Carla has a nice post about het fascination with knitting and refers to computers (she used to be ‘in’ computers before going all knitty).  Writing my comment on her post, I felt like writing more about this topic: textiles and computers. I’ve returned to it many times, at least in my head. Often is was a way of getting women and computers into the same realm. Computers was seen (especially in the eighties, when I took my Computers & Humanities-minor) a the prototypical new and exciting ‘thing’. Nerds with coffee mugs were the new heroes. And they were almost always male. I wanted to drag women & the ‘small’ daily things like knitting and weaving into this new & shiny hall by referring to when they used to be in the same realm in the infancy of computers. As ‘we all’ know, Babbage was heavily influenced by the Jacquard-weaving machines punch cards with holes and non-holes. Of course, this connection was via the not-so-domestic industrialisation, but nevertheless, something as ‘mundane’ as textiles sparked off this development.

Also, of course, I liked to tell my co-students about Ada Lovelace, the brilliant mathematician who’s often seen as the first programmer. One choses one’s own role models. The same reason that I mailed my co-data analistes about Florence Nightingale, who was not only a nurse but also a pioneer in the field of graphic representation of statistical data.

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