This Science and Technology Dissertation Improvement Award, "The State Machine: Politics, Ideology, and Computation in Chile, 1964-1973" investigates how social, economic, and political processes shaped the adoption of computer technology in the developing world and how these technologies furthered state ideologies of progress, modernity, or socialism. NSF funds will support two research trips to Chile to the archives of various government agencies, homes and offices of interview participants, engineering professional societies, university libraries, SONDA, and the Chilean National Library. The second trip will be devoted to holdings of IBM Chile. This project builds an important bridge between the disciplines of modern Latin American history and the history of technology, a field that has traditionally focused on the U.S. and Europe and overlooked the developing world. Moreover, the interdisciplinary nature of the project unites themes from computer science, electrical engineering, political science, and business history. It promises to enrich our understanding of computer history by documenting the international expansion of U.S. computer companies into Latin America and the creative and innovative uses of information technology in other cultural contexts. To date, results from this project have assisted a Chilean government initiative to teach the history of science and technology to secondary school students. This working relationship is expected to continue. The history of technology is a nascent field in Latin America, furthered by conversations and collaborations with scholars in other parts of the world. Collaborative work with members of the Chilean academic community constitutes a vital part of this project as it facilitates the transfer of methods for studying technology and enables the PI and Co-PI to incorporate developing world concerns in both teaching and publications. Research from this project will result not only in a dissertation, but also in scholarly articles published in Spanish and English, as well as presentations in both the United States and Latin America.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
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John P. Perhonis
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
United States
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