Department of History
Arwen Mohun is an associate professor in the Department of History. She is well known for her work on gender, technology, and labor. Her major publications on these topics include Steam Laundries: Gender, Work, and Technology in the United States and Great Britain, 1880-1940 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999). Along with Roger Horowitz, she also co-edited His and Hers: Gender, Consumption and Technology (University of Virginia Press, 1998). Gender and Technology: A Reader, co-edited with Nina Lerman and Ruth Oldenziel, was published in 2003.
In her most recent book, Risk: Negotiating Safety in American Society (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), Professor Mohun continues to explore her ongoing interests in the relationship between cultural concepts, in this case ideas of acceptable and unacceptable risk, and the changing material context of industrial societies. The book focuses on a series of case studies of technologies, including lightning rods, factories, automobiles, and amusement parks, that embody or mediate risk in culturally meaningful ways. Articles from this project include “Designed for Thrills and Safety: Gender, Technology, and the Commodification of Risk in the Amusement Park Industry,” Journal of Design History, Fall 2001 and “On the Frontier of the Empire of Chance: Statistics, Accidents, and Risk in Industrializing America” in Science in Context, September 2005.
Teaching and public history are two additional venues for Professor Mohun's interests. She teaches a range of graduate and undergraduate courses on topics related to the histories of industrialization, technology, gender, food, and America since 1865. Her current and former students are engaged in a wide variety of research projects related to the history of technology, work, and consumption including the industrialization of food, Avon ladies, automobile repair, and design and disability in post-war America. She has also worked as a consultant for Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site and the National Museum of American History and has reviewed museum exhibits for the Society for the History of Technology.