[SIGCIS-Members] New Book: Digital Independence. India's Way Into the Computer Age – an International History

Theodora Dryer tjdryer at gmail.com
Fri Dec 2 10:14:02 PST 2022

Congratulations, Michael!

On Fri, Dec 2, 2022 at 10:12 AM Michael Homberg via Members <
members at lists.sigcis.org> wrote:

> Dear SIGCIS,
> please excuse the "self-promotion": I am excited to announce the
> publication of my new book: "Digital Independence. India's Way Into the
> Computer Age – an International History" ("Digitale Unabhängigkeit.
> Indiens Weg ins Computerzeitalter – eine Internationale Geschichte"). It
> has been published this week by Wallstein, and is largely based upon my
> habilitation thesis which I finished at the University of Potsdam,
> Germany, in 2021. The book is in German language only, but an English
> translation is already planned.
> I've shared the translated German blurb below. Many thanks for all the
> inspirations I received from the SIGCIS community, and I hope you all
> have a lovely weekend.
> Best regards from Berlin,
> Michael
> ***
> Digitale Unabhängigkeit. Indiens Weg ins Computerzeitalter – eine
> Internationale Geschichte, Göttingen: Wallstein 2022 (Geschichte der
> Gegenwart, Bd. 32). URL:
> https://www.wallstein-verlag.de/9783835352674-digitale-unabhaengigkeit.html
> .
> Blurb:
> The first electronic computers arrived in India in the 1950s. Today,
> Indian programmers embody our globalized world. This book examines the
> long and chequered history of India's journey into the digital age. It
> shows how the emergence of digital expertise in India was the result of
> both national efforts and international cooperations. From early on, the
> computer thus became a symbol of Indian nation-building at the end of
> the colonial era, a tool of technocratic planning in the high modern
> age, and an instrument of power politics, cultural controversies and
> economic interests. The book interweaves a national history perspective
> on the Indian republic, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year,
> with an analysis of the country's global relations, analyzing the
> different speeds and intensities of the computerization of the living
> and working worlds in the Global North and the Global South. Thus, it
> reconstructs the highly international networks of computer specialists,
> technicians, managers and politicians, development experts and activists
> in India. Since the early days of the Indian republic, industrialized
> nations such as the USA and the USSR, but also the Federal Republic of
> Germany and Great Britain promoted the expansion of computer technology
> and education in India. This study explores the roots of these
> international technical assistance programs in the Cold War era and the
> development of its global geopolitics of expertise, the growing desire
> in the Indian computer industry for “digital independence” in the global
> IT market since the 1970s and the triumph of elite programmers in
> Silicon Valley in the early 21st century. It analyzes the preconditions,
> dynamics, and consequences of global exchange processes in India after
> 1947, and thus “decenters” the primarily Western perspective of computer
> history and its master narratives. Drawing on broad (archival) research
> in India, the USA, and Europe, the study's sources include governmental
> records, university archival collections, academic literary estates,
> parliamentary minutes, and contemporary media.
> _______________________________
> PD Dr. Michael Homberg
> Senior Scientist/Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
> Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam
> Leibniz-Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam (ZZF) e.V.
> Am Neuen Markt 1
> 14467 Potsdam
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Theodora Dryer, PhD
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