineers’ Abstraction and Reflection on Technology, Epistemology, and Culture in 1920s Germany,” Adelheid Voskuhl, University of Pennsylvania; “Be an Innovation Millionaire! Innovation Expertise as Self-Help in the Post-Vietnam Era,” Matthew Wisnioski, Virginia Tech; “Cultures of Prediction in Engineering: The Rational, the Complex, and the Human,” Ann Johnson, University of South Carolina

Spatial Exploration

Chair and Commentator: Eda Kranakis, University of Ottawa

Papers: “Technological Heroes: Polar Aviation and Masculine Heroism,” Marionne Cronin, University of Aberdeen; “Sailing West in Brazil’s Aerial Ocean: Airmindedness and...