Public Lecture: Edward Jones-Imhotep, Histories from Broken Worlds

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The York University Graduate History Student Association (GHSA) invites you to our Historian’s Craft conferences 2020-2021. This Tuesday, March 23rd at 2 PM EST, our guest speaker is Professor Edward Jones-Imhotep, the Director of the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST), an ongoing visiting professorship at the University of Paris (Panthéon-Assas), and the co-founder of Toronto’s TechnoScience Salon, a public forum for humanities-based discussions about science and technology. 

In this session of Historian’s Craft, Professor Jones-Imhotep will discuss the challenges and rewards of researching and writing histories of breakage, malfunction, and accident, and what those incidents reveal about the social and cultural lives of technologies. The talk will draw from his new book project – Fallible Humans, Untrustworthy Machines – which explores how modern observers from the late-18th to the early 20th centuries understood the failure of machines as a problem of the self— a problem of the kinds of people that failing machines created, or threatened, or presupposed. 

A Ph.D. in the history of science and technology from Harvard University, Dr. Edward Jones-Imhotep is a historian of the social and cultural life of machines. He is interested in two broad themes: the changing historical boundaries between technology and nature; and the historical intersections of machines and social order. His work is particularly concerned with histories of technological failure — breakdowns, malfunctions, accidents — and what they reveal about the place of machines and the stakes of machine failures in the culture, politics, and economics of modern societies. 

Among several articles, he is the author of The Unreliable Nation: Hostile Nature and Technological Failure in the Cold War and the editor of Made Modern: Science and Technology in Canadian History.

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