The work of Raymond Williams, including Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture, has significantly shaped my own thinking, especially when I was in graduate school. I was thus quite honored when Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler invited me to write the entry on “Technology” for their collection, Keywords for American Cultural Studies, now in its third edition.
Links to the book and entry are below. I also point to my 2018 syllabus for Technology and Society 200, “Prototyping Pasts and Futures,” where I taught Keywords essays by Hendler (“Society”), Lisa Nakamura (“Media”), and Tara McPherson (“Digital”). Those links are followed by New York University Press’ official description of the book.
Many thanks to Bruce and Glenn for their fabulous editorial work over the years. Their approach informed my own as I edited Making Things and Drawing Boundaries and The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities during the 2010s.
Technology (A Keyword)
Published in Keywords for American Cultural Studies (Burgett and Hendler, eds.) in 2014 (2nd edition) and 2020 (3rd edition) | New York University Press | 2,106 words | partially open access
Description of Keywords for American Cultural Studies (Third Edition)
Since its initial publication, scholars and students alike have turned to Keywords for American Cultural Studies as an invaluable resource for understanding key terms and debates in the fields of American studies and cultural studies. As scholarship has continued to evolve, this revised and expanded third edition offers indispensable meditations on new and developing concepts used in American studies, cultural studies, and beyond.
Designed as a uniquely print-digital hybrid publication, this Keywords volume collects 114 essays, each focused on a single term such as “America,” “culture,” “diversity,” or “religion.” More than forty of the essays have been significantly revised for this new edition, and there are nineteen completely new keywords, including crucial additions such as “biopolitics,” “data,” “debt,” and “intersectionality.” Throughout the volume, interdisciplinary scholars explore these terms and others as nodal points in many of today’s most dynamic and vexed discussions of political and social life, both inside and outside of the academy. The Keywords website features forty-eight essays not in the print volume; it also provides pedagogical tools for instructors using print and online keywords in their courses.
The publication brings together essays by interdisciplinary scholars working in literary studies and political economy, cultural anthropology and ethnic studies, African American history and performance studies, gender studies and political theory. Some entries are explicitly argumentative; others are more descriptive. All are clear, challenging, and critically engaged. As a whole, Keywords for American Cultural Studies provides an accessible A-to-Z survey of prevailing academic buzzwords and a flexible tool for carving out new areas of inquiry.