Stanford History Professor Richard White, Ph.D., to Speak at 2017 Gould Lecture

“The American West as Technological Project:
Innovating to Keep Things the Same.”
William R. and Erlyn J. Gould Distinguished Lecture on
Technology and the Quality of Life
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 ✦ 12:00 p.m.
Gould Auditorium, Marriott Library

Dr. Richard White is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University. On September 13th, he will speak at a free public lecture as part of the William R. and Erlyn J. Gould Distinguished Lecture on Technology and the Quality of Life. Dr. White specializes in the history of the American West, environmental history and Native American history. He also focuses on the development of capitalism in the late 19th century, particularly through examining the construction of the transcontinental railroad. His book Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America (W. W. Norton, 2011) was a finalist for a 2012 Pulitzer Prize and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History. He also has a new book this year titled, The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896 (Oxford History of the United States).

Dr. White is a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the Mellon Distinguished Professor Award.  His work has won numerous academic prizes, and he has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2016 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, which has played an important role in American cultural and intellectual life since its establishment in 1743.  He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Antiquarian Society.

The title of Dr. White’s lecture is, “The American West as Technological Project: Innovating to Keep Things the Same.” He explains, “The modern American West began as a technological project, and it has become an analog for modern transformative technologies.  The boosters of Silicon Valley, proponents of high speed rail, and others reach for analogies to the West. Such parallels are more revealing than those making them intend.  Then and now Americans have deployed new technologies to enhance the existing order rather than alter it.  These efforts usually miscarry not because the technologies fail but because the institutions that produce them, rather than the tools they deploy, form the real center for change.”

For more information about this event click here.

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