History of Technology in Teaching of History

R. A. Buchanan
1979, Vol. 12, No. 1,

Abstract


There is a potential misunderstanding implicit in the title 'History of technology in the teaching of history' which I would like to clear up at the outset. It could be inferred that I am postulating an essential link between two parts of an equation, as though the teaching of history were incomplete without the history of technology. This is not the case. The relationship between the history of technology and the teaching of history, though useful, is not a necessary one, and to declare or even imply that it is so would overstate the argument. Clio the Muse is a willing servant, always ready to meet the requests of historians for particular types of historical interpretation so that the study of history has come to assume many different forms. Of these, the history of technology is a comparative newcomer seeking to establish itself amongst the range of historical disciplines, and althoug.'1 there are important perspectives which it can bring to the study and teaching of history, it would be wildly presumptuous to claim that it is indispensable. Many traditional historians would dismiss any such claim out of hand, and they are not likely to be impressed by the modest plea that I wish to present. Nevertheless, to carry any conviction, it is important that the case should be presented and open for consideration by those teachers of history who are least likely to be sympathetic to the history of technology.


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