College of Arts and Letters
24 Feb 2020
Babbio 304

Creating Computing Citizens: American History from the User Up

Science, Technology and Society Speaker Series featuring Dr. Joy Rankin

Reads the College: Science Technology and Society

For the Science, Technology and Society Speaker Series, Dr. Joy Rankin, a historian of computing, will present the talk, "Creating Computing Citizens: American History from the User Up."

What does it mean to write American history from the user up? When conducting research for the book A People's History of Computing in the United States, Rankin noticed that the stories that jumped off the pages of newsletters, grant reports, and archives were those of students and teachers, principals and professors, touch screens and video games. These stories originated every from New Hampshire to Minnesota to Illinois, none of which were the places or people that typically come to mind when thinking about America's digital origin stories.

Therefore, this talk will focus on the users of 1960s and 1970s academic computing networks to develop a history of the digital age that emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and community.

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Joy Rankin is a historian of computing. Her recent book A People's History of Computing in the United States (Harvard University Press, 2018) tells the story of hobbyist and tinkerer networks that shaped early home computing.

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