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HISTORY 3230-001
History of American Technology
Spring 2021

Instructor: Prof. Pamela E. Mackyour professor at home
Contact information:

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is a sampling of the history of American technology from colonial times to the present. The goal of the course is to think about the role of technological change in society with the help of the broader perspective that history provides. To that end, the course will not cover evolution of every significant technology, but rather will focus on different views of technology and discuss in detail selected case studies.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: By the end of the course students should be able to:

General Education: this course meets the STS general education requirement:

Science and Technology in Society:
Demonstrate an understanding of issues created by the complex interactions among science, technology, and society.

One of the papers you write for this course is your STS artifact.  While students are no longer required to upload artifacts to an ePortfolio, the university will be collecting artifacts from some general education courses to evaluate general education.



Using technology:
20% daily assignments and class participation
10% small group projects
15% each, an essay of 3-4 pages based on each of the first three books
15% group project with students in Germany
10% final reflection (takehome exam)

ESSAYS: The details of the essay/paper assignments will be posted in Canvas.  Late essays will get a 2 point penalty for lateness per calendar day, but the penalty will be capped so the grade after the penalty will be no lower than a 65 for a paper that gets at least a 75.


ACCOMMODATIONS: The instructor is happy to honor disability letters.  See Student Accessibility Services information below.

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.

This includes representing someone else's work as your own or handing in the same paper to two different courses without permission of the instructors.  Be careful to avoid plagiarism--text you take from a web site, from a book, or from the online class notes must be either quoted with the source given or restated almost entirely in your own words, with the source given.  Note that 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, even if you change a few words, unless you quote and give the source.  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).

The catalog states: "When, in the opinion of a course instructor, there is evidence that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, that person must make a formal written charge of academic dishonesty, including a description of the misconduct, to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies. The reporting person may, at his/her discretion, inform each involved student privately of the nature of the alleged charge. In cases of plagiarism instructors may use, as an option, the Plagiarism Resolution Form available from the Office of Undergraduate Studies."

TEXTS: You will read these books:
When a link is given, that is to a free unlimited-use ebook available from the library. Understand that you will need to read the books carefully and write papers from them, so you may find it easier to have your own copy, but if the cost of books is a problem for you the library ebooks are an alternative.
Unrequited Toil: A History of United States Slavery 
by Calvin Schermerhorn
How the Working-Class Home Became Modern, 1900–1940
by Thomas C. Hubka


Consuming Power: A Social History of American Energies by David E. Nye 


Renewable Energy: A Primer for the Twenty-First Century by Bruce Usher


SCHEDULE: Readings are listed by the day we will discuss them in class.  Underlined lecture titles are links that lead to notes.

Wed., Jan. 6 Introduction

Fri., Jan. 8 Discuss class norms

Mon., Jan. 11 Schermerhorn introduction and background

Wed., Jan. 13 Schermerhorn 1-2

Fri., Jan. 15 Schermerhorn 3-4

Mon., Jan. 18 Martin Luther King Holiday

Wed., Jan. 20 Schermerhorn 5-7

Fri., Jan. 22

Mon., Jan. 25 Schermerhorn 8-9

Wed., Jan. 27 Schermerhorn 11-12 and conclusion

Fri., Jan. 29

Mon., Feb. 1 Hubka Introduction Schermerhorn essay due
Wed., Feb. 3 Hubka 1
Fri., Feb. 5

Mon., Feb. 8 Hubka 2
Wed., Feb. 10 Hubka 3
Fri., Feb. 12

Mon., Feb. 15 Hubka 4
Wed., Feb. 17 Hubka 5 and conclusion

Fri., Feb. 19

Mon., Feb. 22 Nye introduction and ch. 1
Hubka essay due
Wed., Feb. 24 Nye 2

Fri., Feb. 26

Mon., Mar. 1 Nye 3

Wed., Mar. 3 Nye 4
Fri., Mar. 5

Mon., Mar. 8 Nye 5
Wed., Mar. 10 Nye 6-7

Fri., Mar. 12
Nye paper due
Mon., Mar. 15 - 19
Spring Break

Mon., Mar. 22 Nye 8-9

Wed., Mar. 24 Usher 1-3

Fri., Mar. 26

Mon., Mar. 29 Usher 4-5

Wed., Mar. 31 Usher 6-8

Fri., Apr. 2

Mon., Apr. 5 Usher 9-10
Wed., Apr. 7 presentations

Fri., Apr. 9

Mon., Apr. 12 discussion Usher ch. 11

Wed., Apr. 14 presentations

Fri., Apr. 16

Mon., Apr. 19 discussion Usher ch. 12

Wed., Apr. 21 presentations
Written assignment based on the presentation due
Fri., Apr. 23

Tues., Apr. 27
takehome final (reflection on learning) due

University Policies for HIST 3230

University Policies:

Class Roll

Students can use iROAR to add courses through January 12, to drop courses without record through January 20, and to drop with a W grade through March 12, 2021.  Students that have not participated in class activities by the second week, after the last day to add a class (January 12), may be removed from the roll.

