Today’s fluid market for technical expertise in the modern digital landscape has its beginnings in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when expertise evolved from largely local knowledge to expanding global networks of expertise and innovation. This workshop will convene select scholars to examine the history of the globalization of engineering expertise, including the growing hegemony of US and European dominance in the global knowledge economy and the impact of this growth on development and the local production of expertise around the world.

This in the second workshop in an ongoing research project on the global history of engineering, supported by the Kellogg Institute and the National Science Foundation (NSF Award #2020926).

For more information about this remote workshop, contact organizers Faculty Fellow Ted Beatty or former research visitor  Israel Garcia Solares (University of California, San Diego).

Saturday, December 4

09.00-09.45 | Welcome, and Presentation of Tentative Themes for the Edited Volume
Israel Solares and Ted Beatty

09.45-10:30 | Discussion of one paper
 Steve Tuffnell, “Networks of Mass Mining: Corporate Capitalism, Engineering Expertise, and the Technological System of Mass Mining in Southern Africa”

10.30-10.45 | Break

10.45-12.15 | Discussion of two papers
Aparajith Ramnath, “Sir M. Visvesvaraya in Modern India: Patron-saint of engineering or father of economic planning?”
Mark Hendrickson, “Antimony in the Twentieth Century: A Global, Strategic, Public, and Hazardous Story”

12.15-13.15 | Lunch Break

13.15-14.45 | Discussion of two papers
Doug Jones, “The New Almaden Boys: U.S. Mining Engineers and the Reconstruction of South Africa's Mine Labor Regime, 1897-1908”
 Aurora Gomez-Galvarriato, "The Armour Institute and Transnational Engineering Research"

14.45-15.00 | Break

15.00-15.45 | Discussion of one paper
Angela Vergara, "Inventing Rural Modernity: Agricultural Engineers and the Chilean Countryside (1880s-1950s)”

Sunday, December 5

09.15-10.45 | Discussion of two papers 
 Mikael Wolfe, “Engineering Meteorology: How Engineers Helped to Establish Meteorology (and Climatology) in late 19th Century Mexico”
Elisabeth Köll, "The Engineering Job Market in East Asia, 1904 to 1941: Talent Flows, Industrialization, and the Impact of Politics"

10.45-11.00 | Break

11.00-12.00 | Discussion of the Introduction; Return to the Themes; Project Website
Israel Solares and Ted Beatty

12.00 | Adjourn

Workshop Organizers

Kellogg Institute Faculty Fellow Edward (Ted) Beatty is professor of history at the University of Notre Dame and associate dean for academic affairs at the Keough School of Global Affairs.  He is author of Institutions and Investment: The Political Basis of Industrialization in Mexico before 1911 (Stanford, 2001) and Technology and the Search for Progress in Modern Mexico (University of California, 2015), which won the Friedrich Katz prize for best book on Latin America in 2015 from the American Historical Association.

Former Kellogg Institute Guest Scholar Israel Garcia Solares holds a postdoctoral fellowship in the History Department at the University of California, San Diego, following fellowships at the Weatherhead Center for International Studies at Harvard University and the Kellogg Institute at Notre Dame.  His recent article “Striking Veins: Strikes and Labor Conflict in Mexico and the United States, 1906-1952” is published in Labor History; he is working on a book project, tentatively titled “Underground Leviathans: Mining Multinational Corporations in North America, 1901-1971.”

Beatty and Solares will present at the workshop a paper that reviews the literature on the rise of modern engineering and that offers an initial description of their engineering database. 


Aurora Gómez-Galvarriato is professor at the Centro de Estudios Históricos, El Colegio de México, and served as Director of the Mexican National Archive from 2009 to 2013.  She is the author of Industry and Revolution: Social and Economic Change in the Orizaba Valley, Mexico (Harvard University Press, 2013) and has published numerous articles and edited volumes in economic, business, and social history.  Her contribution to the workshop will focus on the Illinois Institute of Technology and its forerunner, the Armour Institute, and their role in transnational research by engineers.

