Assistant Professor

Room: K-9664


Stephanie Dick

Stephanie Dick is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. Her research and teaching are informed by her background in STS and History of Science, with a focus on computing, mathematics, and artificial intelligence since the Second World War. She is the co-editor, with Janet Abbate, of Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society which was published with Johns Hopkins University Press in 2022. Her first book project, Making Up Minds: Computing and Proof in the Postwar United States explores attempts to reproduce human intelligence, mathematical intelligence in particular, in computers and the theories of human cognitive faculties that informed these efforts. It is a book about the men who looked at early digital computers and saw themselves, and the many histories that informed that perplexing and problematic recognition. Stephanie has also explored the establishment of the first centralized law enforcement databanks in the 1960s US, the political and technological construction of “criminality” within them, and their role in mass incarceration and ongoing racial injustice in policing. Stephanie is now embarking on a large-scale collaborative research program called “Ritual and Algorithm” that explores entanglements between mathematical, psychological, and occult theories of the human mind in the 20th century.

Stephanie is a co-investigator on the Data Fluencies Grant at the Digital Democracies Institute, where she oversees the “Experimental Algorithmic Futures” research stream. She co-edits the “Mining the Past” column at the Harvard Data Science Review; she is a co-organizer of the annual SIGCIS conference; she serves on the Editorial Board of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing; she is a member of the Scholarly Council at the Center for Critical Internet Inquiry at UCLA; she was a co-organizer on the Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Histories of AI: A Genealogy of Power” at the University of Cambridge. Stephanie is a teacher, and Teaching Advisory Board member with the Freedom Summer Collegiate Program in the Mississippi Delta. Before joining the faculty at SFU, Stephanie was an Assistant Professor of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Junior Fellow with the Harvard Society of Fellows.



  • PhD (2015), History of Science, Harvard University 
  • MA (2008), History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto
  • BA (2007), History of Science and Technology and Philosophy (First Class Combined Honors), the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University

Currently Teaching


CMNS 353: (Special Topics) The Information Age

CMNS 488: (Special Topics) Living With Algorithms

CMNS 235: Digital Democracies

CMNS 802: History of Communication Theory


Selected Publications

Edited Volume: 

Janet Abbate and Stephanie Dick eds. Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022).

Journal Articles:

Stephanie Dick, “The Standard Head”, forthcoming in Just Code, eds. Gerardo Con Diaz and Jeffrey Yost (forthcoming with Johns Hopkins University Press). 

Stephanie Dick, “The Marxist in the Machine” in Osiris, Vol. 38 (2023). 

Stephanie Dick, “The Politics of Representation: Narratives of Automation in Twentieth-Century Mathematics” in Narrative Science: Reasoning, Representing, and Knowing Since 1800, eds. Mary Morgan et al. (2022). 

Stephanie Dick, “Coded Conduct: Making MACSYMA Users and the Automation of Mathematics” in BJHS Themes, Vol. 5: Learning by the Book (2020)

Stephanie Dick and Daniel Volmar, “DLL Hell: Software Dependencies, Failure, and the Maintenance of Microsoft Windows” in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (2018). [Winner of the journals 2018 best paper award].

Stephanie Dick, “Of Models and Machines: Implementing Bounded Rationality” in Isis, Vol. 106, No. 3 (2015).

Stephanie Dick, “AfterMath: The Work of Proof in the Age of Human-Machine Collaboration” in Isis, Vol. 102, No. 3 (2011).

For a Broad Audience: 

Stephanie appeared on “A More Perfect Human”, an episode of NPR’s Throughline (2023). 

Stephanie Dick, “The Computer” in Sciences of “Dune”. Los Angeles Review of Books, 2022. 

Stephanie Dick, “Artificial Intelligence” in Harvard Data Science Review, 1.1 (2019).


Science and Technology studies; History of Science; Mathematics; Computing; Artificial Intelligence; Critical Algorithm Studies; Policing; Labor and Automation; Historical Epistemology