21A.504 Cultures of Computing


Class Info

Examines computers anthropologically, as artifacts revealing the social orders and cultural practices that create them. Students read classic texts in computer science along with cultural analyses of computing history and contemporary configurations. Explores the history of automata, automation and capitalist manufacturing; cybernetics and WWII operations research; artificial intelligence and gendered subjectivity; robots, cyborgs, and artificial life; creation and commoditization of the personal computer; the growth of the Internet as a military, academic, and commercial project; hackers and gamers; technobodies and virtual sociality. Emphasis is placed on how ideas about gender and other social differences shape labor practices, models of cognition, hacking culture, and social media.

This class has no prerequisites.

21A.504 will not be offered this semester. It will be available in the Spring semester, and will be instructed by S. Helmreich.

Lecture occurs 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM on Wednesdays in 1-135.

This class counts for a total of 12 credits. This class counts as a HASS S.

You can find more information at the MIT Anthropology: Undergraduate Subjects site or on the 21A.504 Stellar site.

MIT 21A.504 Cultures of Computing Related Textbooks
MIT 21A.504 Cultures of Computing On The Web
MIT Anthropology: Undergraduate Subjects
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