HIST 212: The Computing Society

Spring 2023

Mondays, 6:30-9:20pm

Cross-listed with STV 210

This course examines the historical and current relationships between computer technology and society. It explores the impact and consequences of computing from a societal perspective, but also considers various nontechnical factors and values that have shaped computing technology and practice. The scope of the course will range from early mechanical aids, through the mid 20th century invention of electronic digital computers, to the networks and mobile applications of the 21st century. Technological studies relating to gender, education, employment, and war will be used as focal points. Material artifacts will form a core element of the course.

Collage of Alan Turing, women in computing, Grace Hopper, and Charles Babbage

Topics include:

  • Did Alan Turing really save the world?
  • Why were women the first computers?
  • How wig-makers inspired a technological revolution
  • Why was Grace Hopper 'Man of the Year"?
  • Did Charles Babbage invent computers?
  • IBM and the Holocaust

No technical knowledge or previous history courses needed!

Questions? Email Dr. Scott Campbell.