For your first paper, I would like you to come up with a new insight about the history of early electronic computing based on what you’ve learned in class and from the readings so far. Talk about at least two people and at least two machines in your essay. Your essay should be grounded in the specific historical details of what each machine or person did, as well as their historical contexts, but it should also discuss how the histories of these people and these machines have changed over time. In other words: What do we know now that we didn’t know in the past, and why? What are the different perspectives at play here? Think about their historiography.
Your goal will be to assemble information about these people and machines in a way that makes a new and unique point about the history or the historiography (or both) of women in computing. If you get stumped or aren’t sure where to begin, think about what you think is important for people outside our class to know, or think about what you’ve learned so far that’s been surprising or interesting.
No outside research is required for this paper—focus on the readings as your sources and resist the urge to google around for web summaries or more information because this exercise should really focus on you putting together the information you already have in new and interesting ways.
Length: 900-1000 words for undergrads; 1200-1500 words for grad students
Paper will be due September 22nd by 9pm, uploaded as a comment to this post. Your comment will not show up right away after you post it–I need to approve each one individually and will make a small selection of them visible a few days after everyone has passed theirs in. We will then talk about the posted essays in class, focusing on what we can learn from them about how to structure an argument and how to write a compelling essay that makes an original contribution.