</Technologies we study>
The Hashtag Syllabus
Intersectional Feminist Technology
From Cyborgs to Post-Human Compost
Critical Feminist Geographies
“I am proposing we live together, proceed forward, together in symbiosis not auto-poesis, in continual partial healing practices.” – VJ Um Amel, Ten Year Manifesto, 2017.
Feminist Technology Lab is a graduate seminar on feminism, cyberfeminism, and intersectional feminist theories of technology. We engage the political potency of feminist media practice—the use of installations, performance, public interactives, visual arts, and web-based platforms appealing for change or hacking systemic bias. Such creative and critical aesthetic engagements are firmly located in the feminist politics of the contemporary moment, an age marked by the proliferation of new media that have radically reconstituted not only the character of visual culture but also its channels of transmission and circulation. The transnational scale of media circulation has posed serious challenges to feminist scholars eager to understand how media are decoded and translated as they travel from one cultural context to another.
The Fem-Tech Lab seminar will use this website as the main online platform to provide syllabus updates, PDFs for all readings, events and resources. Students’ required deliverables and blog posts for class must be uploaded to this website. Please regularly check the website for syllabus updates and blog posts.
Assignments: There are 3 individual assignments. The instructions and deliverables are listed below the box of readings for each week.
Critical Blog Posts and Comments: There are 3 sets of interactive blogging required where each student uploads one 1,200 word critical blog posts based on the assigned readings [in the box], and each student comments on each of their peers. The critical blog posts are due the Friday before class at noon. That gives you the weekend to comment on ALL of the posts before class on Monday.
Collaborative Midterm: At the midterm, students to provide a proposal for a project of intellectual community building which will be the final (an installation and/or experience and/or intervention and/ or net art). Similar to the hashtag syllabi we discuss in class, the objective of this proposed project is to serve as a springboard for discussion and analysis among a networked public. At the midterm, the class must collectively present proposal in class to a group of invited artists and scholars. Due that day will be a 1,200 word abstract of the project, a two-sentence description, site map or other mapping, treatments, design plans, defined roles, website in development, social media presence, citations and and research methodology. Class will have $80 to use towards supplies. All participants receive the same grade.
Collaborative Final: The final will be one installation and/or experience and/or intervention and/ or net art that the class works on collectively throughout the term. Successful projects are where students learn how to work collectively and inclusively. The final day of class will be an open studio crit. The plan is for the invited guests from the midterm to return. The deliverable for the final will be a web page documenting the entire project, and a collectively written 3,000 word essay on the significance of the project. All participants receive the same grade.
Attendance and Late Policy: Do not be late. Do not miss class without speaking with me first.
Assignments each 10% *3 = 30%
Critical Blog Posts/Comments each 10% *3 = 30%
Midterm = 20%
Final = 20%
Week 1 – Solidarity Research
Mon, Oct 2 //What is Feminist Technology? Please come to class prepared to discuss:
Week 2 – The Hashtag Syllabus
Mon, Oct 9 //Critical Blog Post and Comments #1 Due
Week 3 – The Manifesto
Mon, Oct 16 //Assignment #1 Due – Implosion Project
Implosion Projects are attempts to teach and learn about the embeddedness of objects, facts, actions, and people in the world and the world in them. The emphasis is on details and non-obvious connections, as well as on the many dimensions with which we can analyze them: labor, professional, material, technological, political, economic, symbolic, textual, bodily, historical, educational. See undergraduate blog posts from April 25, 2017 for examples.
PART I. Read Eric Zimmerman’s (2003) “Play as Research: The Iterative Design
PART II. Pick an artifact, a fact, a process as “it.” Make sure it is as specific as possible (not just fluoxetine, but one of those colored, branded Prozac pills that is in your medicine cabinet; not just the fact that a monkey can use sign language, but the materialized, stated claim in a 1999 journal article). How can it be conceptualized? What is it to different groups of people and individuals? How is it situated in the world and how is the world situated in it? Following is a hastily put-together, quite incomplete, yet apparently excessive list of possibly relevant aspects of any artifact (whether it be a social movement, a name, a grouping, a set of actions, or a process in the form of a thing, a grain of rice, a mouse, a mouse pad, an ad about a mouse, you, a fact of life, a book, a statistic, an event, a story …).
Deliverable: Write your experience in a 1,200 word blog post or more.
Week 4 – Intersectional Feminist Technology (extending Crenshaw)
Mon, Oct 23 //Critical Blog Post and Comments #2 Due
Week 5 – Interactive Assemblage
Mon, Oct 30 //Assignment #2 Due – Object Making and Exchange
- Experiment with hands-on, applied skills outside of traditional academic writing
- Make theoretical terms, ideas, and arguments approachable, accessible, and/or available in other formats, vernaculars, and to new audiences
- Connect theories and practices along key themes
- Materially and then also virtually present your ideas, interpretations, critiques to class peers
- Understand “value” outside present day post-industrial capitalistic frameworks
A.Create (alone or in group)
For this final project, you are going to embark on an exciting creative practice/theory-oriented process in which you are going to produce a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) object or craft that materializes your response to, critique or understanding of a feminist interpretation of one of 10 course themes, to be made alone or in groups after discussion and approval of instructor. Only your creativity and inspiration are the limit for the artifact you create. In the past, students’ artifact choices ran the gamut from carpentry, knitting, and lego to photo collages, film strips objects and wired sculptures.
