(updated 16 Jan. 2014)

Leonardo to the Internet:

Technology and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present

Thomas J. Misa

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011; 2nd edition
L2i 2nd cover



Chapter 4. Instruments of Empire (1840-1914)

How was the era of "empire" different from that of "industry"--even for Britain? What events triggered a 'shift' to empire between 1840 and 1860?

DISCUSS steam as a "social force" in Britain's empire.  Same question: what "impact" did steam have on Britain's ability to govern India?

Discuss the role of opium in China, British India, and the British empire. 

Rudyard Kipling, "The White Man's Burden," McClure's Magazine 12 (Feb. 1899): "Take up the White Man's burden / Send forth the best ye breed / Go, bind your sons to exile / To serve your captives' need; / To wait, in heavy harness, / On fluttered folk and wild / Your new-caught sullen peoples, / Half devil and half child."
COMPARE original "White Man's Burden" <www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/kipling.asp> with "Black Man's Burden" + "Brown Man's Burden".

Assess the impact of "empire" on British and Indian industry; and on British-American and Indian culture.

EXPLAIN, in detail, how telegraphs in India as well as to London reflected the imperatives of empire. Where were the lines built, when, and why?

How were large-scale public works projects designed to keep India "agricultural rather than manufacturing"?

How did Indian technical education before 1900 reflect the goals of British empire (rather than, say, the aim of industrial development)? Where were the technical schools, what did they teach?

EXPLAIN how RAILROADS in India reflected the imperatives of empire. Where were the lines built, when, and why? 

CONTRAST a "classic" British-Indian railroad (rail gauge, locomotive design, bridge construction, etc.) with one from North America. 

DISCUSS the consequences of "railway imperialism" in Canada and in Mexico. See Misa's Nation of Steel chap. 1.5.

Railway imperialists did not get what they wanted in South Africa.  What happened?  What were the consequences of railway conflicts on southern Africa?

BROWSE Misa's "From Steelton to Mandalay" -- a notable instance of American railroad hardware in imperial India-Burma.  Read ONE of the "essays" CAREFULLY; EXAMINE the pictures. What attitudes about Western technology, native society, and imperialism can you find?

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