For students in a course where Canvas is used, instructors can view students’ date of last activity and total activity under the “People” tab.  A student with an excessive number of absences may be withdrawn at the discretion of the course instructor. For the Spring 2021 semester, “excessive absences” would be applicable to students that never engage in class activity (in person and/or online), so as to keep the class roll accurate. Students would not be penalized for absences related to COVID-19 (e.g., illness, isolation, quarantine) but should use the Student Notification of Absences form.

Response to Presumptive Positive or Positive COVID-19 Test

Instructors and students who are informed that they have a presumptive positive diagnosis or have tested positive for COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate and submit the COVID-19 Positive Test Reporting Form (see University COVID-19 webpage).

For an absence to be considered an excused absence, a student must use the Notification of Absences form in Canvas to directly communicate with the instructor. Students that must quarantine/isolate will not suffer any grade penalties association with their physical absence from in-person classes.


Notification of a Positive COVID-19 Test and Related Contact Tracing

  1. Occupational and Environmental Safety and University Facilities will be notified and will determine if any classrooms, common spaces, or office need to be closed for additional cleaning. In general, a positive test will not result in the need for additional cleaning beyond the overnight cleaning process and additional cleaning that is done during the day. If a classroom needs to be closed during the day, signage will be placed on the door and the instructors of classes that are affected by the closure will be informed. It will be up to the instructor to decide if the classes affected by the shutdown will be moved online or cancelled, and to notify students of this decision.
  2. For a  student  who  reports  testing  positive  or  is  being  asked  to  quarantine/isolate  because  of  exposure to the virus, it will be up to the student to inform the instructor that they will be moving to  online  only  instruction  for  at  least  the  next  two    Students are directed to use the Notification of Absence form in Canvas to initiate this notification, which can be found under the “Help” button on the left navigation. Additional communication via email is encouraged; students should follow up with their instructor to develop a continued plan of study for each course.
  3. If your instructor reports testing positive or is being asked to quarantine/isolate because of exposure to the virus, there will be a plan for continuing course instruction. Students will be notified of this plan as soon as possible.

For more information, check the Clemson COVID-19 page for Medical Guidance.


Student Support


Located in the heart of Clemson’s campus adjacent to Cooper Library and the Watt Family Innovation Center, the Academic Success Center (ASC) https://www.clemson.edu/asc/ offers a variety of free learning and success services for all undergraduate students that include

Visit Course Support: https://www.clemson.edu/asc/courses/

ASC services are designed to equip students with strategies and resources you can use to succeed in difficult courses,

Please stop by and visit!


We celebrate diversity in abilities, identities, and perspectives and invite Clemson students, faculty, and staff from all walks of life to participate in our programs, services, and employment. We believe that engaging with a variety of ideas and viewpoints results in deeper and more meaningful learning and creates the conditions for our students to thrive. We seek to be an active partner with Clemson students, faculty, and staff in creating an inclusive campus environment in which mutual respect and support are demonstrated for all members of our campus community.


Academic advising is an ongoing educational process that connects the student to the University. Academic advising supports the University's mission of preparing the student for learning beyond the confines of the academy. Academic advisors represent and interpret University policies and procedures to the student and help the student navigate the academic and organizational paths of the institution.


Do you need library sources but don't know where to start? Are you asking them to search for a book, article, or data to support their argument? Not sure whether they know how to cite a source properly in their bibliography? Ask a librarian!

Research help is available in person at the at the Library Services Desk in Cooper Library, Gunnin Architecture Library, and the Education Media Center.  Librarians can also be contacted by phone, text, or chat via the Library's website. Check the Library’s Ask Us page for details. (https://libraries.clemson.edu/ask/)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free teaching materials for students to use and can offer a solution to cover a variety of subjects or activities.  Visit the OER website.

The Adobe Digital Studio  is on the 5th floor of  Cooper Library and is an open-access learning space dedicated to providing students with digital production skills and the technology to use them.  Video and Audio production studios are available for students to use by reservation, and a wide range of technology can be borrowed from the Library Services Desk.  You can download Adobe Creative Cloud as a Clemson student. (https://ccit.clemson.edu/training/adobe-creative-cloud/).

Extended assistance by appointment is also available with librarians who specialize in subject areas. A list of librarians and their areas of expertise are listed on this library page (https://libraries.clemson.edu/research/subject-librarians/).

Cooper Library and Technical Support

Extended assistance by appointment is also available with librarians who specialize in subject areas. Librarians and their areas of expertise are listed online (https://libraries.clemson.edu/research/subject-librarians/).

If you are having hardware or software problems, CCIT's Service Desk may be able to help you. Contact them by email at ITHELP@clemson.edu or call or text (864) 656-3494 with a detailed description of your problem. The help desk is located in Cooper Library.



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The Center’s Internship Program brings together students and employers to facilitate academically enriching and mutually beneficial work experiences. This program offers on-campus, off-campus and international internship options. Students may participate in either part-time or full-time internships. The Center’s goal is to endow students with the skills and tools to find part-time jobs and internships while in school, as well as full-time jobs following graduation. Other information can be obtained from the Career Center’s website at https://career.clemson.edu or by calling 864-656-6000.


