SEMINAR: The Theology of Engineering

Event Date: January 24, 2013
Speaker: Dr. Kristina Bross, English & American Studies, Purdue University
Time: 3:30-4:20pm
Location: ARMS B071
Contact Name: Dr. Alice Pawley
Contact Email:

This talk presents close analysis of Purdue history and material culture to suggest how the field of engineering was constructed by Purdue officials and supporters in the early part of the 20th century.  In response to tragedy and loss, engineering at Purdue was offered as a means by which humanity could solve its most significant physical—and even spiritual—problems, and engineers were described as agents of almost divine power. 

Kristina Bross is associate professor of English and American studies and vice-president of the Society of Early Americanists.  An award-winning teacher and a University Faculty Scholar, she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Indiana Humanities Council and was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany in 2007.  She is the author of Dry Bones and Indian Sermons: Praying Indians in Colonial America, editor of Early Native Literacies in New England: A Documentary and Critical Anthology (with Hilary Wyss), and numerous published essays on early American studies, archival studies and pedagogy.  Her current research, with Susan Curtis of the history department, draws on Purdue’s past to investigate how the unresolved issues of the Civil War combined with rapid industrial development and modernization prompted anxious musings about race and citizenship, the promise and responsibilities of engineering, and the very legitimacy of the Morrill Act’s mandate to teach practical courses in the agricultural and mechanical arts.