Historians usually depict the space race of the 1960s and 1970s as a pitched technological battle between Cold War political rivals. Yet while U.S. and Soviet spacecraft forced the world to look upward towards the Moon, they also, quite ironically, encouraged citizens across the globe to gaze back down at “spaceship Earth” with a newfound environmental awareness.
The next NJIT Technology and Society Forum presentation will be held Nov. 3, 2010 at 3-4:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium when historian Neil Maher, chair of the history department, discusses the influence of the environmental history of the space race and the divisive politics of the “long 1960s.” The free event is open to the public.
Maher will also detail how this series of events even touched the Civil Rights, Women’s, Environmental, and anti-Vietnam War movements. The ultimate goal of Maher’s current research in this area is to focus attention not only on the historic significance of NASA, but more importantly on how the space race and nature’s role within it shaped the politics and culture of post-World War II America.
An associate professor in the NJIT Federated History Department, Maher teaches environmental and political history. He has published articles in journals that include the Western Historical Quarterly, Environmental History and the Chronicle of Higher Education, edited a collection of essays by historians, scientists, and policy analysts titled New Jersey’s Environments: Past, Present, and Future (Rutgers University Press, 2006), and co-edited a special issue of the Radical History Review titled “Transnational Environments: Rethinking the Political Economy of Nature in a Global Age” (Duke University Press, 2010). In January of 2008, Oxford University Press published his book, Nature’s New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement, which received the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Book Award for the best monograph in conservation history.
Previous Forum presentations are available at http://itunes.njit.edu; search for “Technology and Society Forum.”