Take this artifact production process as a challenge to represent the material outside of the digital and outside of words. However, once you build your object, you will have to present/display it digitally as well. More specifically, you will create a digital expression–of your own choice– of the built object, where you will articulate your critical perspective on the link between the object and the chosen concept/ course theme. For instance, you can upload/post photos or a video recording of the artifact on different online venues such as a website, facebook, vimeo, blogs and so forth post.
After you present/display the material objects online, you will next proceeded to a “gift exchange” activity where you will think critically about VALUE. Therefore, while you are producers of such DIY objects, you are also going to become consumers as you are going to assess/describe items created by other colleagues and then exchange/barter items. You will thus swap your object with another class participant in relation to their description of your own item’s value. This final stage of your project is actually a bidding process where you are going to give your artifact away and where you will write each other explaining why the built objects had value. The students who made the highest bid will acquire the respective artifacts.
Deliverables: Come to class with A. and B. done. We will do the exchange in class.
Week 6 – Midterm
Mon, Nov 6 //Present proposal for final project to invited guests for critique.
At the midterm, students to provide a proposal for a project of intellectual community building which will be the final (an installation and/or experience and/or intervention and/ or net art..). Similar to the hashtag syllabi we discuss in class, this project’s aim is to serve as a springboard for discussion and analysis among a networked public. At the midterm, the class must collectively present proposal in class to a group of invited artists and scholars. Due that day will be a 1,200 word abstract of the project, a two-sentence description, site map or other mapping, treatments, design plans, defined roles, website in development, social media presence, citations and and research methodology. Class will have $80 to use towards supplies. All participants receive the same grade.
Week 7 – From Cyborgs to Post-Human Compost
Mon, Nov 13 //Critical Blog Post and Comments #3 Due
Week 8 – Open Lab for Collaboration
Mon, Nov 20 //Self-directed as needed. A summary of the time spent must be posted on blog.
Week 9 – Critical Feminist Geographies
Mon, Nov 27 //Assignment #3 Due – Feminist Mapping
Instructions and Deliverables:
- Watch this Google Map Engine Tutorial
- Open the FemTechNet Situated Knowledges Map link via your Google account.
- Select ‘Add a Marker’ [to the right of the hand icon] from the toolbar below the Search field at the top of this map.
- Drop a pin or make a marker on a place that represents a moment of feminist knowing, unknowing, learning, unlearning, understanding, confusion.
- In the description field of your pin or marker, please note your name (or a pseudonym), where you are writing from, and include either a narrative description of an event, or idea, a poem, micro-story, video, photo, etc. to animate your marker. You might want to make a mark about some of the following ways that you intersect with the idea of Feminism & Technology:
- your hometown
- where you first encountered an idea that transformed your understanding of the world or yourself
- a place where you had an experience that transformed your understanding of the world or yourself
- a place where you first came to an understanding of a key concept:
- power, class, gender, sex, assigned sex, race,
- Women of Color Feminism
- Transnational feminism
- feminist killjoy
- migrant knowledges
- Black Radical Tradition
- scattered hegemonies
- Indigenous knowledges
- (de)colonized knowledges
- compulsory heterosexuality
- situated knowledge
- cyborg knowledges
- compulsory ablebodiedness
- reproductive labour
- affective labour, etc
- a place that represents a site of epistemological belonging or alienation
- or a place that has been important for you in your knowledge of yourself in/and the world.
You may add as many pins as you’d like. Please only edit your own pins and be careful not to ‘delete’ anything!
- Once you have added your pin/marker, name and media: click “Share” (upper right hand corner) and then “Done (bottom of pop-up box).
- Browse through the other pins & markers and see where other folks are coming from! All map participants are encouraged to write a short reflection on their experience of the collaborative map, and we will collect these reflections and publish them as a FemTechNet blog post (contact T.L. if you would like to participate in this). Unfortunately Google Engine doesn’t allow comments on other people’s pins.
- Commenting: If you would like to comment on another pin, here’s how you can do it: drop a pin and write your comment as usual. Once you have posted your comment, hover the curser over the title of your comment in the list on the left of the map. Use the paint can icon to change your pin into a star and color it blue! (I have added a comment called “White Savior Industrial Complex” as an example.)
- we could use a purple square to indicate an “After reading ___” or “Key Word ____” marker that indicates a spatialization of students’ coming to new knowledges.
- we might want to add another notation shape (a green circle) that indicates a student re-visiting the map — what is something they have learned in a spatialized way during the course? And we could add this to the assignment — Drop a green circle at the end of the semester. How has your thinking changed? Do you perceive that initial experience that you described in your first pin differently?
One last glitch: Google Engines only allows one user at a time to work on the map. If you are doing this exercise in class, your students will have to take turns. If you are logged into the map and it is glitching out on you, it probably means that someone else is working on it, so come back in 10 min. Again, this is an experiment–or research-creation process–towards a FemTechNet map project, so please record your thoughts as you contribute to the map.
Week 10 – Studio Critique
Mon, Dec 4 //Invited artists and scholars will critique collaborative final in an open studio.
The final will be one installation and/or experience and/or intervention and/ or net art that the class works on collectively throughout the term. Successful projects are where students learn how to work collectively and inclusively. The final day of class will be an open studio crit. The plan is for the invited guests from the midterm to return. The deliverable for the final will be a web page documenting the entire project, and a collectively written 3,000 word essay on the importance of the project. All participants receive the same grade.
COLLABORATION DOCUMENTATION AND GROUP ESSAY DUE FINALS WEEK – TBD