Joan Greenbaum

Grand and godmother of early computers: all about the social relations of software

Dr. Greenbaum programmed one of the first computers, the IBM 650, in binary code. Diving into technical code fascinated her for about 20 years as she worked, researched and taught in the field of computer systems design, until apps took over the scene. Throughout that period and to this day, however, her real interests were in how people and social relations shape technology and how technologies are also actors of change. Among her many publications are the books, In the Name of Efficiency (Temple University, 1979), Design at Work: Cooperative Design of Computer Systems with Morten Kyng (Erlbaum Press, 1991) and Windows on the Workplace (Monthly Review Press, 2004). She is internationally known as a lecturer and workshop facilitator and continues now to do research about participatory design and social media. Mother, grandmother and union activist, and more.

Academic Interests

active artifacts: technologies of everyday use and our experience of them.
participtory practices: research about use and design of technologies through participatory action research.
place matters: environmental psychology and the experience of place