I. What you need to know about this course
History 1220:
History, Technology, and Society
Fall 2019: Aug. 21 - Dec. 13, 2019

Welcome! This syllabus lays out what you need to know to succeed in this course. Please read it carefully--one of the differences between K12 and college is that I will not remind you of the assignments and instructions every time something is due.

Who We Are:
Class meets MWF 11:15-12:05 in Hardin 100

Instructor: Dr. Pamela E. Mack, Department of HistoryProf. Mack

Contact information: Email: pammack@clemson.edu (I try to respond to emails within 24 hours on class days)
preferred form of address:
Prof. Mack or
Dr. Mack, pronouns: she/her
History Department phone number for phone messages: 864-656-3153

Office Hours: MWF 8:30-11, Wed. 1:00 - 2:15 and by appointment in Hardin 006 (basement level)

Course Goals:
This course uses examples from history to teach you to analyze the interaction of science and technology with society. The goal is to make you a better citizen, able to make good choices (both as a consumer and as a voter) about what technologies we want in the future.

Critical Thinking and CT2:

As a Clemson Thinks 2 course (CT2), this course emphasizes the formation, development, and application of critical thinking skills. Cultivating critical thinking as both skillset and worldview is one of the primary goals we will strive toward through analysis of STS concerns, simultaneously reflecting the goals of the STS program and CT2. Examples of Critical Thinking Questions.
Critical thinking is a matrix of behaviors, skills, and attitudes that work in conjunction to produce better thinking. For our purposes, better thinking means, for any complex question:
Of course, this list is not all-inclusive. However, in short, it sums up some critical thinking basics that we will practice as we work toward our goal of becoming better thinkers, and one hopes, better decision-makers. We will measure our progress toward that goal in relation to the following learning outcomes, or what students who successfully complete a class will know and be able to do.

CT2 Learning Outcomes Learning Outcomes for this Class
These are essential critical thinking skills... ...and this is how we “do” them in HIST 1220
  • Explore complex challenges
  • Extrapolate from one conceptual context to others
  • Analyze multi-dimensional problems
  • Synthesize alternative solutions to multi-dimensional challenges
  • Effectively communicate complex ideas
  • Define the purpose, characteristics, and historical development of science and technology; recognize intersections between scientific and technological development and social concerns
  • examine the impact of technology on society and discuss to what extent technology can change history; also assess how social forces shape the development of technology
  • analyze issues you will face as a citizen in a technological world
  • Demonstrate an understanding of social science methodologies in order to explain the causes and consequences of human actions
  • critically evaluate historical information and analyze the different approaches taken by historians
  • Synthesize and clearly express justified perspectives on STS issues in writing

Course Overview:
This course is organized around reading three books.  What historians do, most fundamentally, is write books, so we need to examine the books not just as sources of information but also for the perspectives of the authors.  Each book takes a different approach to the interaction of technology and society. There will be an essay test after each book plus an argument paper to use the thinking skills you have developed on a more present-day case study.
grade distribution
 Grade Distribution:
In this course numerical grades out of 100 will be converted to final letter grades by the system 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, below 60=F.  I round up by up to .5 if it makes a difference in the grade.

Late daily surveys, quizzes and discussion boards will be penalized 50% unless you have an excused absence that day.  Late argument papers
will be penalized two points if submitted on Canvas later than 11 am and an additional 2 points for each calendar day late.

The attendance policy:
According to the Undergraduate Announcements, 2019-20: "Class attendance is critical to the educational process; therefore, students should attend scheduled courses regularly if they are to attain their academic goals." In this course, you are allowed a maximum of 5 unexcused absences without penalty. The penalty is 3 points off the final grade for the course for each additional unexcused absence. Note that this is a different system than Canvas's absence percentage so Canvas will show your number of unexcused absences but not incorporate the penalty into your grade (the professor will do that at the end of the semester). Absences will be excused only for official university-sponsored activities (where you are given an excuse letter), significant illness or personal or family problems, and all absences specifically allowed in a disability letter. You are expected to use your allowed unexcused absences wisely to cover special activities, minor illnesses, travel plans, and car problems. When an excused absence is requested the absence must be discussed with the professor and/or documented.  Notifying the professor of your absence with the absence notification form or through Canvas is not sufficient documentation to excuse an absence--please email or show documentation to the professor or one of the teaching assistants for excused absences. Lateness will be dealt with in the following way: no penalty for up to five minutes, one half absence after 5 minutes. Please speak to the professor or the teaching assistant taking attendance in advance if you must leave early--if you leave early without explanation you will be penalized half an absence. 

