Feminist Dialogues on Technology: Pitzer MS 134

The syllabus below is from the spring 2013 beta run of FemTechNet’s Distributed Open Collaborative course on feminist technology.

The course will have it’s first full, international run in the Fall 13 at the following institutions.

  • Bowling Green State University
  • Pitzer College
  • CUNY
  • Penn State
  • Ontario College of Art and Design
  • The New School
  • Brown University
  • Rutgers
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Goldsmiths University of London
  • Bucknell University
  • SUNY
  • UC Irvine
  • Ohio State University
  • Colby-Sawyer College
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • Yale



A Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC)

A mixed-mode, learning experiment linking undergraduate students at

Pitzer College and Bowling Green State University

with graduate students at USC and UCSD

PIT MS 134, Spring 2013, Thursdays 9-11:50

Alexandra Juhasz, Pitzer College, Fletcher 226

Office Hours: Weds 1:30-2:30 and 4-5

and by email appt: alexandra_juhasz@pitzer.edu


Dr. Radhika Gajjala, Phd, BGSU

 Office Phone: (419) 372-0586
Email: radhika@cyberdiva.org
Skype ID: cyberdivaskype
Google hangout ID: gRadhika2012
Virtual Office Hours: M and W  12:30 PM –  2.00 and by appt.


In this course, we’ll be exploring the ways that gender and technology have defined and
redefined each other socially and culturally. The course introduces students to key issues in Feminism and Technology within the context of American Culture, Globalization, and Media Studies.

The course is based on collaborations between students and professors at Bowling Green State University, Pitzer College, University of California San Diego and University of Southern California (IML555 Digital Pedagogies).

It is part of a larger project (see http://fembotcollective.org/femtechnet/), so Spring 2013 students will participate in ongoing collaborations in feminism, technology, video, art and craft. Some of the best projects will be showcased worldwide in online portals and offline in feminism and technology related exhibits.


Go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/RGajjalas-Courses/313468268770326 and like the page. Other interaction will occur on Sakai, Wikipedia, and Social Book.

Thursday, January 24: Introductions


View in class

Keyword videos by BGSU students


Join one of ten theme groups with BGSU students


Thursday, January 31: Responses


Required Reading

TechnoFeminism, Intro, 1-2



Assignment 1: In groups respond to one of the BGSU videos


February 7: TechnoFeminism: Adrianne Wadewitz


Required Reading: Discussion Online

(post 1 summary and 2 responses, minimum)

TechnoFeminism Chapters 3-5


Guest lecturer, Adrianne Wadewitz, will lead a tutorial on Wikipedia, this will be taped and shared with the BGSU students




Required Reading

            Lucy Suchman: (2011) “Subject Objects.” Feminist Theory, 12 (2): 119-145

Wendy Chun: Chapter 1, Programmed Visions (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2011).


February 21: BODY


Required Reading

Rosi Braidotti: “Meta (l) Morpheses,Theory, Culture and Society, 14:2 1997:


Alondra Nelson: “Future Texts,” Alondra Nelso, Social Text, 71: 20

(Summer 2002).




Lynn Hershmann: !Women Art Revolution: A (Formerly) Secret History (2011):


“Introduction,” Lynn Hershmann, ed., Clicking In, Hot Links to a Digital Culture. Seattle: Bay Press, 1996.

Carol Long/Derek Hook Hook, D and Long, C. (2011). “The Apartheid Archive Project, heterogeneity and the analysis of racism.” Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 16, 1-10.

March 7: LABOR (online class for Pitzer)


Required Reading

Judy Wacjman: “TechnoCapitalism Meets TechnoFeminism: Women and Technology in a Wireless World,” LABOUR & INDUSTRY, Vol. 16, No. 3, April–May 2006

Jodi Dean: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/beyond-clicktivism-jodi-dean-on-the-limits-of-technology-in-the-occupy-movement





Required Reading

                        Karen Barad: “Posthumanist Performativity: How Matter Comes to Matter”

(originally published in Signs in 2003)

Shu Lea Cheang: http://www.compostingthenet.net; http://babywork.biz; http://www.u-k-i.co/




March 28: SYSTEMS


Required Reading

Brenda Laurel: “Design from the Heart,” in Women, Art and Technology,

Judy Malloy, ed., MIT Press, 2003.

Janet Murray: Toward a Cultural Theory of Gaming: Digital Games and the

Co-Evolution of Media, Mind, and Culture,” Popular Communication, 4(3), 185-202, 2006.


2nd Video Due: Mid Term


April 4: PLACE


Required Reading

Katherine Gibson: “The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A feminist critique

of political economy.” Oxford: Blackwell, Progress in Human Geography, 11,


Kavita Philip: “”English Mud: Toward a Critical Cultural Studies of Colonial

Science,” in Cultural Studies, 12 (3) 1998 pp. 300-331


Mona Hartoum:











April 11: RACE: Via Social Book and Virgina Kuhn’s Students in Digital Pedagogies


Required Reading

Maria Fernandez: 2003. “Cyberfeminism, Racism, Embodiment.” In Domain Errors! eds. Maria Fernandez, Faith Wilding, and Michelle M. Wright. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Autonomedia. http://refugia.net/domainerrors/DE1b_cyber.pdf


Lisa Nakamura: “It’s a Nigger in Here! Kill the Nigger!”: User-Generated Media Campaigns Against Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in Digital Games.” The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, edited by Angharad Valdivia (Blackwell: forthcoming).


