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April 9th, 2019

Call for Papers: Special Issue Computing Capitalisms: History, Business, and Information Technology

The IEEE Annals of the History of Computing invites submissions for a special issue titled “Computing Capitalisms.” Edited by Gerardo Con Diaz (University of California, Davis) and Devin Kennedy (Harvard University), this special issue will showcase new questions and methods in the business history of computing, broadly conceived.

The history of computing has described the firms, industries, and businesses that made and were remade by computing practices and technologies. Classic works in the business history of computing examined how firms invest in and foster new technologies; explored the long-term relationships between technology, strategy, and structure in computing and telecommunications; and framed business as a key intermediary between technical developments and markets. Recent scholarship has opened promising new directions in the historical study of business and computing including: the labor dimensions of programming, manufacturing, and content moderation; race and gender in the economic and social valuation of computing work; the material and environmental dependencies of computer industries; computer modeling in manufacturing and economic planning; evolving business models in computer hardware, software, and services industries; the economic effects of digitalization and automation in finance, banking, and consumer credit; and the intersection of governments and private industry through intellectual property law, data privacy regulation, trade policy, and state investments in infrastructure and computing businesses.

This special issue aims to highlight new directions in the business history of computing through the theme of computing capitalisms. In engaging capitalisms, we are suggesting a broad view of business history that considers the political, legal, labor, environmental, material, and social conditions that surround business and are shaped by it, while adding historical perspective to ongoing discussions of contemporary “data” “platform” or “surveillance” capitalism. We invite papers that draw on the history of computing and allied fields, including STS, labor history, the history of capitalism, management studies, gender and race studies, media and game studies, and critical data and algorithm studies. We interpret the history of computing broadly and invite papers on any historical period and with any geographical focus, and especially encourage those that consider computing’s global dimensions.

Some topics of interest include historical consideration of:

Submission Instructions

If you are interested, please submit an abstract (250 words) and a short CV to condiaz@ucdavis.edu and dkennedy@fas.harvard.edu by April 30, 2019. Accepted papers will be due for peer review in October 2019. You may also contact the editors with any questions, or to discuss potential topics.