Cristina Turdean is an expert in Museum Studies for the Department of Historic Preservation, where she teaches a number of related classes. She also serves on the Museum Studies Minor Committee at the University. Since coming to the University of Mary Washington in 2011 Dr. Turdean has actively engaged her students in the local museum community by planning a number of exhibits, conducting collections management work, developing school programs, and writing grants for organizations like the George Washington Foundation, the Washington Heritage Museums, James Monroe Museum and Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center.
A unifying theme throughout her work as a graduate student and faculty is the entwined configuration of technology and society – the intricate ways in which people shape and are shaped by the technologies they create. Titled “Betting on Computers. Digital Technologies and the Rise of the Casino Industry in the United States (1950-1995),” her dissertation project shed light on the adoption of computers in casinos as a key factor that made possible and decisively shaped the expansion of the casino industry to the extent we see today.
Currently, she is conducting research on two other topics: the evolution of museum cataloging systems from an epistemological point of view; and, the development of the first hand-held commercial GPS receiver by Magellan Systems Corporation in the 1980s.
Areas of Expertise (4)
Technology and Gambling
Technology and Society
Faculty Development Grant (professional)
Awarded by the University of Mary Washington, 2014.
Faculty Teaching Grant (professional)
Awarded by the University of Mary Washington, 2013.
Goldman-Sachs Fellowship (professional)
Awarded by the National Museum of American History, 2012 and 2013.
University of Delaware Dissertation Fellowship (professional)
University of Delaware Fellowship (professional)
Awarded for “Public Engagement in Material Culture” project, 2010.
Research Fellowship (professional)
Awarded by the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, 2008.
University of Delaware Research Travelling Grant (professional)
Awarded in 2008 and 2009.
Stewart Summer Research Fellowship (professional)
Awarded by the University of Delaware, 2005.
Hagley Graduate Fellowship (professional)
Awarded by the University of Delaware, 2004-2009.
Academic Achievement Award (professional)
Awarded by the State University of New York at Oneonta, Cooperstown Graduate Program, Class of 2004.
University of Delaware: Ph.D., History 2012
Dissertation title: “Betting on Computers. Digital Technologies and the Rise of the Casino Industry (1950-1995)”
University of Delaware: M.A., History 2006
State University of New York at Oneonta, Cooperstown Graduate Program: M.A., Museum Studies 2004
Polytechnic Institute of Cluj-Napoca: B.S., Electrical Engineering 1990
Computerizing Chance: The Digitization of the Slot Machine (1960-1984)Center for Gaming Research Occasional Paper Series
2012 The digital slot machine entered the gambling floor in the mid-1970s and, within a decade, it became gamblers’ favorite and the main contributor to casinos’ gross revenue. This paper traces the main developments of this transition, particularly the role of the inventors, entrepreneurs, and the business context that made it possible. Decisively shaped by the culture of the casino floor and advancements in computer technology, the emergence of the microprocessor slot machine involved the gradual replacement of mechanical parts with digital components and created new opportunities for casino managers.
Casinos and the Digitization of the Slot MachineIEEE Annals in the History of Computing
2011 The last 30 years marked the unprecedented expansion of the casino industry and advances in gambling technology, particularly the slot machine. The development of the digital slot machine demonstrates the ways in which the culture of the casino floor and the specifics of the mechanical machine shaped the evolution of its digital successor.