Between Discipline and Profession: A History of Persistent Instability in the Field of Computer Engineering, circa 1951-2006

TitleBetween Discipline and Profession: A History of Persistent Instability in the Field of Computer Engineering, circa 1951-2006
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsJesiek, B. K.
Keywordscomputer, computing, design, discipline, engineering, engineering studies, engineers, history, instability, profession, technology
Abstract

This dissertation uses a historical approach to study the origins and trajectory of computer engineering as a domain of disciplinary and professional activity in the United States context. Expanding on the general question of "what is computer engineering?," this project investigates what counts as computer engineering knowledge and practice, what it means to be a computer engineer, and how these things have varied by time, location, actor, and group. This account also pays close attention to the creation and maintenance of the "sociotechnical" boundaries that have historically separated computer engineering from adjacent fields such as electrical engineering and computer science. In addition to the academic sphere, I look at industry and professional societies as key sites where this field originated and developed. The evidence for my analysis is largely drawn from journal articles, conference proceedings, trade magazines, and curriculum reports, supplemented by other primary and secondary sources.