Julie A Byers
(thesis advisor)Katherine Moriwaki
May 21 2019
This research and project offer an intersectional look at the forgotten histories of women’s contributions in computer science and technology development. It is also an attempt to reclaim what it means to be a worker, maker and inventor in these spaces. Computer science was originally a female dominated field, and some of the early contributions to computer creation was the handweaving of computer memory by elderly and Navajo women. This was at the after the time of large scale tapestry, where this worked was considered skilled and male, but instead was seen as delicate, unskilled, and female. This research and woven project has been primarily focused through the lens of the Apollo Navigation Core Rope Memory since people tend to think of metal and welding bringing us to the moon, but not typically weaving. Through literally weaving a large scale representation of this memory system, I have been also exploring the intersectional feminism and interwoven histories of these systems, women, and societies. Furthermore, there are several dynamics in play that are not equal and are still contributing to the field today. However, during this same time, there are other unequal dynamics at play, since while I am a white woman in 2019 doing this project, where do these interwoven history’s with bound up in privilege disenfranchised of women of color and indigenous women, a symbolic justification of culture shown for unrecognized labor. These dynamics are problematic and are unequal and while they simultaneously and don’t cancel each other out. We are not standing in solidarity. By entangling the research, techniques, cultures, and contributions, there is a necessity to bring these histories into the foreground as well and not just the background. I am a product and part of the system - I am also implicated in perpetuating it.
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