[Air-L] CFP: SIGCIS Workshop, Oct 13, 2013
arussell at stevens.edu
Tue Jun 4 11:42:42 PDT 2013
Please distribute as appropriate - thanks!
Old Ideas: Recomputing the History of Information Technology
SIGCIS Workshop, October 13, 2013, Portland, Maine
Call Deadline: June 30, 2013. Full details www.sigcis.org/workshop13.
The Society for the History of Technology's Special Interest Group for
Computers, Information and Society (SIGCIS – http://www.sigcis.org) welcomes
submissions for a one-day scholarly workshop to be held on Sunday, October
13, 2013 in Portland, Maine. As in previous years, SIGCIS's annual workshop
will occur immediately after the end of the regular SHOT annual meeting
program, the details of which are available from
Information technologists have little time for old thinking, or for anything
else old. Entrepreneurs seek the new new thing, computer scientists tackle
the grand challenges of future computing, and management consultants chase
the next fad. Scholars in the humanities, who are professionally skeptical
about the nostrums of neoliberalism, the myth of progress, and the allure of
the technological fix, can nevertheless exhibit a similar weakness for the
shiny allure of new technologies. In short, information technology is rarely
understood as something rooted in history. Its cultural associations are
with the future, not the past.
For the SIGCIS 2013 Workshop, we invite scholars to turn their attention to
something different: old ideas and their relationship to information and
computer technology. Perhaps to their overlooked charm, their enduring
power, and their continuities with the putatively new. Such papers might
• Reclaim from what was famously termed the ”enormous condescension of
posterity” the ideas about information and information technology held by
specific historical actors, explaining what they really thought they were
doing and how the understood the world around them.
• Demonstrate hidden historical continuities, by showing that technologies,
ideas, or practices generally assumed to be of recent origin have a close
relationship with those formerly known by different names.
• Advocate explicitly or by example the relevance of less fashionable
historical approaches, such as quantitative analysis, old-school Marxism, or
micro-level studies of technical practice to understanding the history of
• Explore connections between historical research on computing, and the
burgeoning recent literature on software studies, game studies, platform
studies, etc. produced by scholars in other areas of the humanities.
• Place topics within the history of information technology into broader
arcs of birth, aging, and death – whether of individuals, institutions, or
• Illuminate the cultural work done to construct some things as old and
others as new, and explain who is carrying out this work and why.
If none of the above fit your work, even with some creative twisting, then
despair not: we also accept new ideas! SIGCIS has a tradition of welcoming
all contributions related to the history of computing and information,
whether or not there is an explicit connection with the annual theme. Our
membership is international and interdisciplinary, and our members examine
the history of information technologies and their place within society from
a variety of scholarly perspectives including the history of technology,
business history, labor history, social history, the history of science,
science studies, communications, gender and sexuality studies, computing,
disability studies, and museum studies.
Proposals for entire sessions and individual presentations are both welcome.
We hope to run special sessions featuring dissertations in progress and
other works in progress. The workshop is a great opportunity to get helpful
feedback on your projects in a relaxed and supportive environment. All
proposals will be subject to a peer review process based on abstracts.
SIGCIS can usually make contributions towards the travel costs of graduate
student presenters in need of assistance.
Full details about the workshop, including submission formats and links for
online submission, are at www.sigcis.org/workshop13. Details on the final
program, registration, and other practical matters will be posted at the
same address as they become available. Questions about the 2013 SIGCIS
workshop should be addressed to Thomas Haigh (School of Information Studies,
University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee), who is serving as chair of the workshop
program committee. Email: thaigh at computer.org.
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