If the professor or a substitute does not arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled starting time of the class students may leave. If an assignment is not posted when it should be, it is your responsibility to email the professor and ask about it. Any exam that was scheduled at the time of a class cancellation due to inclement weather will either
be given online at the regularly-scheduled time or at the next class meeting; please check Canvas announcements to find out the plan. Any assignments due on Canvas will still be due as scheduled even if the university is closed unless different information is posted in a Canvas announcement.

Canvas Surveys We will be using surveys and chat in class for surveys and student questions.  This is part of the regular Canvas (not poll for Canvas) but there is a Canvas App that will allow you to answer the surveys on your smart phone. You will get full credit for each question you answer (there is not a right answer) and your grade for the surveys will be calculated on a percentage basis after dropping 5 lowest grades, which can be zeros (this gives you some flexibility to not do the survey every single day). Please take a few minutes to think about your answer; don't just give your first impression. 

Quizzes will be multiple choice tests based on the reading.  They will be posted on Canvas Wed. at the end of class and must be submitted before class (by 11 am) on Friday.   Quizzes are found by going into Canvas and clicking on assignments and then on quizzes.  Quizzes will be 10 questions each.  I want you to have plenty of time and you are allowed to consult your book while taking the quiz but I do want people to do the reading before taking the quiz, so you have one hour to do the quiz (which should take most people about 10 minutes).  Your work will be automatically submitted after one hour. Your lowest quiz grade will be dropped--this can be a zero.

Discussion board questions (db) will be posted at least a week before they are due. These will be critical thinking exercises either to reflect on the material covered in class or to start you off on the analysis for your argument paper.

Your participation in this system will be graded on a scale of 10, but in every case you must write at least 250 words long (we will not grade shorter ones).  To get an 9 or 10 you need to say something worthwhile about the question.  Your response should be organized and clearly written and should bring new information to the discussion.  Some of that new information can be personal experience, but some must be from the reading or film or lecture assigned.  You may use outside sources as well if you wish, but they must be cited.  There will be 11 discussions and I will drop the lowest grade.  You will get only one grade per topic, but if you write more than one post on a topic all your posts will be taken into account in deciding your grade for the topic.  Posts after the deadline for that topic will receive no credit.

Two tests will be given during regular class meetings.  The final exam will be held at the regularly scheduled time. Both the in-class tests and the final will be essay tests and open books and notes will be permitted. You may use web pages, but be careful to avoid plagiarism and be aware that the test will still take place even if the internet is down at test time. Tests may be written either on your laptop or on paper.  On the in-class tests you will do a few short answer questions and then write one essay of 600 to 1200 words from a choice of two questions. On the final exam you will write two such essays, one based on the third book and one cumulative. There is advice on taking this kind of test at:  http://pammack.sites.clemson.edu/essayexams.html and instructions for online tests at: http://pammack.sites.clemson.edu/lec122sts/onlinetests.htm.  Makeup exams will be available only for students who have excused absences.  In other cases there will be a mechanism to get partial credit.   The tests, the argument paper, and the final exam will be handed in via Canvas and screened by the Turnitin plagiarism detection system.  (This system does keep a copy of your paper--if you have a problem with that please speak to the professor.)  These assignments should be handed in as uploads--write your essay in your word processor and upload it on the appropriate assignment page.

The argument paper will consist of a paper of about 4-6 double spaced pages on an assigned topic that will ask you to analyze the impact of some technology on society.  You must consider its different impact on different parts of society--whom did it hurt and whom did it help? Topic assignments will be posted at Argument paper assignment. The higher grades will go to papers that exhibit critical thinking, an analytical framework, specific evidence, the ability to inform and communicate, sound organization, and a concise and coherent argument that answers the specific question assigned. In this paper the premium will go to those that make a persuasive argument.  Papers will be handed in via Canvas and screened by the Turnitin plagiarism detection system.  (This system does keep a copy of your paper--if you have a problem with that please speak to the professor.)  Late papers will be penalized two points if later than 11 am and an additional 2 points for each calendar day late.  Very late papers will be penalized no lower than a 65 if the paper merits at least a 75.

You may want to use the writing center for help. Make an appointment here

Academic Integrity: 
This course takes the university's academic integrity policy very seriously (see university policy below).  In particular, in this course the definition of plagiarism includes both representing someone else's work as your own and handing in the same paper to two different courses without permission of both instructors. You may re-use your exact words (according to the plagiarism standard below) from work done for this course but not from any other course. Be careful to avoid plagiarism--text you take from a web site, from a book, or from online class notes must be either quoted with the source given or restated almost entirely in your own words, with the source given.  The catalog defines as one form of academic dishonesty: "Plagiarism, which includes the intentional or unintentional copying of language, structure, or ideas of another and attributing the work to one’s own efforts."  Note the word unintentional--if you forget to put quote marks or a reference you can be found guilty of academic dishonesty even if it was not your intention to cheat.

