Peter Norton

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Peter Norton
Associate Professor of History

Department of Engineering and Society
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400744
Charlottesville VA 22904

Peter Norton is a historian of engineering and society, with particular interests in streets and people. He is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering and Society, where he has taught since 1998. He is the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City (MIT Press, 2008). For his article “Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street” (Technology and Culture, 2007) Norton won the Abbott Payson Usher Prize of the Society for the History of Technology. He is winner of the Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize (2012) and of the Trigon Engineering Society’s Hutchinson Award “for dedication and excellence in teaching” (2005). In 2005 Norton was voted “most engaging lecturer” in the School of Engineering by the Engineering Student Council.

Dr. Norton obtained his Ph.D. in the History of Technology from the University of Virginia in 2002. He also has a M.A. (American History) from the University of Delaware in 1989 and his Bachelor’s degree in History was obtained from the University of Delaware (1985).


Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize, 2012
Abbott Payson Usher Prize, Society for the History of Technology, 2010
Thomas E. Hutchinson Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2005

Research Interests

  • History of technology
  • Social implications of engineering
  • Streets, traffic and people
  • Automobiles and society

Research and Publications

Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. MIT Press, 2008.
“Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street.” Technology and Culture 48 (April 2007), 331-359.
“Of Love Affairs and Other Stories” (chapter). Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, and Possibilities. Edited by Stephen Zavestoski and Julian Agyeman. Routledge, 2014.
“Autonomous Vehicles: A Powerful Tool If You Can Get the Problem Right.” Robohub, June 25, 2014.
“Four Paradigms: Traffic Safety in the Twentieth-Century United States.” Technology and Culture (forthcoming, April 2015).

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