Steven A. Walton
—John William Stone (in Stones Fall, by Iain Pears)
- Associate Professor of History
- Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1999
- M.A., University of Toronto, 1994
- M.S., California Inst. of Technology, 1992
- B.S., Cornell University, 1991
I began my career as a mechanical engineer and then turned to the history of engineering through the history of science and technology. I am principally interested in the intersection of technology, its users, and the technical knowledge that they claim about it. Much of my work, though chronologically diverse, centers on military topics from arms and armor to artillery and the use of scientific instrumentation in war. My teaching focuses on the role of science and technology in the world and I teach on the history and philosophy of technology and science, as well as general courses in European history and military history.
I am currently at work on a number of projects:
- a book-length study on the transition from castle to fortress in the British Isles
in the mid-16th century.
- This began as a study of Jaccopo Aconcio and his 1540s fortification treatise (which I found and edited, but then was subsequently scooped by an Italian team who also found it; oh well, it made me make this a more analytical work), but now looks at a series of fortifications and writings on fortifications from the 1520s to 1570s. The argument is that the codification of the trace italienne fortification, is not quite so straightforward nor as 'scientific' as it is usually taken to be. Aconcio's positions his treatise as an example of Renaissance method, providing a clue to the position of this new knowledge within English society.
- I am also going to be publishing a modernized edition in the journal Fort: the journal of the Fortress Study Group in 2017
- I have also recently edited a number of projects:
- Patty Sotirin, Steven A. Walton, and Sue Collins (eds.), Home Front in the American Heartland: Local Experiences and Legacies of WWI (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020).
- Steven A. Walton and Michael J. Armstrong (eds.), The Majestic Nature of the North: Thomas Kelah Wharton’s Journeys in Antebellum America through the Hudson River Valley and New England (SUNY Press 2019).
- Steven A. Walton (ed.), Fifty Years of Medieval Technology and Social Change, AVISTA Studies in the History of Medieval Technology, Science & Art (Routledge, 2019) -- hopefully out by the end of the year.
- Lesley B. Cormack, Steven A. Walton, and John Schuster (eds.), Mathematical Practitioners and the Transformation of Natural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe (Springer, 2017)
- numerous studies related to American ordnance and the West Point Foundry
- a paper on the earliest U.S. cannon foundries
- a paper on the question of a national foundry in the US throughout the 19th century.
- a paper on the art collection of Gouverneur Kemble (owner of the WPF)
- And as if all that is not enough..
- I am also managing editor for the journal Vulcan: the International Journal for the Social History of Military Technology; editor for IA: The Journal for the Society for Industrial Archaeology; and wrapping up a stint as a series editor (with Adam Lucas) for the Brill series,
Technology & Change in History.
- I am also managing editor for the journal Vulcan: the International Journal for the Social History of Military Technology; editor for IA: The Journal for the Society for Industrial Archaeology; and wrapping up a stint as a series editor (with Adam Lucas) for the Brill series, Technology & Change in History.
Links of Interest
Areas of Expertise
- history of technology
- history of science
- artillery, fortification, ordnance
- history of engineering
- military history
- Early Modern European history
- Steven A. Walton and Timothy J. Scarlett. 2020. "Technology" 6: 65–83 in A Cultural History of Objects in the Modern Age, ed. by Laurie A. Wilkie and John M. Chenoweth. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
- Timothy J. Scarlett and Steven A. Walton. 2020. "Technology,” 5: 39-55 in A Cultural History of Objects in the Age of Industry, ed. by Carolyn White. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
- Steven A. Walton. 2020. “The American Expositionary Forces in WWI: From Patriotism to Memorialization of War,” 205-239 in Home Front in the American Heartland: Local Experiences and Legacies of WWI, ed. Patricia Sotirin, Steven A. Walton, and Sue Collins. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
- Steven A. Walton. 2019. “Technological Determinism(s) and the Study of War,” Vulcan 7: 4-18.
- Steven A. Walton (ed.). 2019. Fifty Years of Medieval Technology & Social Change. London: Routledge.
- Steven A. Walton and Michael J. Armstrong (eds.). 2019. The Majestic “Nature” of the North: Thomas Kelah Wharton’s Journeys in Antebellum America through the Hudson River Valley and New England. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
- Laura W. Rouleau, Sarah Scarlett, Timothy J. Scarlett and Steven A. Walton. 2020. Historic Resource Survey: Pullman National Historical Landmark, Town of Pullman, Chicago, Illinois. National Park Service.
