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Science, Technology and Society - Ph.D. / Sc.D.

Mostrando recursos 1 - 20 de 84

  1. Highway madness! : politics and citizen participation in postwar U.S. traffic safety technology and policy

    Blackburn, Renée Marie
    Modern U.S. traffic safety policy is largely guided by three overarching principles that have influenced governments, industry, and community and citizen activists since the 1940s. The terms, education, engineering, and enforcement, detailed in the Action Program for Traffic Safety were developed by engineers and U.S. federal government traffic safety experts in response to growing concerns around rising traffic fatalities. In these guidelines, and the iterations that developed from them, responsibility for traffic safety shifted between drivers, policy makers, and the automotive industry. My dissertation examines the evolution of traffic safety policy, specifically looking at solutions to reach zero fatalities, over...

  2. Making a digital working class : Uber drivers in Boston, 2016-2017

    Robinson, H. C. (Hillary C.)
    Pocket computers, called "smartphones," have become a part of everyday life over the past decade. Most people now routinely carry around with them millions of times more computing power than generated the Apollo mission to the Moon. They use it to access, process, and share information quickly and cheaply, in furtherance of the things people have long done: buying and selling, socializing, and so on, yet faster and across greater distances-characteristic of what we call "modernity." This has affected the ways in which people are working, and who is working, doing what, today. This thesis reports the results of a...

  3. The bureaucracy of empathy : vivisection and the question of animal pain in Britain, 1876-1912

    Shmuely, Shira Dina
    This dissertation examines the mutually reinforcing connections between science and law and their construction of pain in British regulation of animal experimentation. It investigates the Home Office's implementation of the Cruelty to Animals Act (1876), the first effort anywhere in the world to impose legal restrictions on vivisection, during the three decades following its enactment. The study ends in 1912 with the findings of a second Royal Commission that evaluated the workings of the Act. The Commission reaffirmed many of the Home Office polices regarding vivisection and their underlying premises. The Act mandated official supervision of scientific experiments that "calculated...

  4. Twitter and the body parodic : global acts of re-creation and recreation

    Johnson, Amanda
    This dissertation investigates Twitter parody accounts as a form of social critique and linguistic play across English, Japanese, and Arabic-one that is collaboratively created by the users, policymakers, and architects of Twitter. Together, apart, and in different constellations with governments and news media, these actors use parody accounts to recreate and experiment with everything from law to what constitutes a person. I argue that the Twitter parody account, both as negative critique and ambiguous personification play, is an off-platform use-an unintended use of platform, site, or app that is allowed to endure, with varying degrees of official encouragement, silence, and...

  5. Sparking controversy : the contested use of noninvasive brain stimulation

    Wexler, Anna (Anna M.)
    My dissertation examines the controversy over transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive form of brain stimulation that is thought to provide a constant low level of electrical current to the brain. Although scientists have been experimenting with tDCS in both healthy and clinical populations for the last fifteen years, in late 2011 a movement arose wherein "lay" individuals began constructing their own tDCS devices, or purchasing consumer devices, to stimulate their brains outside of academic or medical settings for self-improvement purposes. Not surprisingly, the lay use of tDCS has not been well received by researchers, who have termed it...

  6. Paul Revere's metallurgical ride : craft and proto-industry in early America

    Martello, Robert, 1968-
    by Robert Martello.

  7. Doing Dutch Wax cloth : practice, politics, and 'the new Africa'

    Edoh, Amah Melissa
    This dissertation examines how Africa's place in the world is negotiated in different forms of material engagement with Dutch Wax cloth--designing, advertising, selling, buying, and tailoring-along the cloth's trajectory between the Netherlands and Togo. Derived from a manual Javanese textile printing technique, Dutch Wax cloth has been machine-printed in the Netherlands since the late 19th century, and was introduced to West Africa in the early 20th century. Lomé, Togo was a hub for its distribution throughout West and Central Africa for much of the 20th century. The cloth's visual and material attributes were historically developed through exchanges between West African...

