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Week Seven (Mon, 2/28): Paneling Gender and Technology through Time and Space: Historically, Geographically....


reminder of free event @ Bryn Mawr Film Institute
this Wednesday @ 7:30: Top Secret 'Rosies':
The Female 'Computers' of World War II

I. Preparing
If you are on the panel today
, please
* locate yourself on the space-time grid on the board
* make your identifying "tent," and
* seat yourselves w/ your "litter mates" 
(those whose work most resembles yours);
compare notes for a few minutes.

(Those in the audience: try to make sense of the board;
write down your questions for the panelists....)

II. coursekeeping
an extra notetaker assigned for today
(because there will be much more "surprising" content,
and we want to capture it all!): aybala, kgould, Franklin20
but Franklin 20 is performing, so I'm mixing this up:
today's notetakers are aybala, kgould and merlin
(Franklin 20 will be taking notes on Wednesday, along w/ oak and cara--okay?)

today's panel is made up of historical figures;
on Wednesday we'll have another one composed of imaginary figures
(and ask, among other things, whether gender, information, science & technology
look any different--and if so, how different--in the world of the
imagination than they look in past and present meatspace)

By midnight Friday, your second web "event" is due, stepping off from your panel presentation: theorizing about the life you've performed, through the lens of one of the authors we've read; and/or expanding out from it--> be a performance artist, then make a video (riki); be a computer scientist--> then write some code that is "hidden," or must be "decoded" (rubikscube); be a digital humanist--> then revise the HC jr seminar or BMC senior seminar to accommodate this paradigm shift (vgaffney)

A reminder that you must post 4-pp. projects on only three of the four due dates; if you choose not to do a project this week, then please post on-line about the intersection of individual practices you noticed in the panel discussions.

By this Friday, the end of our 7th week,
you should have made 5 postings and put up 2 papers
(or 6 postings and 1 paper...); you can "track" yourself to check

ALSO! VERY IMPORTANT! By the time you return from break (5 p.m. on Sun, Mar. 13): Post on-line a mid-semester course evaluation that looks both backwards and forward.

LOOKING BACKWARDS: What's working, and what needs working on, for you as an individual? What's working, and what needs working on, for us as a group (on-line, in class, in conversation and on the panels)?
What are you learning individually? What are we learning collectively? Where are the edges of y/our learning now? What dimensions of gender, information, science and technology have we not yet explored?

LOOKING FORWARD: What books or films can you suggest, which we could use to learn more about these unexplored terrains?
(We'll make both these questions "sticky @ the top" of the forum, so that you can find them easily.)

For Mon, Mar. 14, please also read Banu Subramaniam, "Moored Metamorphoses: A Retrospective Essay on Feminist Science Studies." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 34, 3 (2009) : 951-978 (in the password-protected file).

We'll take that first class, when we return, both to evaluate ourselves and to locate ourselves, in the emerging field of feminist science studies that Subramaniam describes: What are we doing in relation to the field as a whole? What are the edges of our learning? Where shall we go from here?

II. Introducing our first panel of 15 historical figures,
each w/ a single sentence

Monday's Panel: 
historical people
UPCOMING ON Wednesday: imaginary figures!
MSA322: a  middle eastern father and religious man m.aghazarian:
Batwoman Kate Kane
smile: Islamic scholar
Ibn Sina (Avicenna)
kgould: Major Motoko
Kusanagi from
Ghost in the Shell
phreNic: philosopher
Simone de Beauvoir
shin1068111: Dr. Robert
Ray from 91020
tangerines: author
Mary Shelley
Apocalipsis: Wolverine
from X-Men
ekthorp: pilot
Amelia Earhart
J.Yoo: The Question,
alter ego Renee Montoya
fawei: astronaut
Christa McAuliffe
kelliott: the Replicant
"Pris" from Blade Runner
Oak: computer scientist
Grace Hopper
jlebouvier: Stewey Griffin
from Family Guy
cara: computer scientist
Grace Hopper
aybala50: Arthur Weasley,
wizard from Harry Potter
spreston: birth control
activist Margaret Sanger
rubikscube: Agent Astrid
Farnsworth from the "Fringe"
Hilary G: sociologist, economist, pacifist
Emily Balch
MissArcher2: Dr. Walter
Bishop from the "Fringe"
leamirella: president of the Philippines Corazon Aquino merlin: icon Rosie the Riveter

