The authors reveal quantification to be a powerful and versatile tool, applicable to a myriad of materials from the past. Their book, accessible to complete beginners, offers detailed advice and practical tips on how to build a dataset from historical sources and how to categorize it according to specific research questions. Drawing on examples from works in social, political, economic, and cultural history, the book guides readers through a wide range of methods, including sampling, cross-tabulations, statistical tests, regression, factor analysis, network analysis, sequence analysis, event history analysis, geographical information systems, text analysis, and visualization. The requirements, advantages, and pitfalls of these techniques are presented in layperson’s terms, avoiding mathematical terminology.
Conceived primarily for historians, the book will prove invaluable to other humanists, as well as to social scientists looking for a nontechnical introduction to quantitative methods. Covering the most recent techniques, in addition to others not often enough discussed, the book will also have much to offer to the most seasoned practitioners of quantification.
Mindful of theoretical questions about what hastens technological change and how society and technology mutually influence one another, the author supplies a thoughtful and instructive study. Archeological, historical, and literary evidence vividly depicts those who designed, constructed, and used medieval water systems and demonstrates a shift from a public-administrative to a private-innovative framework—one that argues for the importance of local initiatives.
"The following chapters attempt to chart a course between the Scylla and Charybdis of technological and social determinism. While writing them, I have tried to strike a balance between the technical and human aspects of medieval hydraulic systems, and to remember that beneath the welter of documents and diffusion patterns, configurations and components, ordinances and expenditures, lie the perceptions, the choices, and often the plain hard work of individual men and women." —from the Preface
McClellan and Dorn identify two great scientific traditions: the useful sciences, patronized by the state from the dawn of civilization, and scientific theorizing, initiated by the ancient Greeks. They find that scientific traditions took root in China, India, and Central and South America, as well as in a series of Near Eastern empires, during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. From this comparative perspective, the authors explore the emergence of Europe and the United States as a scientific and technological power.
The new edition reorganizes its treatment of Greek science and significantly expands its coverage of industrial civilization and contemporary science and technology with new and revised chapters devoted to applied science, the sociology and economics of science, globalization, and the technological systems that underpin everyday life.