JOAN ROTHSCHILD
ROTHSCHILD--Joan. Died February 1, 2015 on her 87th birthday. Born in New York City, daughter of Anna (Cohen) and Alfred Rothschild and survived by sister Ruth Mayleas and niece Alexandra Heth, both of NYC. Attended public schools and graduated from Cornell with BA in English in 1948. An activist resident of Greenwich Village in the 1950s and 1960s, Joan participated in the presidential campaigns of Adlai Stevenson, helped establish the Village Independent Democrats, joined the coalition of architects to remove 5th Avenue buses from Washington Square Park and was an active member of the League of Women Voters. Subsequently earned MA in government and PhD in politics from NYU. In 1969, Dr. Rothschild relocated to Cambridge to join Harvard's Program on Technology and Science, and in 1972 joined the faculty of Lowell Technological Institute where she chaired the Women's Studies program and taught political science and technology. As feminist research into technology issues proliferated, she organized panels at annual meetings of the New England Women's Studies Association and the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women. The original work of these feminist scholars appeared in Joan's edited collections, "Women, Technology and Innovation" (1982) and "Machina Ex Dea: Feminist Perspectives on Technology" (1983), which latter collection was used widely as a text and remained in print for 14 years. Upon retirement from UMass Lowell, Dr. Rothschild returned to NYC and was appointed research associate at the Center for Human Environments at the CUNY Graduate Center to a organize a conference "Re-Visioning Design and Technology: Feminist Perspectives" at CUNY in 1995, bringing together practicing as well as academic architects, urban planners and designers, industrial designers, design historians and graphic designers. Her last completed project, the publication of "The Dream of the Perfect Child" in 2005, was the culmination of 15 years of research, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, which traced the development of the Enlightenment ideology of human perfectibility and its wedding to science through the 19th Century Positivists and then the Eugenicists as they upended the dream into an inegalitarian program for racial purity and progress. The book proposes not a ban on such research but asks us to listen and think carefully about where we might be heading. Active in community affairs, Dr. Rothschild was a member of the Women's City Club of New York, the Society for the History of Technology and the National Women's Studies Association. She often celebrated NYC as the perfect place to retire to: public transportation is at your doorstep, theaters, museums, art galleries, concert halls abound, and you are never the oldest person in the audience! A gathering in celebration of her life will be held in the near future.

Published by New York Times on Feb. 22, 2015.
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6 Entries
Joan and I were graduate students together at NYU in the 1960s. Joan was a pioneering scholar in feminist studies and an inspiration to the small cohort of women in the Ph.D. program in political science. We were awed by the depth and breadth of her knowledge. Joan and I lost touch with each other after she moved to Cambridge, and I regret that I did not know she had returned to the New York Area. I would very much like to know when and where the memorial service will take place. Please contact me at Cooper Union.
Anne Griffin
February 28, 2015
I MET JOAN MANY YEARS AGO THROUGH MY SISTER BETTY..JOAN WAS MY SISTER'S CLOSEST AND OLDEST FRIEND AND WE BECAME GOOD FRIENDS .
I SPOKE TO JOAN ON THE PHONE JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO, BUT SHE DID NOT REPLY TO A TEST E-MAIL MESSAGE THAT I SENT TO HER....MAYBE IT ARRIVED TOO LATE.

I WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE CONTACT INFORMATION, PHONE NUMBER AND OR E-MAIL ADDRESS, FOR HER SISTER RUTH AND HER NIECE ALEXANDRIA HETH.

THANKS ALBERT N. JANCO 405-848-1991 [email protected]
ALBERT JANCO
February 25, 2015
The members of the Women's City Club of New York were saddened to hear the news of Joan's death. She will be remembered as a loyal and active member of WCC and of our Environment and Infrastructure Committee. She will be deeply missed.

Please let me know when her memorial service is scheduled. I will inform our members.

Our deepest condolences on your loss.
Jacqueline Ebanks
February 23, 2015
Joan's contributions to the Society for the History of Technology included a close study of the articles in Technology and Culture, showing how few were authored by women. She initiated the practice of double-blind submissions to the periodical, helping it to be a more inclusive and fair minded journal. She will be sorely missed.
Daryl Hafter
February 22, 2015
Joan was an incredibly special person to many of us in the history of technology community. Intellectually, her work helped open new avenues of study that have excited subsequent scholars. On the personal level, her vivacious nature always made it a joy to see her at conferences and meetings. I will deeply miss seeing Joan every year at the Society for the History of Technology and the Women in Technological History gatherings - but I will always have her books on my shelves to remind me of her and how much richer we are for her work and spirit.
Amy Bix
February 22, 2015
I am saddened to learn of Joan's death. I am one of the colleagues from the Society for the History of Technology and one of the feminist scholars whose work Joan anthologized. I hope that you will notify me when you have scheduled a memorial service; I can then notify the other members of WITH (Women in Technological History) and organization that Joan helped create.

Ruth Schwartz Cowan, [email protected]
Ruth Schwartz Cowan
February 22, 2015
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