Imaginary College member G. Pascal Zachary on Technology Scholar Thomas P. Hughes

CSI Imaginary College member G. Pascal Zachary wrote an article in the Spring 2014 issue of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society remembering the late, great Thomas P. Hughes, a historian and sociologist of technology:

Whenever I receive inquiries about the effects of technological change on American society, my response is to steer students away from the hype and embellishment of today’s tech writing, which has drained words like “innovation,” “progress,” and “advancement” of meaning. Instead, I ask them to read and reread the work of historian Thomas P. Hughes, who died in February 2014 at the age of ninety. Hughes helped to found two related disciplines: the history of technology and the sociology of technology (and its misunderstood sibling, science). He was revered by scholars but largely unknown outside academia; the New York Times, for instance, failed to run an obituary. Hughes’s work exhibited a rare capacity to build meaningful bridges between academic silos and, although he never found a wide audience, to address the broader public without condescension, dumbing-down, or weakly tying his content to fleeting enthusiasms.

Read the full article at The New Atlantis.