Friday, April 4, 2008, 2:00–5:00 p.m.
Has the World Ever Been Flat? The Politics of Access in Britain, 1796-1851, and Manufacturing the Myth of Inclusion
E. Joanna Guldi, University of California at Berkeley
The history of the transport revolution is typically addressed as a story about inclusion. Such stories suggest that mobility gradually assimilated all economic classes and regional geographies into a nation characterized by access to print, democracy, and trade. Yet contemporary debates around the transport revolution were marked by deep concern about participation and access. Property rights, management, connectivity, and finance all represented zones where the common burden might be shifted to the benefit of a particular few. This paper discusses the two fiercest debates about inclusion: the status of expert versus local knowledge in who would manage the roads, and the balance of public, private, local, and national, in who would pay for them. It will suggest that both centralizers and localists engaged in manufacturing the myth that the world had become flat in order to prove that their system would inevitably assimilate the nation, solving the problems of exclusion.
Automobile Drivers in the United States, 1898-1918: Chaos or Control?
Robert Buerglener, DePaul University
In the late 19th and early 20th century, automobile advocates and drivers in the United States made broad claims about the utopian promise of automobiles. However, it quickly became apparent that automobile drivers brought with them an enormous potential for social disorder, even death. As a result, many non-drivers called for stringent regulation. This paper examines drivers' beliefs about regulation and law enforcement. In the context of Progressive Era debates over individual responsibility and the boundaries of private and public property, drivers took the side of individual autonomy rather than external control. Drivers' beliefs about who should control their activities thus became an arena for the contestation of important issues of social privilege, class, and power in the years before WWI.
Commentator: James Akerman, Newberry Library
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Jenny Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (312) 255-3524. Please do not request the paper unless you plan to attend the seminar.
The Newberry Library Seminar on Technology, Politics, and Culture is co-sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago, Roosevelt University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Northwestern University's School of Communications
The Newberry Library
Dr. William M. Scholl Center for
Family and Community History
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Chicago, Illinois 60610
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