Department of Science, Technology and Society
233 Lane Hall
280 Alumni Mall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Lee Vinsel studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.
Since 2015, with his collaborator Andy Russell, Vinsel has organized and led The Maintainers, a global interdisciplinary research network that examines maintenance, repair, and mundane work with technology.
Vinsel’s work has been published in several major history journals and has appeared in or been covered by Aeon, the New York Times, The Atlantic, Guardian, Le Monde, and other popular outlets.
- Science and Technology Studies
- Body Studies and Material Culture
- Human Life and Technology
- History of Science and Technology
- History of Innovation
- Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, History and Policy
- M.S., Carnegie Mellon University, History and Policy
- B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Philosophy
- Society for the History of Technology
- National Institute for Standards and Technology, “Design for Standardization,” Research and Curriculum Development Grant, 2014-1015.
- Lemelson Center Fellow, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute, 2013.
“Virtue via Association: The National Bureau of Standards, Automobiles, and Political Economy, 1919-1940.” Enterprise & Society, 2016, pp. 1-30.
“The Smart Road Not Taken.” IEEE Spectrum, no. 8, 2016, pp. 46-51.
“Hail the Maintainers.” Aeon.co, April 2016, aeon.co/essays/innovation-is-overvalued-maintenance-often-matters-more.
Select Media Mentions
The Joy of Standards
The New York Times, 02/16/2019
- The Joy of Standards
Design Thinking Is a Boondoggle
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 05/21/2018
- Design Thinking Is a Boondoggle
How to fix modernity’s Godzilla problem
Quartz, December 22, 2017
- How to fix modernity’s Godzilla problem
Eavesdropping on the design icons who made Washington’s Metro
- Eavesdropping on the design icons who made Washington’s Metro
Some of the best parts of autonomous vehicles are already here
The Conversation, 09/19/2017
- Some of the best parts of autonomous vehicles are already here
Corporate Values and Mission Statements Are Stifling Innovation
- Corporate Values and Mission Statements Are Stifling Innovation
Let’s Get Excited About Maintenance!
New York Times, 07/22/2017
- Let’s Get Excited About Maintenance!
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