It is cheating to cut and paste or otherwise copy portions of a argument paper, exam, or discussion board posting from a book, web site, or from the online class notes, unless you quote and give the source. Changing a few words is not sufficient to make the material your own. It is poor writing for more than about 20% of your paper to consist of quotes.  In most cases when you use specific material from any source you should paraphrase: cite the source and put the ideas into you own words (generally no more than 5 consecutive words should match the source but if the words are mostly the same it could still be plagiarism even if there aren't 5 consecutive words).

Laptops and Cell Phones: Unlike many history courses, the use of laptops is encouraged in this course.  However, because this is a large freshman level course, that use is subject to rules to prevent distraction for other students and to keep a positive learning atmosphere. Research shows that those who multitask on a laptop/phone (checking content unrelated to class) during class scored lower on assessment compared to those who did not multitask. Furthermore, those who were in direct view of the multitasking person also scored lower on assessment. Any student has the right to ask the person multitasking to stop. The multitasking person must comply at once. If you want to disrupt your own learning that is your personal choice; but harming the learning of those around you is wrong and disrespectful.

General Education: This course meets the Social Science and STS general education requirements, and your argument paper is the artifact that demonstrates that.  The competencies are:

Required Books: Reading should be done by the class day for which an assignment is listed in the class schedule.  Three books are required.  Note that you must have the Hobsbawm book by the first full week of class.  It is not available as an ebook, but a paper copy is available in the reserve room in the library.  For Lienhard your cheapest option is to order a used copy at the beginning of the semester--you don't need it until the third week of September--but you can also buy an ebook or paper book.  The Nye is available in whatever form works best for you and also as an ebook from the library (link below). 

Eric Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: The Birth of the Industrial Revolution 
(make sure to get the 1999 edition, not the 1968 edition)
John H. Lienhard, Inventing Modern: Growing Up with X-rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins David E. Nye, Technology Matters : Questions to Live With
available at:

(requires VPN to read from home)

book cover
book cover
book cover
Ebooks are permissible both in class and for open book tests if they work for you.
You also need a computer with a word processing program and easy connection to the internet for online homework.

This syllabus is a contract between the professor and the students.  Please study it carefully, as you are expected to follow the rules and do the assignments contained in the syllabus even if the professor doesn't remind you.  The professor reserves the right to make changes in special circumstances, but will discuss any changes with the students.

II. Class Schedule for Hist 1220:

in class
work due by 11 am
Aug. 21
Course Philosophy
: http://pammack.sites.clemson.edu/syl1220ct.html

Aug. 23
Hobsbawm preface
Definitions and Critical Thinking

Aug. 26
Hobsbawm intro-1 Technology before the Industrial Revolution
Aug. 28
Hobsbawm 2 Origins (quiz 1 posted after class)

Aug. 30
Hobsbawm 3 The Industrial Revolution quiz 1 (intro-2) due by 11 am
Sept. 2
Hobsbawm 4 Human Results db2
Sept. 4
Hobsbawm 5 Agriculture
Sept. 6
Hobsbawm 6 Second Phase of Industrialization quiz 2 (3-5)
Sept. 9
Hobsbawm 8 Standard of Living
Sept. 11
Hobsbawm 10 & conclusion The Land
Sept. 13
Hobsbawm 7 optional The Spread of the Industrial Revolution quiz 3 (6, 8)
Sept. 16

Sept. 18

In-class Test
Sept. 20

 Climate Strike Day--special presentation in class or if you choose to strike you must write about
an event you attended (eg.

Sept. 23
Lienhard  preface & chs.1- 2
Manifest Destiny and Short Lived Technologies db4
Sept. 25
Lienhard 3
Forces Totally New

Sept. 27
Lienhard 4 Genius quiz 4 (1-3)
Sept. 30
Lienhard 5 Core and Fringe
Oct. 2
Lienhard 6
High Rises 

Oct. 4
Lienhard 7
The City
quiz 5 (4-6)
Oct. 7
Lienhard 8
Oct. 9
Lienhard 9
On the Road

Oct. 11
Lienhard 10-11 Aviation quiz 6 (7-9)
Oct. 14

 Fall Break db7
Oct. 16
Lienhard 12 A Boy's Life, Radio

Oct. 18
Lienhard 13 Invention quiz 7 (10-12)
Oct. 21
Lienhard 14 War db8
Oct. 23
Lienhard 15 Fifties
Oct. 25
 Lienhard 16 After Modern quiz 8 (13-15)
Oct. 28

Oct. 30

In-Class Test

Nov. 1
Nye ch. 1 Defining Technology
Nov. 4
Nye ch. 2
The argument against determinism db9
Nov. 6
Nye ch. 3  Can Technology be predicted?

