Jennifer Alexander: The Radical Religiosity of Jacques Ellul's Technological Critique

Noeud de réseau: 
Je., Fév. 7, 2013, 5:00pm - , 7:00pm

Thursday, February 7, 5:00-6:30pm, GREEN COLLEGE, Coach House (reception to follow)
JENNIFER ALEXANDER, University of Minnesota, Program in the History of Science & Technology

Jacques Ellul formulated his influential critique of technological society in the decade following the Second World War, as one of a group of theologians, engineers, and critics concerned about technology and social justice in war-torn Europe. The work of this group was sponsored by the World Council of Churches in Geneva, largely funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, and Ellul was its most recognizable speaker. Ellul led his colleagues in an attempt to visualize a society founded neither on Marxist nor capitalist terms, by radically rejecting the concepts of planning inherent in both. This paper analyzes the speech that brought Ellul to international attention, at the first conference of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam in 1948, and compares his critique of technological society with other critiques circulating through the study circles of post-war Europe. The paper concludes that Ellul's critique cannot be understood outside of the religious milieu within which it was born.

Jennifer Alexander is a historian of technology with wide-ranging interests. Her recent book: The Mantra of Efficiency:  From Water Wheels to Social Control (2009, Johns Hopkins University Press) won the Outstanding Book Award from the Society for the History of Technology.

Here is more information about Dr. Alexander:

STS Colloquium:

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