Northwestern Events Calendar


Prof. Mar Hicks: Digital Lineages and Digital Labour

When: Thursday, February 18, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Central

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Graduate Students

Contact: Samantha Botz  

Group: Upcoming Public Humanities Related Events

Co-Sponsor: Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


This talk will look at how digital systems and labor, historically and in our current moment, can be a way to discuss citizenship rights. The talk will discuss an early example of transphobic algorithmic bias to explore how histories of the digital can connect with movements to protect people’s rights today.

Mar Hicks is a historian of technology, gender, and labor, specializing in the history of computing. Hicks’s book, Programmed Inequality (MIT Press, 2017) investigates how Britain lost its early lead in computing by discarding the majority of their computer workers and experts--simply because they were women. Their current project looks at transgender citizens’ interactions with the computerized systems of the British welfare state in the 20th century, and how these computerized systems determined whose bodies and identities were allowed to exist. Hicks's work studies how collective understandings of progress are defined by competing discourses of social value and economic productivity, and how technologies often hide regressive ideals while espousing "revolutionary" or "disruptive" goals. Hicks is also co-editing a volume on computing history called Your Computer Is On Fire (MIT Press, 2020). They run the Digital History Lab at Illinois Tech and maintain a site about their research and teaching.

Register for the talk here:

Register Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in