  8. Platformizing higher education : computer science and the making of MOOC infrastructures

    Kelkar, Shreeharsh
    This dissertation investigates the role of software in institutional transformation using the example of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. It ethnographically tracks the development of the software infrastructure being built for MOOCs, focusing on three communities-programmers, instructors, and researchers-who centrally participate in the MOOC start-ups' stated mission of reinventing higher education. It argues that MOOC infrastructures are best viewed as an example of a heterogeneous software assemblage that I call the "software-as-platform," that is today being widely deployed and used in a number of industries and institutions. The software-as-platform consists primarily of software that holds together a variety of...

  9. Algorithmic detectives against child trafficking : data, entrapment, and the new global policing network

    Thakor, Mitali Nitish
    My dissertation explores how "anti-trafficking" has emerged as a global network of humanitarian professionals, law enforcement, and software companies collaborating to address the issue of child exploitation and trafficking online. I argue that the anti-trafficking network consolidates expertise through a shared moralizing politics of bureaucracy and carceral sensibility of securitization. This network mobilizes the issue of child protection to expand the reach of technologies of search and prediction, and to afford legitimation to a newly normalized level of digital surveillance. My findings are based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with the United Nations and anti-trafficking organizations in...

  10. Algorithmic detectives against child trafficking : data, entrapment, and the new global policing network

    Thakor, Mitali Nitish
    My dissertation explores how "anti-trafficking" has emerged as a global network of humanitarian professionals, law enforcement, and software companies collaborating to address the issue of child exploitation and trafficking online. I argue that the anti-trafficking network consolidates expertise through a shared moralizing politics of bureaucracy and carceral sensibility of securitization. This network mobilizes the issue of child protection to expand the reach of technologies of search and prediction, and to afford legitimation to a newly normalized level of digital surveillance. My findings are based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with the United Nations and anti-trafficking organizations in...

  11. Governing the shark : predators and people in the twentieth century and beyond

    Thompson, Michaela Jane
    This dissertation examines the history of shark-human interactions in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It argues that the mid-twentieth century onward saw a series of conjunctures -technological, cultural, and scientific -that thrust sharks and humans into unprecedented levels of contact. This led to both a rise in preoccupation with sharks, and an emergence of new stakeholder groups that sought produce knowledge about them. The conflicting definitions, attitudes, and responses to sharks presented by these various groups are linked to greater trends in science, culture, and society. In particular, the way humans write and think about sharks and other man-eating predators...

  12. Intimate cartographies : body maps and the epistemic encounter in China and Britain, 1893-1985

    Li, Lan Angela
    This dissertation explores how body maps served as a site for theoretical, experimental, and cultural entanglements between "Chinese medicine" and "biomedicine." It explores how body atlases produced under varying social and cultural conditions involved similar ontological questions with diverging social and cultural implications. These ontological questions set into motion disparate theories about the body that continue to destabilize contemporary medical practice. I explore the fate of maps that medical practitioners in China and Britain traced on paper and on people. Rather than representing what could be directly observed, these maps made visible what could be felt. Body maps offer a...

  13. Economy electric : techno-economics, neoliberalism, and electricity in the United States

    Özden-Schilling, Canay
    This dissertation is a study of emergent economic forms of life. It investigates recent remakings of economic existence and modes of disseminating these forms of life, and does so with particular reference to the crafting of electricity markets in the United States. It draws on more than a year of fieldwork among experts and users involved in electricity exchange. The experts and users among whom I conducted participant observation include computer programmers who assist companies that trade in electricity markets by collecting information and making trading suggestions, electrical engineers who design new infrastructures such as electricity markets for buying and...

  14. Salvage cartographies : mapping, futures, and landscapes in northwest British Columbia

    Özden-Schilling, Thomas Charles
    This dissertation examines how the proliferation of digital mapping technologies and the contraction of government research institutions have reformatted contests over resources, sovereignty, and local belonging in the neoliberal era. The two groups at the heart of this multilocale ethnography, government forest ecologists and Indigenous Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists, share entangled histories throughout rural North America. This is particularly true on the Gitxsan and Gitanyow traditional territories in northwest British Columbia. As climate change and emergent forest diseases destabilize both Indigenous and settler communities' abilities to predict and plan for environmental shifts, disparate experts are learning to leverage marginalized...