(a critique by Jesse Daniesl: Rethinking Cyberfeminism(s): Race, Gender, and Embodiment, Women’s Studies Quarterly 37: 1 & 2, Sproing/Summer 2009.





Required Reading

Josephine Ho: Ping Wang, The Prosecution of Taiwan Sexuality Researcher and Activist Josephine Ho, Reproductive Health Matters 2004;12(23):111–115


  “In Defence of Academic Research and Internet Freedom of Expression,” InterAsia Cultural Studies 6.1 (March 2005): 147-150. (In English), 2005.


Faith Wilding: “Becoming Autonomous,” technics of cyber-feminisim, Ed. Claudia Reiche and Andrea Sick. Bremen: thealit Frauen.Kultur.Labor, 2002; or “Where is Feminism in Cyberfeminism” Feminist Art Theory.  Ed. Hillary Robinson. Blackwell: UK, 2001.

(Live Dialogue: Haraway and Lord about Da Costa, LACE, April 19)


April 25: TRANSFORMATION: Via Social Book and Virgina Kuhn’s Grad Students


Required Reading

Donna Haraway: “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology and Socialist-Feminism,”

Catherine Lord: “June 2001 (Looking Backward: Confessions of Her Baldness),” in Summer of Her Baldness, University of Texas Press, 2004.

Beatriz Da Costa: Introduction (with Kavita Philip) and “reaching the Limit: When Art Becomes Science,” in Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism and Technoscience (MIT: 2010).


All Wiki Work Due


May 2: Craft/Gift Exchange!



Attendance and Participation: I believe that participation is a vital aspect of the class. I expect you to come prepared and to contribute to class discussions: both on and offline.


Required Reading: All reading is due before class. Come to class prepared to discuss it. There is one required book at Huntley, it is also available at Honnold on reserve. The rest of the articles will be available on Sakai or online.


TechnoFeminism, Wacjman

Cybercultures Reader, David Bell (optional)



2) Technical help and info



The How to Make a FemTechNet Keyword or Book Trailer Video Guide: on Sakai






You will need A Wikipedia login account. You will have to create one, so go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page  and create one and email your login id (not your password) Radhika@cyberdiva.org  in an email message with a subject line that contains your real name and the course name “ACS/WS 3000: Wikipedia login id _ your name”.








3) Course Work:


There are four assignments:


  1. Wiki Work: 30%
  2. Keyword Videos (2): 30%
  3. Craft Projects: 30%
  4. Participation: 10%






1. Wiki work: Content creation; content editing; language correction connected to an author and the theme of your craft project

– wiki stubs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Stub

-Edits on featured articles on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FA
-edits not just entry length http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requested_articles


2 assignments:


1)    work on a featured author’s page: 10 edits; 500 words (or a section); 1-2 reputable sources: present your work to-date when that author is discussed; due April 25 (“general improvement of the article to reflect sourcing standards on Wikipedia and neutral point of view” and make grading include both the inclusion and deletion of information as well as the tone of the writing. The students should be deleting information that is not sourced – that is just as important as adding what is sourced.)

2)    follow a topical discussion related to your theme: follow talk page, post at least 10 times on talk page (and/or article) in relation to feminism and technology

3)    write 2-3 page reflection paper on your wiki work: due April 25


2. Keyword Videos:

First one is ungraded; second one is your mid-term, due March 28


An “A” video has a clear argument that thoughtfully and explicitly links one of the themes to larger issues raised in the readings, and other course materials. Technical polish is not necessary, but your videomaking should not hinder our comprehension of your argument. The quality of your prose, images, and ideas will also be considered.


3. Craft Project: DIY object around one of 10 themes: alone or in groups, first draft is due on the day of theme, to be presented and discussed (live at Pitzer and digital presentation by BGSU)


As a final project on May 2, you will swap your object with other class participants.


All students working on the same theme need to present their objects TOGETHER on the day of the swap, on whatever platform they choose.


An “A” object expresses an understanding or argument about your theme that thoughtfully and explicitly links to larger issues raised in the readings, and other course materials. Technical or artistic polish is not necessary, but your lack of skills should not hinder our comprehension of your object. The quality of your object’s construction and ideas will also be considered.


Learning Outcomes

Students are asked to investigate, connect, write, present, participate, and lead proficiently. From these overall learning outcomes, you will meet the specific objectives of this course detailed below.


You will:

  • Investigate the interplay of technology and everyday materiality, and its relationship with American culture and Globalization. Through this investigation, you will become critical consumers of media and sensitive and articulate global communicators, with an awareness of how intersections of race, gender, class and culture shape the use and production of technologies world-wide.
  • Connect theory and practice of feminism along the key themes presented in this class. You will also connect with the world by communicating and collaborating in research with other students on current concerns about feminism and technology. Through this connection, you will relate one’s self and culture to diverse cultures.
  • Learn to edit the Wikkipedia and understand the culture of the Wikkipedia in relation to gendered hierarchies. Thus you will acquire hands-on applied skills.
  • Learn to make keyword videos using easily available digital tools (or apps) of your choice. Once again learning hands-on applied skills through doing class work.
  • Virtually present your written work and ideas to the classes involved in this collaboration.
  • Learn to work in virtual collaborative teams. Skills very necessary to the effective function of global organizations in present day American economic conditions.
  • Participate actively and with sophistication in class through the use of social media and other online tools.
  • Lead discussions through online communication with your peers. You will lead learning in the course by suggesting engaging, innovative and meaningful discussion topics. You will lead by contributing to the discussions suggested by other.


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