study of women hackers

Rohit Khare (
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 21:22:37 -0500 (EST)

[yes, I know, more RRE crossposting, ut I think this is an important
effort, and it's sad that 1) it's taken so long and 2) we have to
be prodded by outsiders to assess our field. Kudos in advance to Paul.
(and his other book is quite intriguing too...) RK]


[Paul Edwards is an interesting and nice guy who wrote a good book on
the early history of AI entitled "The Closed World". His new project
concerns women hackers, and he's looking for relevant information and
potential interviewees. I'd much appreciate if you could forward this
to anyone who might be able to help him.]

This message was forwarded through the Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE).
Send any replies to the original author, listed in the From: field below.
You are welcome to send the message along to others but please do not use
the "redirect" command. For information on RRE, including instructions
for (un)subscribing, send an empty message to

Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 12:38:37 -0500
From: "Paul N. Edwards" <>
Subject: Pre-1985 Women Hackers?

I'm a historian of technology. Most of my work concerns the political,
social, and cultural history of computers and their uses. Members of this
list may know my book The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of
Discourse in Cold War America (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996). More
information about me is available on WWW at the URL below.

I'm now working on a historical article about women hackers, based largely
on email and telephone interviews. The purpose of the article is to
investigate myths and realities surrounding the role of women in computing,
especially during the 1960s and 1970s, when most authors have argued that
hacking was more or less exclusively male. As I've met more and more women
recently who describe themselves as hackers, I've become interested in the
particular experiences of the small minority of hackers who were female.
(NB: I am purposely leaving the definition of the term up to respondents.)

I'd like to hear from women who fit any of the following categories:

1) self-identified hackers;
2) women who have had extensive involvement with hacker communities in some
way, while not necessarily identifying as hackers; and
3) women computer professionals who have done serious thinking about the
gender roles of hackers.

I'm especially (but not exclusively) interested in women whose experience
dates from the period prior to 1985. I would like to interview as many of
you as possible, either by telephone, or by email. I've prepared a short
(but broad) questionnaire that can be the basis for either oral or written
responses. Interviews can be confidential, if desired.

I'm also looking for:

4) documents relating to women hackers. These might include, for example,
old email, other correspondence, newsgroup postings, or published
literature. Again, I'm primarily but not exclusively interested in the
period before 1985.

Hope you'll be interested. I will be happy to send you a copy of the
questionnaire or to interview you by phone. It would also be helpful to
have names/emails of other women who might be willing to participate.


Paul N. Edwards
Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer
Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Stanford University
Director, Information Technology & Society Project


University of Michigan (313) 647-8029 (office)
School of Information (313) 764-7414 (Residential College)
403B West Hall (313) 764-2475 (fax)
550 East University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1092
Email remains the same:


Bldg. 370 Rm. 111 (415) 723-6817 (o)
Stanford University (415) 725-5389 (fax)
Stanford, CA 94305-2120

--- end forwarded text

Robert Hettinga (, Philodox
e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
The e$ Home Page:
Ask me about FC98 in Anguilla!: <>

For help on using this list (especially unsubscribing), send a message to
"" with one line of text: "help".