Linda Hall Library Fellows at SHOT Conference

Linda Hall Library Fellows Receive Awards from the Society for the History of Technology

The Linda Hall Library extends its congratulations to three recent research fellows who received awards at the 2022 meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). Alfredo Escudero, Diana Montaño, and Alexander Parry traveled to New Orleans for SHOT’s first in-person gathering since 2019. All three were honored for their scholarly achievements at an awards ceremony held on Saturday, November 12.

Alfredo Escudero is a doctoral candidate in Latin American History at Florida International University and a 2022-23 Linda Hall Library fellow. He was awarded the Kranzberg Dissertation Fellowship, which provides a graduate student with $4,000 to support the completion of a doctoral thesis. His dissertation, “Surveying the Andes: Indigenous Labor, Land Inspections, and the Technologies of Spanish Colonial Rule,” explores 16th century interactions and negotiations between Andean communities and Spanish colonial agents. By examining visitas (census and land inspection records) in colonial archives, his project reveals how Spanish settlers gathered information about indigenous agricultural and textile technologies. Escudero will use the Kranzberg Fellowship to organize additional research trips to Peru and Bolivia.

Diana Montaño is an assistant professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis and a 2021-22 Linda Hall Library fellow. She received the Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize, which is awarded annually to the best paper related to electrical power, electronics, telecommunications, or computer science published during the preceding year. Montaño’s article, “Ladrones de Luz: Policing Electricity in Mexico City, 1901-1918,” appeared in the February 2021 issue of Hispanic American Historical Review. It examines the electrification of Mexico’s capital through the lens of power thefts committed by that city’s residents (capitalinos). By analyzing over sixty court cases and debates over policing, private property, and consumer rights in the popular press, Montaño shows how capitalinos understood electricity’s transformative potential and actively participated in the process of technological change.

Alexander Parry is a doctoral candidate in the History of Medicine Department at Johns Hopkins University and a 2020-21 Linda Hall Library fellow. He received the Samuel Eleazar and Rose Tartakow Levinson Prize, which is awarded annually to the author of an unpublished essay in the history of technology “that explicitly examines, in some detail, a technology or technological device or process within the framework of social or intellectual history.” Parry’s essay, “Home is Where the Harm Is: Laundry Equipment, Injuries, and the United States Voluntary Safety System, c. 1920-1980,” considers how American society responded to the risks posed by new appliances such as wringer washers and electric irons. He demonstrates how safety professionals and organizations like Underwriters Laboratories and Consumers Union provided households with crucial guidance in the years preceding federal safety legislation. At the same time, Parry argues that this “voluntary” approach disproportionately benefitted wealthier families, who could afford to invest additional time, education, and resources to safeguard their homes.

“It is truly wonderful that a prestigious international organization like SHOT recognized Alfredo, Diana, and Alexander’s contributions to historical scholarship,” says Benjamin Gross, PhD, Vice President for Research and Scholarship at the Linda Hall Library. “We were thrilled to support their research and hope that their successes will inspire other talented historians of technology to explore our collections.”

Full citations for all of SHOT’s 2022 award winners are available on the Society’s website. Click here for additional information about the Linda Hall Library’s fellowship program. Applications for our 2023-24 fellowships are due January 20, 2023.