AK1202 History of Science and Technology 7.5 credits

Teknik- och vetenskapshistoria

This is a course in the history of science and technology in a global perspective, i.e. it focuses on global large-scale historical changes over long timespans. The course’s primary purpose is to give a deeper understanding of the history, and historic implications of science, technology and engineering for societies and cultures. It also functions as an introduction to further studies in history of science and technology, and into the craft of the historian, i.e., reading and writing academic texts, basic source criticism and so on.  The course contains two blocks:

The first block is an introduction, containing an overview of the global history of the world, with a special focus on the history of science and technology; and a general overview of theoretical perspectives.

The second block revolves around three themes. Students will work in a group with one of the themes.  The themes may change, but are at the present:  theme 1: A comparison of the scientific, technological and industrial development in Europe and Japan the last 300 years: theme 2: A comparision between North America (USA) and Latin America the last 300 years: theme 3: Technology transfer from the developed world to developing countries during the last 100 years, with a special focus on the differences before and after colonialism.

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Course information

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents *

The course considers science and technology in a global historical perspective. It explores how science and technology have been used to make sense of the world, and to control it. The course provides a foundation for further studies in the history of science, technology, and the environment, but also allows students specializing in engineering and the natural sciences to gain a deeper understanding of the historical dimensions of their fields, and a broader perspective on how and why science and technology have become such powerful elements in the modern world.

Intended learning outcomes *

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

- Identify major changes in science and technology over time;

- Identify sources and methods used in historical writing and critically assess the validity of arguments in the history of science and technology;

- Describe how central ideas in science and technology, such as discovery, innovation, modernity, risk, etc., have been historically and socially constructed;

- Explain how understanding the historical dimensions of issues with contemporary significance can inform responsible actions in the present.

Course Disposition

The course involves lectures, discussion sessions and independent work.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites *

Applicants registered on a regular KTH programme are eligible. For applicants not registered on a KTH programme: completed upper secondary education.

Recommended prerequisites





A selection of articles and book chapters.

Examination and completion

Grading scale *

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Examination *

  • INL1 - Assignment Work, 7.5 credits, Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade *

- Active participation in course activities.

- Approved assignments.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Per Högselius

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web AK1202

Offered by

ABE/History of Science, Technology and Environment

Main field of study *


Education cycle *

First cycle

Add-on studies

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Kati Lindström, kati.lindstrom@abe.kth.se

Ethical approach *

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Supplementary information

The course might be cancelled if less than 5 students want to enrol.

Former course code: 4D1205