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Class Notes

Panel: Historical Figures

Does gender, science, technology etc. look any different for imaginary figures (for Wednesday)…creations of the imagination

Course keeping (/exchange/courses/GIST/s11/coursenotes/12)

15 historical figures attending class

Michelle Obama: Wife of the president

Corazon Aquino: First women president in Asia

Christa McAuliffe: teacher/astronaut

Amelia Earhart: First women to cross the Atlantic solo

Mary Shelley: Author of Frankenstein

Simone DeBeauvior: Author/existentialist phil.

Emily Balch: Nobel peace prize/BMC Alum

Margaret Sanger: American bc activist

GraceHopper (2): Mathematician worked on some of the first computers

Mike Ruiz: Celebrity photographer

Sam Agha: middle eastern father in the UK

Ibn Sina: most imp. Doctor in the 10th century

Where and when are our panelists from?
How representative is this panel of the history of gender and tech. in the world?

-Mostly the panelists are residents of the US
 Why? That’s the way history was written? Or we are taught this way as what is     important….maybe it’s most present in our memory.

What else does the data stream on the board tell us?
- It’s a reflection of our attitudes, experiences, and what we have been exposed to, because we are in the US. When we think of technology it is generally associated with a certain time period.

HillaryB’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.

What other identity markers exists amongst our panelists?
- Maybe the specialty of a panelist? (Earhart)
    Can we put this info in data form? If so would it be a spectrum?
    (2 politicians, 2 writers, 2 activists, a father, a scholar…)

Each guest request an oval/circle/point

























(We are missing a lot from the Private sphere)

Was gender an obstacle or an agent for you? Was your work an obstacle or an agent in your creation?

Corazon Aquino: My gender was an obstacle. When I decided to run for president, I was reluctant, because I had no proper training, I was a house-wife before this. My opponent told me that I was just a woman and that I belonged in the bedroom. I told him “may the better woman win this election”….I was seen as just a woman, just as the wife of the now dead senator.

Emily Balch: I went to BMC, was in the first graduating class. After studying with women for so long, I ended up working with women who drove me to pursue a career with the sciences. I feel like being a woman empowered me to pursue these goals, like I had a reason to.

Margaret Sanger: If I weren’t a women I wouldn’t have felt like I was stuck in the situation that I was in…I wouldn’t have made the effort that I did.

Earhart: I am in the line between creator and critique…I was a creator but didn’t create anything tangible…but I also wasn’t a critic

Aquino: How do you define creation?


Mary Shelley: My mother died when I was 11 days old…but she was a feminist theorists…her opinion was that women need to be educated and need to explore their abilities to be equal to men. Sooo….I was educated in a rather unorthodox way, interacting with politicians and thinkers…which didn’t cause me to be over confident, just expand my horizons.

Grace Hopper: I had a very strong personality…(“A ship in port is always safe, but that’s not what a ship is for”) I was always trying new things…I think before I proved myself, the first thing my boss said to me was “where the hell have you been”…after I was able to finish the first task, he accepted me.

Ibn: Gender played a huge role, most philosophers, thinkers were men

Earhart: I was caucious in my involvement with men…the man I married proposed to be 6 times before I accepted

Simone: I had a life long relationship with a philosopher…we were partners in many ways, and when it came to sex we were very open. We were polygamous…we never married…we didn’t need to marry and be restricted by society

Hopper: I got divorced a couple of years after I got married…

Aquino: Amelia mentioned how it is easy to get stuck in the rut, but the only reason I came into power is because my husband got shot, and I had worked closely with him…which is why I was forced into running for president…

Mary: I believed in free love…which means you shouldn’t mary! It puts you in a box…but I was married…and upset whenever he took off with another women. Being married to him was a source of hardship for me, but helped me channel emotions into my work.

What would a movie of your life look like?

Sam Agha: it would be a balanced life…like there would be a struggle to balance the continous improvement of tech. and keeping traditions and religion…An image? Opening shot?

Obama: The movie I would make would be different from what anyone else would make…because my life to the public is known after I became the wife of a president…for me it starts when I am 6 and identified as gifted…as a woman of color in a working class family I struggled to graduate from hs and go on to a prestigious college…

(From Previous Week) 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??)

Emily: Methods of communication, like phones and cars and even ipods, they all seem to be methods of communication…they take you somewhere…

Simone: To me tech. and science means industrialization…it’s more about money and social status than it is about communication…as far as this opportunity to make women more independent…we just used the new technology to do the same thing

Amelia: I think a lot of what aviation was for me was finding the freedom in the air…the air doesn’t care what gender you are…flying doesn’t care.

To what extent has technology become an extension of you?

Grace: I think in the beginning computers were very separated from humans…but I saw an ability for them to do more…we were able to communicate with computers…they’ve advanced a lot but they will do more.

(2) I wanted people to use computers more intuitively

Crista: Technology became part of me because I only got media recognition when I was associated with space travel

Amelia: Yeah…both of us died because of our technology

Mike: My camera was an extension of me, but only to a certain extent. What you see through a camera is different from what you actually see…maybe not an extension…a different version?

Is there anyone of you who did not see technology as an extension of you?

Aquino: I think that I’m separate from the technology that was used at my time. The people used the technology, I didn’t…I really think that there is a distinction between the two. Also, I was very Catholic…I distinguished between my own spiritual life and politics.

What about religion?

Sam: I think that religion has a very strong opinion towards gender, more so than technology…In the Middle East a lot of extremer’s would not allow their kids to have access to so many websites, because they are afraid of their kids becoming too open minded and in turn question their traditions…

What role did technology and gender play in your life?

Emily: Without tech. I would never have been able to get my ideals out in the open…partially because I was a women…If they didn’t look at my name they would just read what I was saying instead of judging it as women’s words.


Mike: Gender wasn’t really an obstacle in my career…when you see the photograph, you don’t see the photographer

Amelia: Gender helped me….as the first woman to do all the things I did, I was more distinct, more special, more noticed


Crista: I was supposed to go into space...the first civilian…but the space shuttle broke apart a few seconds after it launched and I died (1986)

Amelia: No one really knows what happened to me…by now I’m probably dead…I attempted to be the first woman to fly around the world solo…there was a series of island hoppings…I left one of the islands…and disappeared… No one knows what happened. (1937)

Corazon: I died in 2009…like old people do…At the time I was campaigning for my only son to become President

Ibn: I died 1021…I was over 80..I read all of my life, didn’t have children, I had a natural death

Grace: I died of old age…86?..and I died the highest ranking woman in the navy (I’m buried in Arlington)

Margaret: I died in 81 of old age…just after the use of contraceptives became consitutional

Emily: Died at the age of 94…in 1961..and I died a natural death

Simone: I was 78, but even though I had some fame for my non-fiction, I died before I got a lot of recognition as a philosopher

Mary: I died of illness, 3 of my 4 children died in childhood…when I died I was best known for being my husbands wife (which would have pissed me off if I had been alive)




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