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The Hidden Circuits of Indigenous Computer Labor: A Photographic History of The Navajo Fairchild Ladies of Shiprock, New Mexico

Image of circuitboard tiles interleaved with Native American patterned tilesLisa Nakamura

Friday, June 9, 2017
4:00 – 5:30 PM
PLC 180

Also see the PDF flyer here!

From 1965-1976 the Fairchild Semi-conductor Corporation employed almost a thousand Navajo women and men in a state of the art plant on a Navajo reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico.  This paper uses previously unpublished photographic images from the archives of Henry Mahler, an industrial photographer who worked on site in Shiprock, to illustrate how women of color were incorporated into early discourses about gender in the digital industries.

Lisa Nakamura is the Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor of American Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and coordinator of its Digital Studies Program.  She is the author of four books on racism, sexism, and the Internet.  Her book Workers Without Bodies: Racism, Sexism, and Digital Labor in Social Media and Gaming is under contract with University of Minnesota Press.

Event made possible by English, Women’s and Gender Studies, Native American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Media Studies in the School of Journalism and Communication, the Center for the Study of Women in Society, the New Media and Culture Certificate program, the LGBTQIA Scholars ARC, and the Oregon Humanities Center.  Contact Dr. Edmond Y. Chang ( or Dr. Tara Fickle ( for more information.