Engineering and War

Engineering and War

Militarism, Ethics, Institutions, Alternatives

Ethan Blue, Michael Levine, Dean Nieusma
ISBN: 9781608458769 | PDF ISBN: 9781608458776
Copyright © 2013 | 121 Pages | Publication Date: 12/01/2013

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This book investigates the close connections between engineering and war, broadly understood, and the conceptual and structural barriers that face those who would seek to loosen those connections. It shows how military institutions and interests have long influenced engineering education, research, and practice and how they continue to shape the field in the present. The book also provides a generalized framework for responding to these influences useful to students and scholars of engineering, as well as reflective practitioners. The analysis draws on philosophy, history, critical theory, and technology studies to understand the connections between engineering and war and how they shape our very understandings of what engineering is and what it might be. After providing a review of diverse dimensions of engineering itself, the analysis shifts to different dimensions of the connections between engineering and war. First, it considers the ethics of war generally and then explores questions of integrity for engineering practitioners facing career decisions relating to war. Next, it considers the historical rise of the military-industrial-academic complex, especially from World War II to the present. Finally, it considers a range of responses to the militarization of engineering from those who seek to unsettle the status quo. Only by confronting the ethical, historical, and political consequences of engineering for warfare, this book argues, can engineering be sensibly reimagined.

Table of Contents

The Close Alignment of Engineering and Warfare
The Ethics of War
Engineering Integrity
Historical Entwinements, From Colonial Conflicts to Cold War
Historical Entwinements, Post-Cold War
Responding to Militarism in Engineering
Conclusion: Facing the Entwinement of Engineering and War
Additional Resources
Author Biographies

About the Author(s)

Ethan Blue, The University of Western Australia
Ethan Blue is an associate professor of history at the University of Western Australia. He is the author of Doing Time in the Depression: Everyday Life in Texas and California Prisons (New York University Press, 2012), with additional publications in Pacific Historical Review; Law, Culture, and the Humanities; Journal of Social History; and, with Dean Nieusma, the International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace. He is currently researching the historical technologies of American deportation and the comparative history of settler colonialisms.

Michael Levine, The University of Western Australia
Michael Levine is a professor of philosophy at the University of Western Australia. He is the author of the following books: Prospects for an Ethics of Architecture, with Bill Taylor (2011); Doing Philosophy, Watching Movies, with Damian Cox (2011); Politics Most Unusual: Violence, Sovereignty and Democracy in the "War on Terror", with Damian Cox and Saul Newman (2009); Integrity and the Fragile Self, with Damian Cox and Marguerite La Caze (2003); and Pantheism: A Non-theistic Concept of Deity (1994). Levine has also edited Racism in Mind, with Tamas Pataki (2004), and The Analytic Freud: Philosophy and Psychoanalysis (2000).

Dean Nieusma, Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dean Nieusma is an associate professor of science and technology studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he is Director of Rensselaer's acclaimed Programs in Design and Innovation. He is founding editor of the International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace. His research spans professional and educational reform efforts in engineering, interdisciplinary collaboration in technology design, and the politics of expertise. In addition to two articles in the International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace, one with Ethan Blue, he has published in Engineering Studies, Design Studies, Technology and Society, and Sustainability: Science, Policy, Practice as well as several book chapters.

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