Mar Hicks

Associate Professor of Data Science

Field & Specialties

DEI in Science
Social Science
History of Technology
Women and Gender and Sexuality
Computing History
Social Impacts of Computing
Data Policy
Qualitative Analysis
Historical Analysis


Hicks does research on the history of computing, labor, technology, and queer science and technology studies. Their work studies how collective understandings of progress are defined by competing discourses of social value and economic productivity, and how technologies often hide regressive ideals while espousing "revolutionary" or "disruptive" goals. Their research investigates everything from how power and AI intersect, to the long history of transphobic algorithmic bias, to the connections between gender and technological change. 

Hicks’s current work focuses on how gender and sexuality bring hidden technological dynamics to light, and how the experiences of women and LGBTQIA people change the core narratives of the history of computing in unexpected ways. They are currently working on a book about the gendered nature of digital infrastructure and the intersections between queerness and resistance in the history of digital computing. Hicks's multiple award-winning first book, Programmed Inequality (MIT Press, 2017), looks at how the British lost their early lead in computing by discarding women computer workers, and what this cautionary tale can tell us about current issues in high tech. Hicks is also co-editor of the book Your Computer Is On Fire (MIT Press, 2021), a volume of essays about how we can begin to fix our broken high tech infrastructures.

Before joining UVA, Hicks was Associate Professor of History of Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and was a fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2018-2019. Hicks holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Duke University in History, and a B.A. in History from Harvard. More information about their work can be found at:


Your Computer is On Fire, a co-edited collection, MIT Press (2021)

"Hacking the Cis-tem"IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (March 2019)

"When Winning Is Losing: Why the Nation that Invented the Computer Lost Its Lead"IEEE Computer (October 2018)

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)

“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)

Courses Taught

History and Historiography
New Course: Illinois Institute of Technology, Spring 2020


Diversity in the History of Technology
New course: Illinois Institute of Technology, Fall 2019


Women in Computing History (Current Syllabus)
First taught at Illinois Institute of Technology: Fall 2016, Spring 2021, and Fall 2022, also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Fall 2017


Digital Labor
Illinois Institute of Technology: Spring 2017 & Fall 2015—part of the Digital Humanities requirement


Illinois Institute of Technology: Spring 2020, Fall 2016, 2015, 2013 and 2012, and University of Wisconsin-Madison: Spring 2018


Filming the Past
Illinois Institute of Technology: Spring 2016, and 2014


Science and Technology Studies Seminar
Illinois Institute of Technology: Spring 2017 & Spring 2013


History of Computing
Illinois Institute of Technology: Fall 2011


Gender and Technological Change
Illinois Institute of Technology: Spring 2012


History of Technology
North Carolina State University, 2008-2011


20th Century European History
Duke University: Spring 2008


Politics & Sexuality in the Modern West
Duke University: Fall 2008, 2006


Ethical Dimensions of Progress
North Carolina State University: Fall 2008


Science, Technology, and Human Values
North Carolina State University: Fall 2007, Fall 2004