Life, Digitally: Feminist Studies of Technology
18 Bridge St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
More than thirty years ago, feminist scholar Cynthia Cockburn surveyed the dearth of women in engineering and technology jobs in the early 1980s. Despite the women’s movement of the 1970s and the massive influx of women into the workforce, women remained distressingly underrepresented in tech fields—a situation that has changed remarkably little since. Grand narratives of progress often presume that inequality will disappear as science and technology drive society forward toward some egalitarian future. But as Cockburn noted, technology is as much a product of unequal, gendered social relations as it is salvation from them: “Our industrial technology also has the imprint and the limitations that come of being both the social property and one of the formative processes of men… The masculinity of technology, men’s proprietorial grasp of machinery, has to be seen as a product of social rather than biological history.” Feminist theory provides alternative lenses to examine questions of power, selfhood, materiality, embodiment, and sentiment in relation to emerging technologies, calling attention to fundamental inequalities that mutually shape technology and social life. In this course, we will read the work of scholars such as Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Lucy Suchman, Judy Wacjman, Katherine Hayles, Susan Stryker, and others to consider how gender (in concert with race, class, sexuality, and disability) structures technologies such as artificial life, digital worlds, infrastructure, data, and bodily technologies.
Course ScheduleTuesday, 6:30-9:30pm
November 17 — December 08, 2015
4 session over 5 weeks