Alex Roland, Professor Emeritus

I study military history and the history of technology. My focus has ranged over all of Western experience, and I have recently converted my undergraduate course in military history to a comparative world military history course. I have written about chariots in the second millennium B.C., Greek fire in medieval Byzantium, and computers and aerospace technology in the twentieth century. While I study the history of technology in general, I also focus on the ways in which technology has shaped war and war has altered technology.

Office Location:  
Email Address: send me a message

Education:

Ph.D.Duke University1974
M.A.University of Hawaii at Manoa1970
B.S.United States Naval Academy1966
Research Interests:

Current projects: Separate from my scholarship and teaching, I am a student and critic of the United States civilian space program. I spent eight stimulating and rewarding years (1973-1981) as a historian with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, but I have come to believe that the agency lost its way after the Apollo program. I have written extensively on this topic. My other extracurricular activities include running, tennis, mystery and historical novels, and occasional sailing when I can find my way to the sea.

I study military history and the history of technology. My focus has ranged over all of Western experience, and I have recently converted my undergraduate course in military history to a comparative world military history course. I have written about chariots in the second millennium B.C., Greek fire in medieval Byzantium, and computers and aerospace technology in the twentieth century. While I study the history of technology in general, I also focus on the ways in which technology has shaped war and war has altered technology.

Recent Publications

  1. Roland, A, America Inc.? Innovation and Enterprise in the National Security State, Technology and Culture, vol. 57 no. 3 (July, 2016), pp. 694-696
  2. Roland, A, Rockets and Revolution: A Cultural History of Early Spaceflight, Journal of world history : official journal of the World History Association, vol. 26 no. 3 (September, 2015), pp. 684-686 [doi]
  3. with Raymond Ashley, Jeffrey Bolster, Alexander Keyssar, and David Sicilia, A Maritime History of the United States (2003)
  4. with Philip Shiman, Strategic Computing: DARPA and the Quest for Machine Intelligence, 1983-1993 (2002), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  5. Understanding War, edited by Richard H. Kohn and Alex Roland (2002) (includes introduction co-authored with Kohn, and chapter entitled "Technology and War".)

Harold K. Johnson Professor of Military History, Military History Institute, U.S. Army War College, 1988-1989 Fellow, Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1994-1995 Dr. Leo Shifrin Professor of Naval-Military History, U.S. Naval Academy, 2001-2002