[SIGCIS-Members] A response to a SIGCIS Command Line panel session presentation on PLATO
Sarah T. Roberts
sarah.roberts at ucla.edu
Mon May 22 19:36:44 PDT 2017
I couldn't agree more. Thank you, Chris.
S a r a h T. R o b e r t s, P h. D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Information Studies
Graduate School of Education & Information Studies
Blogging periodically at
> On May 22, 2017, at 19:06, Christopher Leslie <chris.leslie at nyu.edu> wrote:
> Dear Brian,
> I am perplexed by your lengthy attack on Joy Rankin's presentation. The author of a book, you castigate a scholar's 20-minute presentation. Most incredibly. Yyu criticize her for being ignorant of history, but at the same time, you do not consider your ignorance of gender studies to be a problem. This is the exact problem with privilege that SIGCIS and other groups are contending with.
> It's no longer a secret that there were a lot of women in computing. From Jennifer Light to Hidden Figures, we are sure that women were there. Recently, Marie Hicks has given us a solid study of how the women were filtered out through procedure and system. It is not that computing was from the start hostile to women, but it does seem as if as it developed it became so. This is in line with what other feminist historians of science have noticed (cf. Schiebinger's comment about the number of female astronomers). An analysis of this process is sorely needed.
> By the way, only a man could say that an attack on a woman was not important because others spoke up to protest. You might be interested in the rich and growing literature on microagreessions and how they impact diversity in STEM. Given the pervasive interest in enhancing diversity in computing and STEM more generally, I am uncertain why you feel PLATO or other projects have something to lose by contending with the experience of women in the field.
> I applaud Rankin and others for their solid work in this difficult area. Their findings are not, as you suggest, anomalous misreadings of history. Contending with the pervasive and persistent sexism (and other isms) in STEM will be the challenge of the current generation of scholars. I feel lucky to be at NYU, where such conversations are at least entertained without polemical attacks. Your screed, though, shows how far the profession has to go.
> Chris Leslie
>> On Mon, May 22, 2017 at 8:03 PM, Brian Dear <brian at platohistory.org> wrote:
>> The link below is my in-depth response to a presentation given by Dr. Joy Rankin entitled “Performing Gender on PLATO” at the recent SIGCIS Command Line conference held at the Computer History Museum this past March.
>> Many assertions were made in that presentation that concerned me greatly and I felt it necessary to not only write up a detailed response based on my own decades’ worth of research into the history of the PLATO system and its community, but also I sought out and included comments from former PLATO people who were named in Dr. Rankin’s talk, about the presentation and the claims made therein. Every single PLATO person I contacted shared the same concerns.
>> I welcome thoughts from fellow SIGCIS members.
>> - Brian
>> Brian Dear
>> PLATO History Project
>> Santa Fe, NM
>> brian at platohistory.org
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> Christopher S. Leslie, Ph.D.
> Co-Director and Lecturer, Science and Technology Studies
> Faculty Fellow in Residence for Othmer Hall and Clark Street
> Chair, IFIP History of Computing Working Group 9.7
> NYU Tandon School of Engineering
> 5 MetroTech Center, LC 131
> Brooklyn, NY 11201
> (646) 997-3130
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
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