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Provost's Imagine Fund for Arts and Humanities

The Detroit Industrial Mission: An American View of Technology and Social Justice

I seek Imagine Fund support for research in the Detroit Industrial Mission files at the Walter P. Reuther Library (Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan), which will allow me to write an article on the founding of the Detroit Industrial Mission in the 1950s, and its engagement with the auto and other heavy industries in the Detroit area through the early 1970s. This will also allow me to write a chapter on the relationship between the Detroit Industrial Mission and international Industrial Mission activities for my book manuscript, The International Technology and Social Justice Movement: Engineers, Theologians, and Workers Respond to WWII. The Detroit Industrial Mission was a key American contributor to the Technology and Social Justice Movement, which brought together an unlikely group of engineers, workers, and theologians seeking non-Marxist and non-Marshall Plan ways to rebuild society after the ravages of WWII. Members of the international movement were especially interested in the Detroit experience. WWII had brought prosperity to the Detroit region, yet the region experienced significant post-war dislocation and worker unrest. Research on the Detroit Industrial Mission will allow me to include the American contribution in my book manuscript, which is also based on research in the World Council of Churches archives, Geneva, Switzerland, and the Industrial Mission Association archives, Manchester, England. In surveying Reuther Library’s Detroit Industrial Mission materials last fall, I saw another example of the unlikely grouping at the root of the technology and social justice movement: engineers, workers, theologians, and activists, engaged in constructive dialogue.

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Twin Cities
History of Science & Technology