Nov. 8
Nye 4 Historical theory quiz 9 (1-4)
Argument paper proposal due
Nov. 11
Nye ch. 5 Freedom db10
Nov. 13
Nye ch. 6 Technology and the environment
Nov. 15
Nye ch. 7 Work quiz 10 (4-6)
Nov.  18
Nye ch. 8 Who selects technologies? Argument paper due
Nov. 20
Nye ch. 9 Risk
Nov. 22
Nye ch. 10 Knowledge
Nov. 25
Nye ch. 11 Choosing our future
quiz 11 (7-10)
Nov. 27-29

Dec. 2
Online reading  The Development of the Computer db 11
Dec. 4

Technology and the future

Dec. 6

Dec. 10

Final Exam 8 am Hardin 100

III. University Policies for HIST 1220

Student Accessibility Services

Clemson University values the diversity of our student body as a strength and a critical component of our dynamic community. Students with disabilities or temporary injuries/conditions may require accommodations due to barriers in the structure of facilities, course design, technology used for curricular purposes, or other campus resources. Students who experience a barrier to full access to this class should let the professor know, and make an appointment to meet with a staff member in Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible. You can make an appointment by calling 864-656-6848, by emailing studentaccess@lists.clemson.edu, or by visiting Suite 239 in the Academic Success Center building. Appointments are strongly encouraged – drop-ins will be seen if at all possible, but there could be a significant wait due to scheduled appointments. Students who receive Academic Access Letters are strongly encouraged to request, obtain and present these to their professors as early in the semester as possible so that accommodations can be made in a timely manner. It is the student’s responsibility to follow this process each semester. You can access further information at the Student Accessibility Services Website and the Office of Access and Equity Website.

Email Policy / Response Time

Clemson does not provide me with a phone; email is my preferred method of contact for university business. You can expect a response to your email inquiries within 36 hours, excluding weekends and university holidays.


All materials found in this course are strictly for the use of students enrolled in this course and for purposes associated with this course; they may not be retained or further disseminated. Clemson students, faculty, and staff are expected to comply fully with institutional copyright policy as well as all other copyright laws.

Privacy Policy

 Because privacy regulations stipulate that faculty and staff communicate with students through authorized University channels, use your University email account or Canvas's messaging system to contact me.  This course is designed with your privacy in mind. If, however, you feel that an assignment or technology tool undermines your right to privacy or is uncomfortable for you personally, please contact me immediately. We will work together to determine an alternative assignment that will help you achieve the course learning outcomes.

Online Conduct

Appropriate online academic conduct means maintaining a safe learning environment based on mutual respect and civility. All participants in Clemson courses are expected to behave professionally by adhering to these standards of conduct:

Online communication that fails to meet these standards of conduct will be removed from the course. Repeated misconduct may result in being blocked from online discussions, receiving a grade penalty, or being dismissed from the course. Such misconduct in the online environment may also be reported to officials for appropriate action in accordance with University policy. If you ever encounter inappropriate content in our course, please contact me with your concerns.

Academic Integrity

As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson's vision of this institution as a "high seminary of learning." Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others. Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree. Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.

A simple definition of plagiarism is when someone presents another person's words, visuals, or ideas as his or her own. See the first section of the syllabus for specifics on how this is defined in this course. The instructor will deal with plagiarism on a case-by-case basis. I will use, at my discretion, the Plagiarism Resolution Form. All infractions of academic dishonesty will be reported to Undergraduate Studies for resolution through that office.

See the Undergraduate Academic Integrity Policy website for additional information about academic integrity at Clemson.

Academic Grievances

Students are advised to visit the Ombuds' Office prior to filing a grievance. After discussion with the undergraduate academic ombudsman, students should contact Undergraduate Studies (656-3022) for assistance filing official paperwork.


Clemson University is committed to providing a higher education environment that is free from sexual discrimination. Therefore, if you believe you or someone else that is part of the Clemson University community has been discriminated against based on sex, or if you have questions about Title IX, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Alesia Smith, who also serves as the Executive Director of Equity Compliance, at 110 Holtzendorff Hall, 864-656-3181 (voice) or 864-656-0899 (TDD). The Title IX Coordinator is the person designated by Clemson University to oversee its Title IX compliance efforts. Please consult the University's Title IX policy for full details.

Student Support Services

Send me e-mail at: Pammack@clemson.edu
For other resources see PEM Index Page
For Pam Mack's Home Page see: Pamela E. Mack

This page last updated 8/20/2019