Con Diaz, Slayton, and Steenson are now CBI Research Fellows

View of Andersen library

We are also delighted to announce that we have added three stellar scholars as CBI Research Fellows, University of California, Davis, Science and Technology Studies Associate Professor Gerardo Con Diaz, Cornell University, Science and Technology Studies Associate Professor Rebecca Slayton, and President of the American Swedish Institute, and past Carnegie Mellon University Design Professor and Vice Provost, Molly Wright Steenson. They join CBI Senior Research Fellows Professors William Aspray, Jennifer Light (MIT), David Nye (S. Denmark), and Dr. James Cortada. CBI research fellows contribute to the institute by helping to organize and co-leading events, giving lectures, helping graduate students, and extending our network.

Con Diaz

Gerardo Con Diaz’s (“Con”) research focuses on how law and policy have shaped the digital world. His first book, Software Rights: How Patent Law Transformed Software Development in America (Yale, 2019) insightfully explores the historical intersection of intellectual property, political economy, business, and technology. It received the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Special Interest Group for Computing, Information and Society (SIGCIS)/Computer History Museum (CHM) Book Prize for Best Book in the History of Computing in 2020. His second book is under contract with Yale University Press and is entitled, Everyone Breaks These Laws, How Copyright Made the Online World. 

Con is a Fellow of Stanford University, and his research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Stanford University (Hoover Institution), and the Smithsonian Institution. I have the distinct pleasure of partnering with Con on many projects. These include the two of us serving as Co-editors of Johns Hopkins University Press’ Studies in Computing and Culture book series and as Co-PIs on an NSF CBI project “Mining a Useable Past: Perspective, Paradoxes, and Possibilities in Security and Privacy.” Con and I were also co-organizers of CBI symposia “Just Code: Power, Inequality and the Global Political Economy of IT,” and “Automation by Design.”

Rebecca Slayton headshot

Rebecca Slayton’s research and teaching focuses on relationships between and among risk, governance, and expertise. Her first book, Arguments that Count: Physics, Computing and Missile Defense, 1949-2012 (MIT Press, 2013), is a wonderful work of scholarship examining how computing expertise reshaped public policies and conceptions of risk with U.S. missile defense. It received the SIGCIS/CHM Book Prize for Best Book in the History of Computing in 2015. Her next book, Shadowing Cybersecurity, looks at cybersecurity expertise “through the interplay of innovation and repair.” This book is supported by her five-year NSF CAREER award, “Enacting Cybersecurity Expertise.” Prior to Cornell, Slayton taught at Stanford University and at our own University of Minnesota Program in History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. She has also conducted oral histories on computer security that she has donated to the Charles Babbage Institute.

 molly wright steenson

Molly Wright Steenson returned home to Minneapolis this past summer to take the position of President and CEO of the American Swedish Institute (ASI) in Minneapolis. ASI is a museum and cultural center that concentrates on the preservation and study of the history of Swedish Americans and the impact they have had on our nation and culture. Prior to this, Steenson was an Associate Professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University and served as the university’s Vice Provost of Faculty, and as Senior Associate Dean for Research in the College of the Fine Arts. Steenson authored the intriguing and important book Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (MIT Press, 2017). She recently gave a keynote at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Designing Interactive Systems 2023 and has delivered many keynotes and hundreds of talks throughout the world, including a TEDx Talk. 

We are thrilled to have Con, Rebecca, and Molly join us as CBI Research Fellows!

Jeffrey R. Yost



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