The Registrar's office provides information about important deadlines, degree and program requirements, and other key information, including use of iROAR to add, drop, or withdraw from courses.

The Office of the Registrar is located in both Sikes Hall and Martin Hall. Specific locations and services can be found on our Contact Us page.



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 instructor 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.

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 here: http://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/campus-services/sds/.  The CU Accessibility Portal (https://www.clemson.edu/accessibility/) is a “one stop” site for information.


Student Health Services, (https://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/student-health/), locally known as “Redfern” Health, strengthens Clemson University by providing quality medical and mental health care and the health, safety and well-being of the campus community. Student Health Services strives to be an innovative health care system providing integrated quality services that are responsive to the needs of the University community.

Information on who to contact for help in a crisis situation, visit https://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/student-health/contact/index.html and on the emergency/crisis page https://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/healthy-campus/suicideprevention/get-help.html .


At Counseling and Psychological Services(CAPS) (https://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/student-health/caps/services-and-programs/index.html), you are encouraged to be an active participant in your medical and mental health care. Which service is the right one for you hinges your individual need and CAPS will help you figure that out.

CAPS is committed to educating students, as well as offering “outreach services to faculty and staff members in order to improve the quality of their interactions with students and to promote a healthy work environment.”



Clemson University’s Writing Center offers free one-on-one tutoring for all Clemson students. Sponsored by the Clemson English Department, our goal at the Writing Center is to support all members of the Clemson community to become more confident and effective writers. For whatever you are working on, we can help you find the most effective way to communicate your message.   Any discipline. Any level. Any stage. Any genre. Any writer. 

We have real-time online appointments and emailed feedback appointments available. Synchronous Online Hours: Monday – Friday 9AM - 12PM  and 3PM - 7PM. If you have any questions, please email us at thewritingcenter@clemson.edu.

Visit the Writing Center's website (https://clemson.mywconline.com/) for more information about services or to make an appointment.  The Writing Center is located in the Academic Success Center Building.




Clemson has developed an Academic Continuity Plan for academic operations. Should university administration officially determine that the physical classroom facility is not available to conduct classes, class will be conducted in a virtual (online) form. The university issues official disruption notifications through email, website, and Social Media. When notified, use one of the following links to navigate to Clemson Canvas where you will find important information about class:



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.

 All infractions of academic dishonesty will be reported to Undergraduate Studies for resolution through that office.  See the Undergraduate Academic Integrity Policy website (https://www.clemson.edu/academics/integrity/) for additional information about academic integrity at Clemson.

For graduate students, see the current graduate student handbook for all policies (https://www.clemson.edu/graduate/students/policies-procedures/index.html)



Undergraduate 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.

Graduate students follow graduate student handbook (https://www.clemson.edu/graduate/students/policies-procedures/index.html) and “grievances must be filed with the Graduate School within 60 days of the alleged act.”



Materials in some of the courses are copyrighted. They are intended for use only by students registered and enrolled in a particular course, for instructional activities associated with and for the duration of the course. They may not be retained in another medium or disseminated further. They are provided in compliance with the provisions of the Teach Act. Students should be reminded to refer to the Use of Copyrighted Materials and “Fair Use” Guide at Clemson Libraries, for additional information (http://clemson.libguides.com/c.php?g=230419&p=1530623).


Clemson University aspires to create a diverse community that welcomes people of different races, cultures, ages, genders, sexual orientation, religions, socioeconomic levels, political perspectives, abilities, opinions, values and experiences.  

The Clemson University Title IX statement regarding non-discrimination:

Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or protected activity in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
This policy is located 
here (http://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/campus-services/access/title-ix/).

Ms. Alesia Smith is the Clemson University Title IX Coordinator, and the Executive Director of Equity Compliance. Her office is located at 110 Holtzendorff Hall, 864.656.3181 (voice) or 864.656.0899 (TDD). Remember, email is not a fully secured method of communication and should not be used to discuss Title IX issues.



Emergency procedures have been posted in all buildings and on all elevators. Students should be reminded to review these procedures for their own safety. All students and employees should be familiar with guidelines from the Clemson Police Department. Visit here for information about safety (http://www.clemson.edu/cusafety/preparedness/).


Clemson University is committed to providing a safe campus environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. As members of the community, we encourage you to take the following actions to be better prepared in case of an emergency:

    1. Ensure you are signed up for emergency alerts (https://www.getrave.com/login/clemson),
    2. Download the Rave Guardian app to your phone (https://www.clemson.edu/cusafety/cupd/rave-guardian/)
    3. Learn what you can do to prepare yourself in the event of an active threat (http://www.clemson.edu/cusafety/EmergencyManagement/)


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, the instructor, with your concerns.

This course is designed with student privacy in mind. If, however, you feel that an assignment or technology tool undermines your right to privacy, please contact the instructor immediately. We will work together to determine an alternative assignment that will help you achieve the course learning outcomes.


This page written and copyright © Pamela E. Mack
Send me e-mail at: Pammack@clemson.edu
For my other pages see:  PEM Index Page
last updated 1/10/2021