SIGCIS 2019 CFP: EXCEPTION ERROR: Fatal, Illegal, Unknown | Due June 15

The SIGCIS Conference Organizing Committee is pleased to announce the CFP for our 2019 SIGCIS Conference, EXCEPTION ERROR: Fatal, Illegal, Unknown on October 27th, 2019 in Milan, Italy. Abstracts are due June 15.

Our keynote for the event is Safiya U. Noble, Associate Professor in the Departments of Information Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Below you can find the full CFP. Details can also be found at our conference website:

Mahoney Prize

The Mahoney Prize recognizes an outstanding article in the history of computing and information technology, broadly conceived. The Mahoney Prize commemorates the late Princeton scholar Michael S. Mahoney, whose profound contributions to the history of computing came from his many articles and book chapters. The prize consists of a $500 award and a certificate. For the 2019 prize, articles published in the preceding three years (2016, 2017, and 2018) are eligible for nomination. The Mahoney Prize is awarded by the Special Interest Group in Computers, Information, and Society (SIGCIS) and is presented during the annual meeting of our parent group, the Society for the History of Technology.

The deadline for submission for the 2019 Mahoney Prize is May 1, 2019. Nominated articles should be sent via email to each member of the committee. Please direct questions to the committee chair, Prof. Erica Robles-Anderson.

Computer History Museum Prize

The Computer History Museum Prize is awarded to the author of an outstanding book in the history of computing broadly conceived, published during the prior three years. The prize of $1,000 is awarded by SIGCIS, the Special Interest Group for Computers, Information and Society. SIGCIS is part of the Society for the History of Technology. 

In 2012 the prize was endowed in perpetuity through a generous bequest from the estate of Paul Baran, a legendary computer innovator and entrepreneur best known for his work to develop and promote the packet switching approach on which modern networks are built. Baran was a longtime supporter of work on the history of information technology and named the prize to celebrate the contributions of the Computer History Museum to that field. 

2019 Call for Submission

Books published in 2016-2018 are eligible for the 2019 award. Books in translation are eligible for three years following the date of their publication in English. Publishers, authors, and other interested members of the computer history community are invited to nominate books. Please note that books nominated in previous years may be nominated again, provided they have been published in the timeframes specified above. Send one copy of the nominated title to each of the committee members listed below, with a postmark no later than April 30, 2019. For more information, please contact the Committee Chair, Prof. Rebecca Slayton. Current information about the prize, including the most recent call and a list of previous winners, always may be found at

2018 Mahoney Prize

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


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


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


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.


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.



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