Hicks does research on the history of computing, labor, technology, and queer science and technology studies. Their work studies how collective understandings of progress are defined by competing discourses of social value and economic productivity, and how technologies often hide regressive ideals while espousing "revolutionary" or "disruptive" goals. Their research investigates everything from how power and AI intersect, to the long history of transphobic algorithmic bias, to the connections between gender and technological change.
Hicks’s current work focuses on how gender and sexuality bring hidden technological dynamics to light, and how the experiences of women and LGBTQIA people change the core narratives of the history of computing in unexpected ways. They are currently working on a book about the gendered nature of digital infrastructure and the intersections between queerness and resistance in the history of digital computing. Hicks's multiple award-winning first book, Programmed Inequality (MIT Press, 2017), looks at how the British lost their early lead in computing by discarding women computer workers, and what this cautionary tale can tell us about current issues in high tech. Hicks is also co-editor of the book Your Computer Is On Fire (MIT Press, 2021), a volume of essays about how we can begin to fix our broken high tech infrastructures.
Before joining UVA, Hicks was Associate Professor of History of Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and was a fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2018-2019. Hicks holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Duke University in History, and a B.A. in History from Harvard. More information about their work can be found at: marhicks.com.