2018 Mahoney Prize

Winner:
Joanna Radin. “Digital Natives: How Medical and Indigenous Histories Matter for Big Data.” Osiris Vol. 32, No. 1 (2017): 43-64.

Prize Citation:
In “Digital Natives: How medical and Indigenous histories matter for Big Data,” Joanna Radin argues for critical engagement with “the metabolism of Big Data”. Radin presents the remarkable history of a dataset known as the Pima Indigenous diabetes study, derived from research conducted with the Akimel O’odham Indigenous community in Arizona. Since the loss of their ability to farm the land, this community has an extremely high rate of diabetes. Reconstructing the circumstances of the dataset’s production and its presence in a Machine Learning repository where it is used in projects far removed from diabetes, Radin draws attention to the way that data is naturalised, and bodies and economic struggle are elided. Significant questions are raised about the ethics and politics of research in an age of Big Data, including the reproduction of patterns of settler colonialism in the research enterprise, and the community’s work to redefine the research encounter. The prize committee were impressed by Radin’s depth of research, quality of analysis, and the contribution to multiple literatures, and commend her for an inspired and inspiring article.

2018 Computer History Museum Prize

Winner:

Ben Peters, How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (MIT Press, 2016).

Prize Citation:

Benjamin Peters’s history of the Soviet Internet represents a pathbreaking contribution to the understanding of the history of computing and networking. Based on detailed empirical research in Russian archives, it extends the reach of these histories into new, non-Anglo-American domains. In describing the complex institutional and political reasons for the ultimate failure of the All-State Automated Systems (OGAS), How Not to Network a Nation challenges common assumptions about the relationships between decentralization, free markets, and electronic networking. Peters’s treatment of Soviet networking brings into sharper view the infrastructures, power relations, successes, and shortcomings of our own electronic networks.

STORED IN MEMORY: 10th Annual SIGCIS Conference

We're very happy to announce the Conference Schedule for STORED IN MEMORY, the 10th Annual SIGCIS Conference to be held in St. Louis, Missouri on October 14, 2018. This conference will once again take place on the final day of the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology.

2017 Computer History Museum Prize


Winner:

Elizabeth Petrick, Making Computers Accessible: Disability Rights and Digital Technology (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).

Prize Citation:

This is a groundbreaking book on an understudied topic in the history of computing. Petrick integrates histories of technology and civil rights and demonstrates the interaction of technological, social, and legal supports for accessibility. She uses disability studies frameworks to highlight how the shifting paradigms of “normality” and “universality” have shaped computer technology. She argues convincingly that principles of “universal design” that were aimed at making computers usable for the disabled significantly shaped the evolution of personal computer technology in general—thereby making the larger historiographic point that we can’t tell complete or accurate histories of computing without including (dis)ability as a factor. The book is clearly written and well-researched, with a helpful appendix on her sources and methods.

Prize Committee:

  • Joy Rankin (2017 Chair), Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University, 919 E. Shaw Ln. E-35, East Lansing, MI 48825, USA
  • Janet Abbate, Dept. of Science, Technology and Society, Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center, 7054 Haycock Road, Falls Church, VA 22043, USA
  • Hallam Stevens, Room 1705, 7/F wenke Building, China Center for Special Economic Zone Research, Shenzhen University, Nanhai Avenue 3688, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, 518060

2017 Mahoney Prize

Winner:

Erica Robles-Anderson and Patrik Svensson. “’One Damn Slide After Another’: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech.” Computational Culture (January 15, 2016). 

Prize Citation:

In “’One Damn Slide After Another’: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech,” Erica Robles-Anderson and Patrik Svensson provide a highly original and insightful history of PowerPoint’s design, development, and use.  They convincingly argue how PowerPoint has become a dominant and indispensable medium for communication, yet like many other forms of ubiquitous software programs and packages it has undergone minimal critical analysis.  As such, the conditioning of knowledge production with PowerPoint is overlooked, and once distinct situations and settings such as classrooms, press conferences, and church sermons become more alike.  Overall, their article stands out for astutely engaging with communication theory, as well as making significant IT history and historiographical contributions by analyzing PowerPoint within the context of precursor technologies such as the DuPont Chart Room, white boards, and overhead projectors.

MEASURE, MODEL, MIX: COMPUTER AS INSTRUMENT - 2017 SIGCIS Conference

SIGCIS is pleased to announce its 2017 Conference: MEASURE, MODEL, MIX: COMPUTER AS INSTRUMENT.

The conference will be held on October 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, as part of the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology.

The conference keynote speaker will be Joanna Radin from the Department of History at Yale University.

Measure, Model, Mix invites scholars and independent researchers across the disciplinary spectrum to explore the historical conditions of computation. The conference program is now available.

Command Lines: Software, Power, and Performance, March 18-19, 2017

Command Lines: Software, Power, and Performance is a meeting that will draw together scholars from a variety of fields that study software. These fields include: the history of computing; science and technology studies; software studies; code studies; game studies; media studies; the study of women, gender and sexuality; studies of race, ethnicity and postcoloniality; and computer science and engineering. Command Lines is collaboratively organized by SIGCIS (Special Interest Group for Computing, Information and Society) and the Computer History Museum.

The Call for Papers is now closed. The meeting was held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, on March 18-19, 2017, and the program and conference videos are now available.

 

2016 Computer History Museum Prize

Winner: Dinesh C. Sharma, The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution (MIT Press, 2015).

Prize Citation: Dinesh Sharma has written a highly accessible book on a significant topic - the history of computing in India - that is well-grounded in sources and interviews. The Outsourcer is full of fascinating stories on the beginnings of computing in India. Sharma does an excellent job contextualizing this story within broader Indian history and the history of computing in the West. Trained as a journalist, Sharma has produced a book that is both carefully researched and engaging to the reader. He regales and rewards readers with a great selection of anecdotes. The committee is pleased to award the 2016 Computer History Museum Prize to Dinesh C. Sharma for The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution.

The Outsourcer is available from MIT Press.

 

2016 Mahoney Prize

Winner: Andrew L. Russell and Valérie Schafer, "In the Shadow of ARPANET and Internet: Louis Pouzin and the Cyclades Network in the 1970s," Technology and Culture 55, no. 4 (October 2014): 880-907.

Prize Citation: This paper expands our understanding of how networks emerged and evolved.  It contributed additional evidence of the international nature of ICTs, in this case, within France.  The paper is another example of the power of international collaboration among scholars.  It provides a meaningful narrative of a key piece of French networking history that has been understudied in a polished essay.

The essay is available via Project Muse

SIGCIS Workshop 2016: Convergence and Divergence

SHOT-SIGCIS Singapore Workshop 

June 26, 2016

“Convergence and Divergence”

The Special Interest Group for Computers, Information and Society (SIGCIS) 2016 annual Workshop will be held on June 26, 2016. The workshop begins immediately after the regular annual meeting of our parent organization, the Society for the History of Technology in Singapore. 

 

FINAL SCHEDULE

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