As a cultural historian of technological invention and innovation, Rayvon Fouché explores the multiple intersections and relationships between cultural representation, racial identification, and technological design. As a scholar and public speaker, he has actively worked to clear away the misinformation about black inventors. His first book Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation (Johns Hopkins University Press) not only filled the large void in scholarly writing on black inventors and their experiences, it also created a broader textured understanding of black inventive experiences. Fouché’s work on black inventive life has argued that to more fully grasp black inventive life, researchers must move past the simple understandings of black inventors and revitalize them for this century. New visions for black inventors should not valorize or condemn them, but explore how they existed within black cultural experiences and understand the multiple social and cultural meanings and uses of black inventors. He has also co-edited Vernacular Science and Social Power (University of Minnesota Press) which attempts to understand how groups outside centers of scientific and technological power persistently defy the notion that they are merely passive recipients of technological products and scientific knowledge. He most recently edited Technology Studies (Sage Publications). These four volumes trace the intellectual, scholarly, and public evolution of technology studies and ultimately questions whether technologies are truly autonomous within the societies they inhabit and whether or not technological changes drive social changes. His current book project examines how sport governing bodies use technoscientific power and authority to authenticate athletic performances.
He is currently Director of the American Studies Program at Purdue University. He has previously taught African American Studies, American Studies, History, and Science & Technology Studies at Purdue University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Washington University in St. Louis. He was born and raised in the Chicago area. He lives with his wife and son in central Indiana.
email: rfouche illinois edu