Studies and representations of computing — historical, social, curatorial — have moved increasingly in recent years to consider information technology in the context of its use, and of its users’ understandings, expectations and interactions with the world around them. Under current consideration are such questions as the following:
– How did early computer users interact with their hardware, and how can we account for the apparent shift in conceptual focus from hardware to software?
– Can we (and should we) clearly distinguish an idea of “the computer” from other information-processing machines which may share its locations and much of its history?
– How have computers historically been represented to “non-expert” audiences (with or without the intention of generating new “experts”) — and how should the history of the computer be represented to “non-experts” today?
– Given that the established historiography of computing focuses largely on the US, and almost wholly on the developed West and Japan, how should we begin to address cultures of computer use elsewhere in the world?
Organised as a collaboration between the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, this two-day meeting aims to address these and other questions by bringing together invited speakers and commentators across a broad range of seniority and research interests, with backgrounds in academic history, the social sciences, museums and libraries.
For further information, including venue and registration details, and Provisional Programme please see the conference webpage at <http://www.ls.manchester.ac.uk/chstm/events/conferences/computers/>, or write directly to the organiser: james.sumner (at) manchester.ac.uk.