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Marie Hicks

Marie Hicks, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History







Siegel Hall 206


Ph.D., Duke University
M.A., Duke University
A.B., Harvard University

Research Interests 

History of technology
Computing history
Gender and sexuality
Institutional change
Modern Europe


Marie Hicks is a historian of technology, gender, and modern Europe, specializing in the history of computing. Her book, Programmed Inequality (MIT Press, 2017) investigates how Britain lost its early lead in computing by discarding the majority of their computer workers and experts--simply because they were women. Her current project looks at transgender Britons' interactions with the computerized systems of the British welfare state in the 20th century, and how these computerized systems determined whose bodies and identities were allowed to exist. Hicks's work studies how collective understandings of social progress are defined by competing discourses of national prestige, labor, and productivity, and how technologies often hide regressive values while espousing "revolutionary" or "disruptive" goals. She runs the Digital History Lab at Illinois Tech and maintains a blog about her research and teaching.

Seeking Ph.D. students with interests in:

Queer STS

History and historiography of science and technology

Gender and sexuality studies

Professional Society Memberships 

Current Projects 

Hicks is currently working on a book about how computerized systems determine normative identities, and through that influence citizenship by affecting people's minds, bodies, opportunities, and civil rights.

Awards & Honors 

2018-2019 National Humanities Center Fellowship (Founders’ Fellowship)

2018 PROSE Award for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (for Programmed Inequality)

Associate Editor for the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing

Vice Chair (USA) for the Special Interest Group on Computers and Information in Society within the Society for the History of Technology

Lewis College of Human Sciences Summer Research Fellowship, 2016

Visiting Research Fellowship from John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester, UK, 2014

Hagley Exploratory Research Grant, 2014

Arthur L. Norberg Travel Grant Award to the Charles Babbage Center on the History of Computing, 2013 

Science and Society Dissertation Research Grant

Charles Babbage Institute’s Tomash Fellowship for History of Information Processing, University of Minnesota

Selected Publications 

Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing (MIT Press, 2017).

"Computer Love: Replicating Social Order Through Early Computer Dating Systems," Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology (Fall 2016, issue 10)

"Against Meritocracy in the History of Computing," CORE: The Magazine of the Computer History Museum (2016, starts on p. 28)

"Using Digital Tools for Classroom Activism: Exploring Gender, Infrastructure, and Technological Discipline through a Public Bathroom Project,"SYLLABUS Journal 4, no. 2 (2015)

“De-Brogramming the History of Computing,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (January-March 2013).

"Only the Clothes Changed: Women Operators in British Computing and Advertising, 1950-1970," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 32, no. 2 (October-December 2010).

"Meritocracy and Feminization in Conflict: Computerization in the British Government" in Gender Codes: Why Women Are Leaving Computing, ed. Thomas Misa (IEEE-CS Press/Wiley, 2010).

"Repurposing Turing's Human Brake." IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 30, no. 4 (October-December 2008).

"Integrating Women at Oxford and Harvard Universities, 1964-1977." In Yards and Gates: Gender in Harvard and Radcliffe History, ed. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

Hicks also occasionally contributes blog posts at