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Lecture 19

NATS 1840 Lecture 19: Lecture 19 - Summary (1)

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Natural Science
NATS 1840
Ian Slater

NATS 1840 – Lecture 19 – Cultural Assimilation of the Automobile - Automobiles ubiquitous and culturally influential - Technologies used differently by different individuals - Science and Technology Studies: consider practice, or how technology is used - Cars and roads, technology and designers, not users Roads and Redwoods - Co-evolution of highway networks and conservationist movement - Train and long distance travel, speed - Cars at turn of century, 40 mph top speed - Nature tourism promoted and profitable since middle of 19 century, automobile tourism movement, access to nature - Save the Redwood League allied with nature tourism groups - Automobile a tool to get citizens in touch with nature, promoted forest preservation and “unspoiled” nature - Alliance between environmental groups and commercial forces in context: o Cars cheap, US very large, automobiles and access to forests o Experience of nature first hand through the car o Technology plays an enabling role o Automobiles and pollution impacts - Positive association with respect to the environment in early 20 century - Technology and the experience of nature, trains: side windows, blurred foreground, flat landscape, spaces between objects, objects blurred together, technologies (tracks, poles, wires) in front - Train travel, “sublime” experiences of nature (sublime: great beyond all possibility of calculation or measurement) - Automobile, lower speeds, greater field of vision, potential for sublime experience of nature - After WWII experience of nature changed o Cars faster, visual experience similar to the train o Traffic volume increased, industrial commercial use of road - “Premodern” vision of the forest lost, environmentalists reject highways through forest Driving and Roads - Cultural meaning of roadways emerges after they have been used - Scholars ignored act of driving: entering and exiting flows of traffic, negotiating roads and intersections, parking, touring and promenading. - Driving is a “semiotic” act, e.g., “…an effort at negotiating meaning through use of a shared code.” - Mauch classifies driving into three categories: "pioneering,", "democratic," and "oppositional" - Pioneering driving practice: “…discontinuous and experimental qualities of early car use” - Impact of early driving, “…at no previous point in history had a form of individualized transport enabled people to move about with a rapidity and ease only imagined in the past.” - Drivers cr
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