Q&A with Jesse Adams Stein, author of Hot metal
1. What book in this field has inspired you the most?
My book is interdisciplinary and so is not in one single field… but Cynthia Cockburn’s Brothers (1983) made a strong impact on me in the early stages of my research. Despite being 33 years old it still has incredible resonance in relation to issues of labour, gender and technology. Her voice is bold and forthright in a way that only really visionary scholars can get away with. Her ‘thick’ descriptions of Linotype operators using their machinery was one of the first things that suggested to me that design history and material culture might offer useful insights into the labour experience.
2. Did your research take you to any unexpected places?
Yes! I spent a lot of time interviewing old ‘blokes’ in Returned Servicemen’s League clubs, and in pubs.
3. What did you enjoy the most about writing your book?
Listening to the oral history recordings (often again and again) and hearing something new each time. It was a pleasure to include these ‘voices’ in the manuscript.
4. What did you find hardest about writing your book?
Being selective about which interview stories to leave out – there were some great one-liners and some other more complex tales, and not all of them would have fit within the word limit. So it was tough to decide. The same applies to images – the NSW Government Printing Office has an incredible image archive, I wish I could have included more visual content.
5. How did you feel when you saw your first published book?
I haven’t seen it yet.
6. Why did you choose to publish with MUP?
MUP’s strength in studies of material culture and design.
7. Have you had time to think about your next research project yet? What are you working on now?
My postdoctoral research continues the interdisciplinary line of inquiry established in Hot Metal, but looks to more contemporary issues: to the relationship of 3D printing to design, labour and the future of manufacturing in Australia.
Jesse Adams Stein is the author of Hot metal, released in October 2016. As a readers of the MUP blog, you qualify for a special 20% off until 30th November, 2016. Simply quote OTH742 at the checkout when buying from our website.*
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