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Week Seven (Wed, 3/2): Paneling Gender and Technology through Existentialism


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

Today's notetakers are Franklin 20,  Oak and cara

I. Preparing: If you are on the panel today, please

* make your identifying "tent," and
* seat yourselves, compare notes for a few minutes with your neighbors.

Those in the audience:
write down 3 questions for the panelists.

II. coursekeeping

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.

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.

Also 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

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. today's panel is made up of fictional characters;
on Monday we had another one composed of historical figures
(and we will 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)


Monday's Panel: 
historical people
Wednesday's Panel: 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
is there in your existence 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 happens in the imaginary world to these concepts categories and exchanges?

From the Forum this week:

merlin: not only does instruction change the structure of our brains, but merely IMAGINING an event ALSO changes the structure of our brains! This made me think of the virtual world, especially the world of video games and online communities.... But do they have as much of an effect on our growth and development as if we were interacting with the world around us? I think this is an important area to think about in terms of child development and how much time little kids today spend online and with their cell phones.

vgaffney: I do think that the humanities—English in particular and philosophy—should be primarily based in the text...the abilities to close read and think critically and creatively about the text

kelliott: "a computer is nothing but a means for a memory to get from one state to another"






III. Let's now hear from our guests...

I am ......

and I exist in ...... 

I care about ..... 

I exist to......





IV. What existential chart

could we create for this panel?



V. Your questions?  From the audience, from each other?



Our question:

Does gender, information, science & technology
look any different--and if so, how?--in the world of the
imagination than they look in the past and present meat-space?

What looks the same?

Class notes by Franklin 20, Oak and cara