Inventing America: The Interplay of Technology and Democracy in Shaping American Identity
November 2-4, 2006, Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Va.
Throughout our nation’s history, Americans have enthusiastically embraced new technology, and have been willing to experiment with new political ideas and practices. Commemorating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin, this conference will examine how Franklin, Jefferson, and their contemporaries saw technology as integral to the creation of a new form of government, a democratic republic, as well as how Americans since Franklin’s time have wrestled with the interplay of technology and democracy.
“Inventing America” will begin the evening November 2 at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. with a presentation by Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and moderated by Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein. The conference will continue on November 3-4 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville with sessions devoted to technology and its relationship to democratic values, invention, political economy, and the practice of democracy.
The conference is sponsored by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and co-sponsored by the National Archives, the Department of Science, Technology and Society at U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello.
“Inventing America” is free and open to the public. For more information about the conference, including sessions, speakers, directions, and parking, please visit the Lemelson Center website at invention.smithsonian.org/events.
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