Organizational Unit:
School of History and Sociology

Research Organization Registry ID
Previous Names
Parent Organization
Parent Organization
Includes Organization(s)

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Item
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2021-07-22) Clifton-Morekis, Alice S.
    This dissertation seeks to address the use of gender and race in constructing U.S. engineering identity. It analyzes individual and institutional identities at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) between 1933 and 1953 through a model of multiple white masculinities. Predominantly drawing on oral histories, autobiographical text, and correspondence by and involving TVA engineers and administrators, it shows how these men combined and exhibited various white masculinities to communicate what they believed ‘a TVA engineer is’—and, by implication, what such an engineer ‘isn’t.’ The first part of the dissertation identifies patterns in the institution. It organizes these patterns into four archetypes: white-collar masculinity, physical masculinity, frontier masculinity, and military masculinity. The second part of the dissertation applies the same organization to one individual: Harry A. Curtis, who worked as TVA’s chief chemical engineer, engineering consultant, and director. The dissertation finds that TVA engineers between 1933 and 1953 performed multiple white masculinities that resembled larger contemporary trends. These actors valued certain white masculinities more than others. For example, they lauded and performed traits of white-collar and frontier masculinities more often than those distinctive to military masculinity. They were notably consistent across time. Further, TVA performances of multiple white masculinities functioned as a hybridized hegemonic bloc, which appropriated traits of various masculinities to maintain hegemony. Such hybridization obscured the strong association of engineering identity with masculinity and whiteness while strengthening boundaries around it. Because the multiple masculinities were associated with varied and often contradictory traits, actors selectively focused on lauded traits that specific ‘insiders’ successfully performed and those that specific ‘outsiders’ failed to perform. In doing so, they judged the same traits positively or negatively depending on the subject, showing the powerful flexibility of hybridization.
  • Item
    Flood control and metropolitan development in Houston, Miami and Tampa, 1935-1985
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2018-04-10) Bea-Taylor, Jonah
    This research focuses on three Southeastern cities – Houston, Miami, and Tampa – that are particularly vulnerable to the repercussions of climate change because of their successful development on coastal plains. The rapid development of these sites from small cities into major regional centers in the decades after World War Two depended on federally-sponsored systems of canals, dams, and reservoirs for controlling floods and supplying fresh water. There was a similar sequence of events that were repeated a little more than a decade apart in each city: A major flood galvanized civic leaders to lobby for federal funding for flood control. Infrastructure designed by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the cities took between one and two decades to complete; rapid growth coincided with construction of levees, dams, and pumping stations, land values increased, and environmental concerns became more prominent in each location. These factors combined ultimately led to critical modifications of the flood control systems. Flood control helped stabilize a trajectory of rapid growth that was already underway in each city. By managing a natural hazard, it helped each city fulfill its destiny as a regional center. But that destiny had the unforeseen effect of making it much harder to complete the flood control projects as originally designed.
  • Item
    Evolution of United States telecommunications policy, technology, and competition at the Bell Operating Companies 1952-1996
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2017-10-13) Drews, Wayne R.
    Attention is focused on the local Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) and to the changes initially driven by competition in Customer Premises Equipment (CPE). The federal court’s decision in January 1982 resulted in AT&T’s divestiture of the BOCs and permanently changed the landscape. This study begins well before 1982 to consider the AT&T’s tradition of control over all telephone services and the significance of losing that control. The terminal, subscriber loop, central office switches, and interoffice trunks had for many years been the exclusive province of the regulated telephone operating companies. Communications lines and terminals were indivisible and installation of any subscriber-owned equipment violated federal and state tariffs and carried the penalty of service disconnection. The demise of that tradition occurred because of technology evolution, initiatives of competitors, changes in customer requirements, AT&T responses, and ultimately the actions of governmental bodies. To fully appreciate impacts of the court-ordered divestiture and the ramifications of various adjustments necessary by the divested BOCs, mandated that this study extends into the years of the mid-nineties. Even though most historical attention rests with AT&T Headquarters. The BOCs were key to the processes. Archives of the BOCs were explored and provided details previously unstudied by historians. Other primary sources were media accounts, proceedings of governmental agencies and industry forums, and interviews of individuals involved in the events. The Bell System attitude of invincibility was a significant factor leading to their loss. In the end, a break-up would be done and open competition delivered significant benefits.
  • Item
    Harnessing nature's timekeeper: a history of the piezoelectric quartz crystal technological community (1880-1959)
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-03-05) McGahey, Christopher Shawn
    In 1880, French brothers Jacques and Pierre Curie discovered the phenomenon of piezoelectricity in naturally occurring quartz crystal, sometimes referred to as 'nature's timekeeper.' By 1959, tens of millions of devices that exploited quartz crystal's piezoelectric character were being used in the technologies of radio, telephony, and electronic timekeeping. This dissertation analyzes the rapid rise of quartz crystal technology in the United States by looking at the growth of its knowledge base as reflected primarily in patents and journal articles. The major finding of this analysis is that the rise of quartz crystal technology cannot be fully understood by looking only at individuals, institutions, and technological factors. Rather, this work posits that the concept of technological community is indispensible in explaining rapid technological growth and diffusion that would otherwise seem inexplicable. In the late 1920s, and again in the early 1940s, the knowledge base of quartz crystal technology experienced exponential growth, partly due to U.S. government patronage and enlightened regulation. However, as this study shows, quartz crystal engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs could not have mobilized as quickly and effectively as they did unless a vibrant technological community already existed. Furthermore, the United States' ability to support such a thriving community depended in part on an early 20th century American culture that displayed an unmatched enthusiasm for democratic communications media, most especially broadcast radio and universal telephone service. Archival records, professional journal articles, government reports, manufacturer catalogs, and U.S. patents have been used to document this history of the quartz crystal technological community. This dissertation contributes to the literature on technological communities and their role in facilitating technological and ecomonic growth by showing that though such communities often form spontaneously, their growth may be nurtured and stimulated through enlightened government regulation. As such, this dissertation should be of interest to scholars in the fields of history of technology, business history, management studies, and public policy.