Mark Hendrickson is associate professor of history at the University of California, San Diego.  Mark is an historian of the United States and author of American Labor and Economic Citizenship: New Capitalism from WWI to the Great Depression (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and the recent recipient of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship for his ongoing work on the work of American mining engineers and geologists abroad, ca. 1880-1930. His contribution to the workshop will focus on the mining of antimony in the twentieth century.

Doug Jones is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he researches the globally entangled histories of North America and southern Africa. He is currently completing his dissertation, “The Cult of the Yankee Mining Engineer: Engineering Nature, Race, and Labor in North America and Southern Africa, 1860-1922.” His contribution to the workshop will focus on the role of US mining engineers in shaping racial capitalism in South Africa, ca. 1890-1910.

Kellogg Institute Faculty Fellow Elisabeth Köll is professor of history and chair of the department at the University of Notre Dame.  An historian of modern China, she has published From Cotton Mill to Business Empire: The Emergence of Regional Enterprises in Modern China (Harvard, 2003) and Railroads and the Transformation of China (Harvard, 2019), is currently working on a study of informal finance in China, and has published on the history of civil engineering in China.  Her contribution to the workshop will involve the publication of the East Asian Review from 1904 to 1941 and the journal’s discussion of engineering and technical expertise in East Asia during the first half of the twentieth century.

Aparajith Ramnath is assistant professor at Ahmedabad University.  With a PhD from Imperial College London and an MSc from Oxford, both in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, he works on the history of technology, engineering, and business in India.  His book The Birth of an Indian Profession: Engineers, Industry, and the State, 1900-47 was published in 2017 by Oxford University Press.  His contribution to the workshop will focus on a study of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, an Indian engineer involved in economic planning in the first half of the twentieth century.

Gabriela Recio Cavazos is an independent scholar and author.  She specializes in business and entrepreneurial history. She has held professional and academic posts at the National Archives of Mexico and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). Her recent publications include an entrepreneur’s biography, Don Eugenio Garza Sada. Ideas, acción legado (2016), and an analysis of corporate lawyers in early 20th century Mexico, El abogado y la empresa. Una Mirada al despacho de Manuel Gómez Morin (2017).  Her contribution to the workshop will focus on Mexicans who attended MIT early in the twentieth century. 

Stephen Tuffnell is associate professor of Modern US History at the University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute. He researches the global histories of American emigration, gold mining, and United States imperialism in Africa in the nineteenth century. He is the author of Made in Britain: Nation and Emigration in Nineteenth-Century America (University of California, 2020) and co-editor, with Benjamin Mountford, of A Global History of Gold Rushes (University of California, 2018).  His contribution to the workshop will focus on networks of US mining engineers in South Africa and the envirotechnical systems they constructed in response to the Rand’s unique geology.

Ángela Vergara is professor of history at the California State University, Los Angeles and is author of Copper Workers, International Business and Domestic Politics in Cold War Chile (Penn State, 2008), co-editor of Company Towns in the Americas: Industrial Capitalism, Spatial Engineering and Working-class Communities (Georgia, 2011), along with numerous articles and book chapters. She is in the final stages of a forthcoming new book, titled "Fighting Unemployment in Twentieth Century Chile."  Ángela serves on the editorial board of the American Historical Review.  Her contribution to this workshop focuses on female Chilean agronomists and their trans-hemispheric relationships.

Mikael Wolfe is assistant professor of history at Stanford University. He holds a Phd in Latin American history from Chicago and a BA in East Asian Studies from Columbia.  His 2017 Duke Press book, Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico, won the Elinor K. Melville Prize for Latin American Environmental History.  He has also published several articles on the environmental, technological, and climate history of Mexico and Cuba.  His current book project is titled "Rebellious Climates: How Extreme Weather Shaped the Mexican and Cuban Revolutions," from which he will draw for his contribution to the workshop, focusing on meteorological and hydrological engineers in early twentieth century Mexico and Cuba.