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Machines as the Measure of Men


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Table of Contents

Preface to the 2014 Edition Introduction Part I. Before the Industrial Revolution Chapter 1. First Encounters: Impressions of Material Culture in an Age of Exploration Technology-Perceptions of Backwardness: Qualified Praise "Natural Philosophy"-Illiteracy and Faulty Calendars Scientific and Technological Convergence and the First Hierarchies of Humankind Chapter 2. The Ascendancy of Science: Shifting Views of Non-Western Peoples in the Era of the Enlightenment Model of Clay: The Rise and Decline of Sinophilism in Enlightenment Thought Ancient Glories, Modern Ruins: The Orientalist Discover of Indian Learning African Achievement and the Debate over the Abolition of the Slave Trade Scientific Gauges and the Spirit of the Times Part II. The Age of Industrialization Chapter 3. Global Hegemony and the Rise of Technology as the Main Measure of Human Achievement Africa: Primitive Tools and the Savage Mind India: The Retreat of Orienta1ism China: Despotism and Decline Materia1 Mastery as a Prerequisite of Civilized Life Chapter 4. Attributes of the Dominant: Scientific and Technological Foundations of the Civilizing Mission Perceptions of Man and Nature as Gauges of Western Uniqueness and Superiority The Machine as Civilizer Displacement and Revolution: Marx on the Impact of Machines in Asia Time, Work, and Discipline Space, Accuracy, and Uniformity Worlds Apart: The Case of Ye Ming-chen Chapter 5. The Limits of Diffusion: Science and Technology in the Debate over the African and Asian Capacity for Acculturation The First Generations of Improvers The Search for Scientific and Technological Proofs of Racial Inequality Qualifying the Civilizing Mission: Racists versus Improvers at the Tum of the Century Missing the Main Point: Science and Technology in Nineteenth-Century Racist Thought Part III. The Twentieth Century Chapter 6. The Great War and the Assault on Scientific and Technological Measures of Human Worth The Specter of Asia Industrialized Trench Warfare and the Crisis of Western Civilization Challenges to the Civilizing Mission and the Search for Alternative Measures of Human Worth Epilogue: Modernization Theory and the Revival of the Technological Standard Index

About the Author

Michael Adas is Abraham E. Voorhees Professor of History and Board of Governors' Chair at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He is the author most recently of Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission.


"Provocative and fascinating... Adas's deft use of quotation gives the missionaries, travelers, explorers, administrators, and teachers their authentic voices. He provides a wealth of documentation. One learns things worth knowing on every page... One leaves Machines as the Measure of Men persuaded by its essential analysis: that mastery of nature lay at the heart of Europe's comparison of itself to others. As an intellectual history of French and British assessments of Africa, China, and India, the book is wonderfully informative and nuanced. It will alter the debate about the history of Europe's relationship to the rest of the world."-New York Times Book Review "'Remarkable' is an adjective that is most appropriate for this study. Broad in interpretation, rich in detail, and supported by a wealth of information, Michael Adas's work will command the attention of every scholar of modern imperialism, every student of the broad subject of 'technology.' ... Adas offers an example of popular history at its very best, which is cultural history exquisitely constructed of detailed research, a well-designed overarching theme, and nicely polished prose... It will long be pivotal in all discussions that revolve around the technology and culture of modern European expansion. In sum, this is a most compelling, splendid book."-American Historical Review "The terrain of Adas's magnificent book is vast. He starts with the first encounters of intrepid European explorers in the seventeenth century and ends with the seeds of doubt which the Great War in Europe sowed in the western civilizing process... A vast range of sources are cited. Alternatives to the predominant ideology of western scientific and technological progress are explored, and the potential for diffusion of science and technology into different third world societies is also illuminated."-Times Higher Education Supplement

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