- Timothy J. Scarlett and Steven A. Walton. 2017. Archaeological Overview & Assessment: Pullman National Historical Landmark, Town of Pullman, Chicago, Illinois, prepared for Midwest Archeological Center, National Park Service.
- Steven A. Walton. 2018 [for 2015]. “Machinery to Match the Materials: Iron Ore Washing
in Pennsylvania,” IA: The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 41.1/2: 71-92. [Vogel Prize Winner]
Steven A. Walton. 2018 "'My Works will be the Best in America': Peter Townsend's Cannon Foundry, 1815-25, 1815-25." New York State Museum Record 8: 79-102. Read More
- Steven A. Walton. 2017. "Technologies of Pow(d)er: Military Mathematical Practitioners’ Strategies and Self-Presentation." In Mathematical Practitioners and the Transformation of Natural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, edited by L. Cormack, S. Walton, and J. Schuster, pp. 87-113. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science vol. 45. Dordrecht: Springer. Read More
- Steven A. Walton. 2015. “Testing the Revolution in a Civil War: Developments in Heavy Artillery, 1830-1860.” In Astride Two Ages: Technology in the American Civil War, edited by Barton C. Hacker, pp. 55-85. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. Read More
- Steven A. Walton and Thomas E. Boothby. 2014. “What is Straight Cannot Fall: Gothic architecture, Scholasticism, and dynamics,” History of Science 52.4, no. 173: 347–376. Read More
- Steven A. Walton. 2010. “State Building through Building for the State: domestic and foreign expertise in Tudor fortifications.” In Expertise and the Early Modern State, edited by Eric Ash, Osiris 25: 66-84. Read More
- Steven A. Walton. 2009 . "Founding a Foundry: the Diary of the Setting-Out of the West Point Foundry." Industrial Archaeology: Theme Issue: West Point Foundry 35.1/2: 25-38. Read More
- National Park Service, Pullman National Monument Q&A and CRS contract [with Timothy Scarlett, Laura Rouleau, and Sarah Scarlett], 2017-2020.
- Steven A. Walton 2022. “Allied Expositionary Forces: War Trophies in America after the Great War,” Society for Military History, Fort Worth, TX, 28 April – 1 May.
- Steven A. Walton. 2021. “Victorian Science meets the reality of Industrial War: H.S.S. Watkin and Rangefinding and the Royal Artillery, 1870-1918,” ICOHTEC, Prague (virtual), 25–29 Jul.
- Steven A. Walton 2019. Educated at the Foundry: WPF and the creation of technical expertise in America," Putnam History Museum, Cold Spring, NY, 9 Feb.
- Steven A. Walton 2018. “Trophies of War: Commemoration of AND Encouragement to War during and after WWI,” World War One in the Copper Country, Houghton, MI, 28-29 Sep.
- Steven A. Walton 2018. “Shotgun Momentum? Diversity in early modern gunpowder mixtures,” ICOHTEC, St. Etienne, France, 17-21 Jul.
- Steven A. Walton 2018. “Scholastics and Humanists on the Medieval Technological Revolution,” International Medieval Conference, Leeds, UK, 2-5 Jul.
- Steven A. Walton 2018. “From Castle to Fortress: The changing nature of fortification in the 16thcentury,” Sixth Symposium Medieval & Renaissance Studies, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, 18-20 Jun.
- Steven A. Walton 2017. “Industrial Paternalism goes to School: Scientific and Technical Education in American Company Towns, 1840-1910,” History of Science Society (HSS) meeting, Toronto, ON, 9-12 Nov.
- Steven A. Walton 2017. “For the Public Good? The Role of the State in the Promotion of Technology in the Long Nineteenth Century,” Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, 26-29 Oct..
- Inventory of Historic Scientific Instruments at Michigan Tech
- SS3505 - Military History of the United States
- SS3552 - Renaissance & Reformation
- SS3511 - History of American Science
- SS3580 - Technology and Western Civilization
- SS3581 - History of Science
- SS5500 - IA Proseminar: History of Technology (grad)
- SS5503 - IA Proseminar: Material Culture Studies (grad)