The prize is part of a collective commitment for addressing systemic and epistemic racism at SHOT and in the global intellectual field it represents. The prize is intended for junior scholars and new entrants to the profession worldwide. The prize will be awarded for a single-authored, unpublished essay in any language that is of a length suitable for publication in Technology and Culture (T&C)– approximately 7,500 words (not including notes) and 100 notes.
Kelcey Gibbons, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For: “Making Technology Black: James C. W. Pennington, Martin R. Delany, and the Nineteenth Century Effort to Imagine a Black Future by Reframing the Past.”
In “Making Technology Black: James C. W. Pennington, Martin R. Delany, and the Nineteenth Century Effort to Imagine a Black Future by Reframing the Past,” author Kelcey Gibbons offers an original reappraisal of the Black radical tradition by foregrounding the role played by technology in the thought of two African American historians. She argues that these two intellectuals were part of a 19th century futurist project to imagine Black freedom in technological (as well as other) terms. They were among the first to link the history of enslaved African Americans with that of humans who built the earliest complex civilizations. As Gibbons pithily puts it, Pennington and Delany argued that “to be Black is to be technological – it is to have changed over time.” The paper thus challenges the association of technological knowledge with European whiteness found not just in the dominant historical record, but also in historiography. By finding history of technology in underappreciated sources, this paper reassesses the role of technology in Black history, and of African Americans in technological thought.