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SGTRF: Doctoral Program in Industrial Heritage and Archeology

SGTRF: Doctoral Program in Industrial Heritage and Archeology This proposal requests a Small Grant for Training and Research (SGTR) to support a new doctoral program in Industrial Heritage and Archeology opening in fall 2005. This venture grows from a successful and unique Masters program in industrial archeology (IA), begun in 1991. IA involves recording, interpreting, and preserving physical remains of industrially-related artifacts, sites, and systems within their cultural and historical contexts. Michigan Tech's Masters program in IA integrates the history of technology and archeology in classes and a required field experience. It includes attention to historic preservation, architectural history, and material culture. Every graduate has found work in the IA field, most often with CRM (cultural resource management) consulting firms or government agencies; others have pursued doctorates. The growth of heritage tourism also should expand the niche for future graduates. This proposal seeks support for a doctoral program, including graduate student stipends and a post-doctoral fellowship for the three-year term of the award, and for an international conference on the history of technology, IA, and material culture at the end of that time. The doctoral Program in Industrial Heritage and Industrial Archeology reflects an emergent opportunity for Ph.D.s prepared to interpret the history of industry and work and its material culture. The proposal cites the increasing currency of Industrial Heritage by bringing attention to the physical remains of the industrial past, and adds events of the past 100-200 years to the historical landscape interpreted by museums and historic sites. New national parks devoted to industrial history in Lowell, MA, Pittsburgh, and the region surrounding Michigan Tech, mirror the world industrial heritage sites recognized by UNESCO. The proposal is based on careful consideration, including an external review that recognized the unique qualifications of the Michigan Tech faculty, who, among other things, edit the Society for Industrial Archeology's journal. The project's intellectual merit rests first, in advancing a long-running scholarly interest in the history of technology on the history of industry and work by integrating techniques, tools, and skill sets from the historians of technology, archeologists, and others who explore the material culture of industry. While industrial archeology is not new, a doctoral program is; Michigan Tech's program will be unique in the U.S. Interdisciplinary attention to material culture has always been visible in the museum community within the history of technology, but this doctoral program marks a commitment to examine objects and artifacts not only in light of the newest currents of historical scholarship but also using current archeological methods. The specific research objectives are developing projects of greater scope and depth, some with an international perspective, while also grappling with the sometimes problematic nature of the term heritage itself. The broader impacts. First, this is an interdisciplinary educational project. Moreover, the program is not oriented simply toward academic careers, for students will have multiple options, including as leaders for private sector CRM firms and government agencies. In addition, our existing MS program already attracts female students (about 40% of admitted students), thus addressing gender disparity in the history of technology. Program graduates will have a significant impact upon public understanding of the industrial past, including artifacts, buildings, and machinery. A conference at the end of three years will insure dissemination of the results achieved through NSF support. Lastly, the program will be international in flavor, with postdoctoral fellowships, faculty and student exchanges, and joint research projects insuring the participation of scholars from abroad.

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