This course engages with computers as artifacts of culture, history and sociopolitical orders. Drawing on historical and ethnographic accounts, students will gain an understanding of various computing cultures of practice including hackers, “hidden figures”, gamers, programmers, engineers, and infrastructure operators. Students will also explore the history of automation and capitalist manufacturing; cybernetics; racialized and gendered subjectivities; the creation and commoditization of the personal computer; the growth of the Internet as a military, academic, and commercial project; robots; social media; big data; and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). Emphasis is placed on how ideas about gender and other social differences shape labor practices, models of cognition, and material and symbolic practices of computing cultures.
Cultures of Computing