Corinna Schlombs Headshot

Corinna Schlombs

Associate Professor

Department of History
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-4211
Office Location

Corinna Schlombs

Associate Professor

Department of History
College of Liberal Arts

Education

Diploma, Bielefeld University (Germany); MA, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Bio

Research Interests: History of Technology, Social and Cultural History of Computing, Business History and Gender Studies

Bio:
Dr. Schlombs’s research focuses on technology and capitalism in transatlantic relations. In her current book project, she investigates transatlantic transfers of productivity culture and technology in the two decades before and after World War II. Productivity, a statistical measure of output per worker, came to encapsulate the American economic system, and transatlantic debates about productivity called into question the notion of the capitalist West during the Cold War conflict.

Dr. Schlombs received her Diplom in Sociology from Bielefeld University in Germany, and her Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She has published articles and book chapters on international computing and computing and gender. Most recently, her research has been supported through a National Science Foundation Scholars Award that enabled her to focus on her book project.

Dr. Schlombs teaches classes in the History of Information and Communication Technologies, International Business History and Modern German History. She has advised student projects in computing and gaming history, museum studies, and business history. 

585-475-4211

Select Scholarship

Book Chapter
Schlombs, Corinna. "Women, Gender and Computing: The Social Shaping of a Technical Field from Ada Lovelace’s Algorithm to Anita Borg’s ‘Systers’." The Palgrave Handbook of Women and Science: History, Cultures and Practice since 1660. Ed. Claire G. Jones, Alison E. Martin, and Alexis Wolf. London, Great Britain: Palgrave MacMillan, 2022. 307-332. Web.
Schlombs, Corinna. "Gender is a Corporate Tool." Your Computer Is On Fire. Ed. Thomas S. Mullaney, et al. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2021. 159-178. Print.
Peer Reviewed/Juried Poster Presentation or Conference Paper
Schlombs, Corinna. "Primary Sources for a Globalizing History of Technology: A Companion Website as a Teaching Tool." Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology and the History of Science Society. Ed. n/a. Virtual and New Orleans, Louisiana: n.p..
Schlombs, Corinna. "Giving Women a Practical Education: Domestic Science at Rochester Institute of Technology." Proceedings of the Mechanics' Institutes Worldwide Conference. Ed. n/a. Virtual and Edinburgh, Scotland: n.p..
Schlombs, Corinna. "Computers, Assetization, and Productivity in the West German Financial Industry." Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science. Ed. n/a. Virtual and Toronto, Canada: n.p..
Full Length Book
Schlombs, Corinna. Productivity Machines: German Appropriations of American Technology from Mass Production to Computer Automation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2019. Print.
Journal Paper
Schlombs, Corinna. "Unerkannte Personen der Computertechnik: Dateneingabe im Bankwesen." Ferrum 91. (2019): 86-92. Print.
Schlombs, Corinna. "The ‘IBM Family’: American Welfare Capitalism, Labor and Gender in Postwar Germany." IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 39. 4 (2017): 12-26. Web.
Schlombs, Corinna. "A Cost-Saving Machine: Computing at the German Allianz Insurance Company." Information and Culture 52. 1 (2017): 31-63. Print.

Currently Teaching

HIST-180
3 Credits
The internet and cell phones seem to have revolutionized our society, changing how we learn about new things, relate to each other and understand ourselves. This course investigates the history of information and communication technologies to cast new light on these developments. We will ask how people formed political opinions, what ethical concerns new information and communication technologies raised, and how technologies changed the lives of the people using them. This course helps students understand the social, cultural, and ethical implications of revolutionary information and communication technologies.
HIST-280
3 Credits
This course covers major themes in German history from the formation of the German Empire in 1870 to the present. Topics include nation building and nationalism, industrialization and urbanization, imperialism at home and abroad, the first world war, the Weimar Republic, Nazi racism and the second world war, the divided Germany and the Cold War, and reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The course may focus on specific questions such as gender, class, religion or race and ethnicity. This course leads you to explore how German history shaped the role of Germans and Germany in the world today as well as how it informs problems facing other regions and eras.
HIST-282
3 Credits
Popular attention often focuses on a few prominent women in computing history, such as Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and the ENIAC programmers. But many more women were part of this history: as inventors, programmers, operators, and users of information and communication technologies. Investigating their legacies, we will discuss in this course how computing turned into an increasingly masculine field, what it meant for women and men to work in a male-dominated field, how the gendering of computing technologies and algorithms affected the identities and lives of their users, and how gender intersected online and offline with other dimensions of diversity, such as class, race, and ability. This course provides the theoretical concepts and historical overview that allow for a historically informed discussion of women, gender, sexuality, and computing today.
ITDL-151H
3 Credits
This honors seminar is a foundational course that examines how our social worlds are linked to our natural and built worlds. The corresponding emphasis on inquiry, analysis, and interpretation facilitates student-engaged learning. In exploring pertinent place and space related issues/topics through an experiential, active, and site-specific curricular focused learning, various aspects of the human condition are discovered. The theme or topic of this honors seminar, as chosen by the instructor, is announced in the subtitle as well as course notes and is developed in the syllabus. The honors seminar integrates the required Year One curriculum.
WGST-282
3 Credits
Popular attention often focuses on a few prominent women in computing history, such as Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and the ENIAC programmers. But many more women were part of this history: as inventors, programmers, operators, and users of information and communication technologies. Investigating their legacies, we will discuss in this course how computing turned into an increasingly masculine field, what it meant for women and men to work in a male-dominated field, how the gendering of computing technologies and algorithms affected the identities and lives of their users, and how gender intersected online and offline with other dimensions of diversity, such as class, race, and ability. This course provides the theoretical concepts and historical overview that allow for a historically informed discussion of women, gender, sexuality, and computing today.

In the News

  • September 24, 2021

    historic photo of women in a cooking lab.

    Registration open for worldwide Mechanics Institute virtual conference

    Registration is open for Mechanics’ Institutes Worldwide 2021, a free virtual conference on Oct. 15 honoring the 200th anniversary of the founding of the first Mechanics Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. RIT's Corinna Schlombs and Liz Call will virtually join experts from around the world as they share knowledge on the start of the Mechanics’ Institute movement in the 19th century and what the movement represents today.