Hagley Scholars participate and attend many events throughout the year. Events include the History Department Tuesday Workshops, Hagley Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society Research Seminar Series, and a biennial conference put on by the Hagley Scholars.

Joy Lisi Rankin

On May 9-10, 2019, the Hagley Program in the History of Capitalism, Technology, and Culture will be hosting a two-day visit by Dr. Joy Lisi Rankin, author A People’s History of Computing in the United States (2018). Dr. Rankin’s path-breaking book overturns the prevailing narratives about the history of computers that focus on a handful of heroic Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Instead, her work takes a bottom-up approach, exploring the ways that ordinary Americans—boys and girls, men and women—shaped hardware and software development in the years before the rise of the PC in the 1980s. A reviewer for The Nation called the book “a powerful and densely detailed account of how digital culture in the 1960s and ’70s shaped our contemporary experiences of technology as a tool for social connection.”

On May 9, 4:30-6:30pm, in 116 Gore Hall, Dr. Rankin will give a public lecture “A History of Computing Citizenship,” which will explore the relationship between community and citizenship in the formative years of networked computing in the 1960s and ’70s. On May 10, 12:30-1:45pm, in 109 Memorial Hall, Dr. Rankin will lead a colloquium “The Pipeline Fallacy: My Work as a Woman around STEM,” with a focus on the resistance she faced when excavating the sometimes-troubling gender dynamics in the software development communities and the consequences this resistance had for her professional career.

Dr. Rankin’s visit has been arranged by the Hagley Program in the History of Capitalism, Technology, and Culture, with co-sponsorship by UD’s ADVANCE Institute, which promotes women in STEM, and the departments of history, women and gender studies, electrical and computer engineering, and computer and information sciences. Hagley Program coordinator David Suisman said, “We are excited about Dr. Rankin’s upcoming visit. She is a highly original scholar whose work brings together many important issues about the kinds of stories we tell about gender and technological innovation. Plus, her visit is a chance to enhance the connections between the humanities and STEM at UD.”

Dr. Joy Lisi Rankin is a feminist, anti-racist historian, and a Contributing Editor for Lady Science. She is also a consultant for the documentaries The Birth of BASIC and The Queen of Code and for the television show Girls Code. Rankin was an Exchange Scholar at MIT while earning her doctorate in History from Yale University, as well as a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prior to entering the academy, she had a successful career launching educational programs for students of all ages, which took her around the country. Her website is