Marie Hicks (@histoftech) is an assistant professor of history of technology at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her graduate degrees from Duke University. Her research focuses on the history of computing in the UK, and why the proportion of women computer operators and programmers declined as electronic computing matured. Her book on the topic is currently under contract with MIT Press and is due out in 2015. For more, see: www.mariehicks.net.
Recently, Google’s Sergey Brin made waves—or at least invoked a collective eye-roll—when he termed current smartphone technology “emasculating” and suggested Google glass as an antidote. Offering a pair of computer-infused glasses as the solution to the problem of technological emasculation seems as though it might be the punchline to a joke. But Brin’s offhanded comment provoked enormous ire because the history of computing, and indeed computing’s present, is rife with examples of attempts to gender technologies in ham-handed and often offensive ways.Read More