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Calling All Steampunk Fans!

Photo of author Rosalind Williams
Author Rosalind Williams

Engineering Romance in Late 19th Century Literature, featuring Rosalind Williams
Date: November 28, 2012, 5:00 pm
Location: Smithsonian Institution Castle

Jules Verne (1828-1905) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) were well-known writers of romance in the late l9th century.  They were also fascinated by engineering, both as well-informed observers and as lay engineers. This talk will describe this convergence of engineering and romance in their lives and times and reflect upon its implications for our own lives and times. This event will take place on Wednesday, November 28 at 5:00 p.m. in the Smithsonian Institution Castle building.

Rosalind Williams is the Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her new book, Human Empire (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2013) surveys the overarching historical event of our time: the rise and triumph of human empire, defined by the dominance of human presence on the planet. The book examines the works and lives of three well-known writers (Jules Verne, William Morris, and Robert Louis Stevenson) to illuminate the event of consciousness at the end of the l9th century, when humans realized that they were close to mapping the entire globe and that the global frontier was closing. Human Empire is about a still unfolding event of consciousness, as grasped by three writers exceptionally successful in conveying its depth and significance.

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at or by calling 202.633.2241.


  1. It is too bad I don’t live in the DC area any more. I would have loved to attend this.

  2. We’re looking for examples of fiber art images to display on our website and on our Facebook page. Would any of the group be interested in contributing. All work show will display the source of the image, the creator of the work together with a link back to their own website.

    Many Thanks


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