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Authors | Jocelyn Holland

Jocelyn Holland received her Ph.D. in German Studies from Johns Hopkins in 2003, taught for 15 years at UC Santa Barbara, and joined Cal Tech in 2018. Her books include German Romanticism and Science: the Procreative Poetics of Goethe, Novalis, and Ritter, Key Texts by Johann Wilhelm Ritter on the Science and Art of Nature, and Instrument of Reason: Technological Constructions of Knowledge around 1800. Current projects include a book on eighteenth-century technology and essays on materialities of joining.

Articles on Amodern by Jocelyn Holland


Challenges in Defining – and Teaching – Technology around 1800

Around 1800, as today, the role of technology in the classroom went well beyond the study and use of technical objects. As a science and an academic discipline, technology was notoriously difficult to define, given the inordinate number of tools, instruments, and practices it encompassed, and its connections to other disciplines. This essay introduces readers to writers of important technological treatises, such as Johann Beckmann and Georg Lamprecht, who struggled to apply a sound theoretical order to teaching an imperfect science. It also considers a connection between technological theory and an idealized classroom experience, both of which relied upon subsuming the manifold of technological parts within a single trained gaze.