TiffanyE: U.S. First
Lady Michelle Obama

vgaffney: IBM computer
winner Watson

Hilary B: Czech director
Vera Chytilova

Riki: performance artist
Marina Abramovic

Franklin 20: celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz

Marina: performance artist
Jess Dobkin


We asked you to come today ready to say
* what role gender plays in "your" life
* what role science and technology play
* how these things intersect.

We asked, too, what language you use
* to talk about “gender” and “technology”:
* did "you" use these words, or other ones?
* for example: how did "you" understand the
difference between “natural” and “artificial”?

How would you respond to some of the language we use
in this class for talking about the relations between G&T?
(for example, in Haraway’s terms, how much of a breakdown
was there in your life/age between the three “leaky distinctions”
of human-animal, organism-machine, physical-non-physical?
In Hayles' terms, how did you "read" information?
How did you  "think" about-and-with it?)

What we actually have now are some more interesting (and pointed!)
versions of these questions, supplied by this weekend's forum postings.
For example, and for starters:

* m.aghazarian's posted that her group talked about
visually mapping the dates in Conceiving Ada-->
looking @ our space-time grid:
where and when are our panelists from?
What's missing in this picture?

* as per tangerines, smile and vgaffney: 
what happens when you "follow the data streams"?

* cf. rubikscube, Oak, shin1068111: no clear data stream, yet all connected

*  cf. fawai: By the end of the class I kind of gathered that the learners were still allowed to be critical or symptomatic thinkers, it was just the teachers/information distributors were not supposed to be

* HilaryB's idea: I think what people usually do is create some meaning for a text and then look for proof of that meaning they created rather than just looking at and playing around with raw data first.

* cf. also phreNic's reflection: Each new form of communication comes with the promise of less filtering through experts and greater access to aggregate data and facts.... But ultimately, to sift through the amount of information, to make meaning of it, we must rely on new filters.

What other identity markers might we use to represent
the relations among our guests? What other information
would it be useful to have? (Represented in what form?)

* last week, Franklin20, leamirella, Hilary G's group talked about
the status of women in science, so this next question is "from" them:
was gender an obstacle or an agent for you?
was your work (a la Hayles) "critique or creation"?

* cf. jebouvier on the film: Both main females were very strong in their relationships with men, yet often controlled by the women in their lives (generally their mothers).  They were a bit too strong ... over confident of their abilities... too cocky.

* cf. ekthorp on whether there is currently sex equality in science...
does society create our gender constructions?

* cf. Apo on Ada: some of us believed she was exchanging sex for knowledge, some of us also believed she was using it as an exchange of power and liberation (how did sexuality function in your life? what was its relationship to your work??)

* HilaryB's group would have students make their own movie scenes;
stepping off from that: what would a movie of your life look like?
what themes would it highlight? what information would it convey?

* MSA322: to what extent has technology "become an extension of you"?

* stepping off from PhreNic, cara, J.Yoo's discussion: what would you say to the idea that human bodies are mediums, or storage for data? could that be an accurate description of your life experience?

* Hilary G:When I think of historical and contemporary examples of technology that have significantly impacted the human race... I noticed an interesting pattern. Most of these “pieces” of technology somehow directly relate to the idea of communication. Human beings are social creatures, and ...improving communication, in its various forms, seems to be one of the most important motivations behind developing new technologies (true or false for your life??)

* shin1068111: technology has increased available resources to humans (agree/disagree?)

Class notes by aybala, kgould and merlin