Call for Papers

 

NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Brooklyn, NY, USA
25-29 May 2016

 

[Please note: The conference is concluded. The next Working Group meeting will be with the rest of Technical Committee 9 at HCC 13 for the IFIP World Congress in 2018.]

Analog and digital computers were developed by individuals aware of an international scientific community. Likewise, although sometimes thought of as solely national projects, the first computer networks were built in an age of growing interconnectivity among nations. This meeting of IFIP Working Group 9.7 in New York City gathers historians and other professionals to reflect on histories that foreground the international community. Participants with an interest in this historical context for computers and computer networks may present academic papers or join in roundtable discussions.

In accordance with this theme, we hope to blur the dichotomy between core and periphery and complicate simplistic notions of linear technological progress. Far from a deterministic view that computers and computer networks were developed in isolation and according to their own technical imperatives, we will show the history of pre-existing relationships and communities that led to the triumphs (and dead ends) in the history of computing. This broad perspective will help us to tell a more accurate story of important developments like the Internet, to be sure, but also it will provide us with a better understanding of how to sponsor future invention and innovation.

At the conference, we seek to foster a conversation about internationalism in the history of computers and computer networks along four broad themes:

  1. Invention
    • communities where analog computers were developed
    • communication about and competition for early devices
    • innovations brought in from the supposed periphery
    • failed, forgotten, or thwarted efforts to develop networks or industries
  2. Policy
    • trade and treaties supporting computers and networks
    • organizations like IFIP with a mission to promote collaboration
    • long trajectories of digital divides
    • case studies revealing ethical considerations
    • cross-national comparisons of gender or ethnic diversity in industry and education
  3. Infrastructure
    • communication and data networks before the Internet
    • development and diffusion of TCP/IP
    • connectivity efforts before NSFNET, NSFNET, and beyond
    • resistance to and success of the WorldWideWeb
  4. Social History
    • differences and similarities in international impacts on general society
    • antecedents (Wells’s World Brain) and visions (Human-Nets’s WorldNet)
    • individuals who championed connections between nations
    • historiography of internationalism in computing
    • representations of international computing communities in film or literature

It is hoped that the conference will be of interest to a broad range of people who study computing and computer networks, including academic scholars and graduate students, but also those who have a professional or technical interest in computing. Accordingly, there are two ways to participate:

  1. Academic Papers: For consideration, please submit your draft paper before January 8, 2016 via the conference website. Enquires are welcome in advance of your submission (chrisleslienyc@hotmail.com). Draft papers will be circulated before the conference in order to encourage a meaningful discussion. At the conference, each selected participant will be allotted time to present an overview of his or her paper. It is our intention to publish selected conference papers in an anthology by Springer, and hopefully the conference feedback will be useful as presenters complete their final drafts.
  1. Roundtable Discussions: The conference will also feature roundtables of 10-15 minute, relatively informal presentations related to the conference theme. Technical professionals and others who may not desire to prepare a full paper in advance are welcome to participate in this way. These presentations could focus on key figures, historical anecdotes, or observations on particular projects. We hope that these roundtables will spark lively conversation and, perhaps, generate research partnerships between historians and technical professionals. For consideration, send a title, a 300- to 500- word abstract, and your institutional affiliation before January 8 before April 15, 2016 by email (chrisleslienyc@hotmail.com). Enquires are welcome in advance of your submission.

 

Deadlines

January 8 Draft papers due for consideration
February 5 Acceptances announced
February 15 Deadline to confirm participation
April 1 Final papers due
April 15 Extended deadline for roundtable presentations
April 30 Registration deadline for discount rate
Wednesday, May 25 Conference begins
Sunday, May 29 Conference ends
Monday, May 30 Memorial Day (Federal US holiday)
July 1 Revisions due for papers selected for inclusion in conference proceedings

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