(My apologies; Brandon beat me to the Hello World joke.)

My name is Shane Lin. I am one of the new Praxis cohort.

This is my second year as a PhD student in the history department. My background is a bit different from that of most of my peers: I studied computer science and history at the University of Texas and subsequently worked for four years as a software engineer for a local Seattle bookstore. A foolhardy sense of romanticism caused me to abandon my career and turn instead to the Academy.  Now, I’m focused on the history of information, with a particular interest in cryptography and the Internet.

I became interested in the Praxis Program because, although I have a fairly strong technical background, I didn’t actually know much about digital humanities. I feel like the type of research that I’m drawn to suffers the opposite problem to many other historical fields: instead of suffering a dearth of documents, I’m inundated by a titanic flood. It’s intimidating, to say the least, to try to use something like a Usenet newsgroup or a mailing list archive with tens of thousands of participants as a source. Getting a better grasp on digital humanities techniques and approaches will no doubt be an invaluable experience.

I’m looking forward to dusting off the skills of my former (and now hopefully future) life and especially to foisting my own technical prejudices and ideological biases on my fellows.

“No, no – over here where you typed in ‘Perl’ – you really meant ‘Python'”

Shane works on the history of computing and the impact of digital technology on culture and politics. His dissertation, "Kingdom of Code: Cryptography and the New Privacy" tracks the development of civilian encryption technology and the emergence of cryptography as an academic field of study, the debates over crypto regulation, and the concomitant construction of a new, far more expansive…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>