  15. Project Apollo, Cold War diplomacy and the American framing of global interdependence

    Muir-Harmony, Teasel
    This dissertation examines the distinctive and critical role that space exploration played in American foreign relations and national image making in the 1960s. Proposed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, Project Apollo was established, in large part, as a means of demonstrating American power and promoting technocratic values in an international landscape defined by the Cold War, the collapse of colonialism, and the emergence of newly independent nations. While existing scholarship has gestured to this geopolitical context, it has tended to examine activity that takes place on American or lunar soil. This dissertation argues that the geopolitical context was...

  16. Rigging the world : 3D modeling and the seduction of the real

    Perry, Rebecca Ann
    Evidence from history, archaeology, and the social sciences suggests that making models of the world has anchored our understanding of it since the earliest days. From models of deities, dwellings and weapons to molecules and planetary systems, models have been tools for thinking and imagining, as well as planning and building. Though there are many possible definitions, a digital model is understood here essentially as a miniature virtual world-a distillation that captures the essence of some aspect of the larger physical or imagined world-which provides a vehicle for virtual exploration or manipulation of that world, and a focal point for...

  17. Inventing purity in the Atlantic sugar world, 1860-1930

    Singerman, David Roth
    This dissertation illuminates how expert labor makes a complex natural substance into a uniform global commodity. Drawing on both published sources and extensive archival research in the continental United States, in Scotland, and in Puerto Rico, it provides new insight into the workings of the empires of commodities that define modem capitalism. Chapter 1 shows that the notion that sugar has a single valuable molecular essence sucrose- has been used to explain its history as a commodity. Yet this essentialism is not a natural fact but a product of the political economy of the late nineteenth century itself. From the...

  18. Making biosecurity, making Mexico : an ethnography of biological invasion

    Wanderer, Emily Mannix
    This dissertation tracks what happens when biology, that is, both life forms and knowledge about them, becomes the object of security. While increasing global traffic has led to a greater degree of movement of people, animals, plants, and microbes, biosecurity measures are concerned with regulating circulation and seek to work against such possibly homogenizing forces by both documenting and maintaining the distinctiveness of life forms in different places. Through ethnographic research in Mexico, I track the social logics, scientific practices, and institutional forms that underwrite biosecurity in three areas: invasive species control, emerging infectious disease research, and the use of...

  19. Insiders and outsiders : nuclear arms control experts in Cold War America

    Wilson, Benjamin Tyler
    This dissertation presents a history of the community of nuclear arms control experts in the United States during the middle and later years of the Cold War, the age of thermonuclear ballistic missiles. Arms control experts were, in many interesting ways, both insiders and outsiders to the American "nuclear state." The dissertation begins by exploring the formation of strategic arms control in the years leading up to 1960, showing how arms control emerged from the mixing of local communities of disarmament advocates and theorists of nuclear deterrence. Rather than inevitable doctrinal unity, early arms control was highly local and contingent....

  20. Changed climate : networking, professionalization, and grassroots organizing in U.S. environmental organizations

    Deshmukh Towery, Nathaniel S. (Nathaniel Stephen)
    My dissertation, "Changed Climate: Networking, Professionalization, and Grassroots Organizing in U.S Environmental Organizations," explores the efforts of four established U.S. environmental NGOs to change their organizational cultures and routine practices to develop grassroots activism for climate change advocacy. I find that although actors within and outside the environmental movement recognize a collective failure to influence the U.S. policy process on climate change issues, their organizations have been unable to adapt to the current political environment. My data derives from extensive participant observation, semi-structured interviews with organizational staff and experts, and statistical analysis of organizational efforts to recruit volunteer participants and...

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