Lee Vinsel


Lee Vinsel

Assistant Professor


233 Lane Hall 
280 Alumni Mall 
Blacksburg, VA 24061




  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Body Studies and Material Culture
  • Human Life and Technology
  • History of Science and Technology
  • History of Innovation

Professional Activities

  • Society for the History of Technology


  • 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

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    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.

    Selected Publications


    “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.

    Additional Information

    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, will be 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.