Fall 2018 Courses

July 27, 2018     #teaching

This fall I will be offering two courses, one old, one new. Undergraduates can take my I222: The Information Society course, which is a general education course (S&H) aimed at answering the questions “What do we mean when we talk about the Information Society? What is the role of technological change in larger patterns of social, economic, and political developments? How can we apply the tools of the humanities, social sciences, and informatics to understanding the issues facing our Information Society?” For Informatics majors, the I222 courses also fulfills the core I202/I222 social informatics requirement.

At the graduate level I am offering for the first time a seminar on computing and the environment. This is an outgrowth of my recent work on the environmental history of computing, and covers everything from energy use, e-waste, and the use of computer simulations in the physical sciences.

More Tech & Gender

June 06, 2018     #media #research

The spate of popular media culture coverage of my research on women in computing that surrounded the publication of the Google Manifesto continues unabated. On Equal Pay Day (April 10), my work was featured in Time Magazine in an article on Equal Pay Day 2018: Myths About the Gender Wage Gap. An article in Business Insider on How bias pushed the ‘Computer Girls’ out of tech - Business Insider also referenced this research. And most prominently, Emily Chang’s recent book Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley draws extensively on the arguments and sources of my The Computer Boys Take Over book. Finally, in a review essay published in the journal Science, Technology, and Human Values, Kate Miltner of the Annenberg School of Journalism at UCLA provides a brilliant overview of the recent historical literature on gender and computing that discusses The Computer Boys in the context of Janet Abbate’s Recoding Gender and Marie Hicks’ Programmed Inequality. If you are looking for a starting point into this literature, Miltner’s essay is the place to begin.

Tech, Gender, and the Environment

December 14, 2017     #media #research

This past week two very different aspects of my work got picked up by the national press. The first was my early work on women in computing, which was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled The First Women in Tech Didn’t Leave—Men Pushed Them Out. The second was my more recent interest in computing and the environment. I helped Matt Kessler from the Atlantic, in a fascinating piece on The Environmental Cost of Internet Porn, run some estimates on the electricity costs associated with online streaming video.

SHOT 2017 Plenary

October 19, 2017     #media

One week from today Donna Riley and I will be giving the opening plenary at the 2017 conference of the Society for the History of Technology in Philadelphia. The theme is Technology, Democracy and Participation.

Starting a New Role

September 13, 2017     #media

I am pleased to have been appointed the chair of the Informatics department of the newly renamed School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. I look forward to serving my colleagues, students, and School in this new role.

Contextualizing the Google Manifesto

August 12, 2017     #media #research

“We’re just starting to acknowledge the work that these women did — but that’s a fault of our history, not a function of their lack of presence. They were invisible, but they weren’t absent.”1

The recent publication of an anti-diversity memo by a Google engineer has provoked some thoughtful (and not-so-thoughtful) responses. It has also encouraged a renewed interest in my research on the history of women in computing and on the emergence of a hyper-masculine computing culture in the late 1970s.

If you are interested in more of this history, see the work of Janet Abbate and Marie Hicks, as well as the excellent edited volume by Tom Misa called Gender Codes: Why Women are Leaving Computing.

If you are really interested in this topic, see the syllabus and comprehensive bibliography I developed for my recent graduate seminar on gender and technology.