  • Item
    The Politics of Particularism: HBCUs, Spelman College, and the Struggle to Educate Black Women in Science, 1950-1997
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2006-07-10) Scriven, Olivia A.
    Since the close of WWII, higher education has been central to the growth of U.S. science, but the role of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)has been under-explored within this narrative. The nation s 105 HBCUs constitute less than one percent of the U.S. higher education community, but consistently have served as a major conduit for the production of African Americans in the sciences, technology, mathematics and engineering. National Science Foundation data reflect an average 29 percent share for the period 1994-2001. The output is even more striking when examined by degrees awarded in disciplinary clusters 50 percent in the agricultural sciences, 45 percent in the physical sciences and mathematics, and 42 percent in the biological sciences. This research explores the role of HBCUs in educating African Americans in science from the boosterism period shortly following World War II, through affirmative action legislation of the 1960s and 1970s, and concluding with current federal policies. A particular analysis is undertaken of Spelman College, a private liberal arts college founded by New England missionaries in the South during the late 19th century as a seminary for former slave women and girls. Spelman presents a unique case to analyze the particularistic characteristics of race, gender and institutional setting within the context of a so-called normative structure of science. Over a 25-year period, Spelman was able to rise beyond the structural limitations of its position as a Black college, a women's college, and a southern college to become one of the single most productive undergraduate institution for African American women earning the baccalaureate degree in science. What new perspectives might the Spelman story specifically and the history of HBCUs generally offer about the history of U.S. science, the notion that careers be open to talent, and current public policy discourse regarding efforts to increase the participation of under-represented racial minorities and women in science, engineering and mathematics? My thesis is that it is the politics of particularlism, not an ideal of universalism, that has fundamentally determined who participates in science and has had a significant impact on HBCUs. Despite these constraints, the contributions that these institutions have made to the U.S. scientific workforce have been enormous.
  • Item
    Going National while Staying Southern: Stock Car Racing in America, 1949 - 1979
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2004-08-17) Shackleford, Ben A.
    During the second half of the 20th century the Stock Car Racing enjoyed substantial growth and development. General enthusiasm for fast cars built within American culture by racers, hot rodders, and automaker advertising campaigns helped fuel rapid acceptance of production-based racing. Widespread popular fascination with automotive speed helped stock car racing withstand criticism of the violent nature of the sport leveled by public safety groups and politicians during the first decade of its organization. Indeed, the perceived rebelliousness of stock car racing helped drive stock car racing to develop a loyal fan base in the American South. For the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing (NASCAR) control over the technology of competition and the conduct of race events brought respectability, scale, and profitability to this entertainment phenomenon between 1949 and 1979. The power to specify technology offered NASCAR leverage over the actions of racers who, despite their status as independent contractors, remained fiercely loyal competitors. Control over the technology of competition also helped maintain strictly stock perceptions of NASCAR racing that made corporate sponsorship attractive to automakers and held the interest of the general public. After initial forays across the nation, NASCAR chose advantageous concentration on the southeastern markets where racing spectacle found the most enthusiastic and devoted audience. This thesis is an account of the process of systematization that brought the grass-roots phenomenon of production-based to a region and an nation, and how NASCAR relied on a stock-appearing racecar as a device to simultaneously control participants, lure corporate promotional dollars, and attract fans.
  • Item
    Learning and Corporate Strategy: The Dynamic Evolution of the North American Pulp and Paper Industry, 1860-1960
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2004-04-28) Toivanen, Hannes
    This study analyzes the long-term evolution of the North American pulp and paper industry, and offers a new synthesis of the dynamic forces that spearheaded the expansion and transformation of this large manufacturing industry. The evolution of the North American pulp and paper industry between 1860 and 1960 was driven by successive waves of technological learning that spawned structural change. Such waves transformed and expanded the sulphite and sulphate pulp, envelope, paper container, paper bag, magazine and printing paper, coated paper, board, and many other pulp and paper industries between 1860 and 1960. These waves repeated a pattern of co-evolution of technology and industrial organization that enveloped dynamic forces of change, such as innovation, corporate strategies, industrial relocation, and policy. As distinct branches of the pulp and paper industry passed from the early nascent phase to full maturity, the sources of innovation, nature of technological change, strategy and structure of leading firms, and industrial organization underwent throughout transformation. As these waves of industrial change passed from a nascent phase to maturity, the reciprocal dynamics between organization, corporate strategy, policy, and technological learning co-evolved, and established the evolutionary path of the North American pulp and paper industry.
  • Item
    The computor and the analyst : computing and power, 1880s-1960s
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2001-12) Tympas, Aristotelis