Cover of Programming Language Cultures by Brian Lennon
Programming Language Cultures
Automating Automation
Brian Lennon

August 2024
236 pages.
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Hardcover now $50.00 (50% off)

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503633353
Paperback ISBN: 9781503639874
Ebook ISBN: 9781503639881

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Excerpts and More

In this book, Brian Lennon demonstrates the power of a philological approach to the history of programming languages and their usage cultures. In chapters focused on specific programming languages such as SNOBOL and JavaScript, as well as on code comments, metasyntactic variables, the very early history of programming, and the concept of DevOps, Lennon emphasizes the histories of programming languages in their individual specificities over their abstract formal or structural characteristics, viewing them as carriers and sometimes shapers of specific cultural histories. The book's philological approach to programming languages presents a natural, sensible, and rigorous way for researchers trained in the humanities to perform research on computing in a way that draws on their own expertise.

Combining programming knowledge with a humanistic analysis of the social and historical dimensions of computing, Lennon offers researchers in literary studies, STS, media and digital studies, and technical fields the first technically rigorous approach to studying programming languages from a humanities-based perspective.

About the author

Brian Lennon is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Passwords: Philology, Security, Authentication (2018) and In Babel's Shadow: Multilingual Literatures, Monolingual States (2010).

"Programming Language Cultures dispels the hype around computation that colors so much previous analysis. Impeccable research and technical mastery combine with the keen sensibilities of a philologist to demonstrate, finally, a welcome intellectual maturity in digital studies."

—Aden Evens, Dartmouth College

"Instead of chasing the latest in artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, or social media, Lennon's approach is to historicize the foundation on which all apps, algorithms, and platforms are built: programming languages old and new."

—Warren Sack, University of California, Santa Cruz