War, Technology & Innovation 2019-20

Why does military technology matter? What, if anything, separates military technologies from other types of technology? This course builds out from these kind of abstract questions to study the relationship between war, technology, and the changing character of warfare. A key feature of this course is that it avoids specfic focus upon individual military technologies and innovations, and requires students to consider the connections between war, warfare, and a variety of technologies beyond those with specific military applications.

The centrepiece for the course is a lecture series examining the relationship between war and technology, minus the weapons. In a parallel seminar series, the course examines the concept of military revolutions, and changing patterns of warfare in history. The course is ultimately designed for students to develop their own particular research interest, and the second term builds upon the first with a structured research series designed so that the course can discuss their own research projects and get feedback from the instructor.


Course Handbook: pdf - ebook - html

Reading List: link


Main Lectures

  1. Course Introduction: What’s the difference between a coffee mug and an F-35? | slides
  2. Agriculture | slides
  3. Marine Chronometers| slides
  4. The Cotton Gin | slides
  5. Electro-mechanical telegraphy | slides
  6. Nitroglycerin | slides
  7. Barbed wire | slides
  8. Nomograms | slides
  9. Reinforced concrete| slides
  10. Penicillin | slides
  11. Intermodal freight transport and the TEU | slides

Research Series 1: Not Much Ado About AEGIS

  1. Autonomous Weapon Systems and the American Way of War | slides
  2. Autonomy at Sea from NTDS to AEGIS | slides
  3. Human Autonomy in Distributed Systems | slides
  4. Vietnam’s Digital Battlefields | slides
  5. Autonomous Recognition Systems and Future Warfare | slides

Research Series 2: The Dinosaur Juice Killing Spree

  1. Energy and The Periodisation Problem | slides
  2. War Either Side of The Great Transition | slides
  3. Prime Movers and New Domains of Warfare | slides
  4. The Nuclear Complication| slides
  5. War in the Anthropo-whatnow? | slides | Lecture: Introduction - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Conclusion - Seminar Guide - Course Wrap Up