Session 3: Technological infrastructures
Topic outline & prep infos
- Sat, 11 May 2019, 11:00–16:00
- HS 11
In this session we will take a closer look on technology and technological infrastructures and how gender and other social factors figure in all of that. As entry point for our discussions we use a topic that gains increasing attention within science and society: the power of algorithms (and those who make them). In a broader sense we will discuss how different perspectives on life and society influence our understanding and interactions (with each other and with machines). A central question is how the design of technologies is in turn influenced by the desire to mediate our interactions.
We will then take a closer look on how gender and technology are in certain kind co-produced - they can reinforce each other, but they also have the ability to change each other. This could be seen as a leverage point in hacking gender and hacking technology. But even the acts, arts and performances of hacking are often highly gendered.
- read: Introduction. In: Safiya Umoja Noble: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. pp. 1-14. NYU Press. 2018.
- read: Yonatan Zunger: So, about this Googler’s manifesto. https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788
- If you have not heard of the “Google Manifesto” incident before, you might want to read Motherboard’s “Google Employee's Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes 'Internally Viral'” for some context first: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzbm4a/employees-anti-diversity-manifesto-goes-internally-viral-at-google
- find one gendered technological artifact and one non-gendered technological artifact which you can bring to the seminar. Think about how and why they are (not) gendered and if/how we could use it in a way that subverts its (non-)gendered inscriptions.
Guiding questions for the required preparation:
- How are specific perspectives embedded in algorithms and systems of artificial intelligence?
- What consequences are there for everyone as willing (or unwilling) users of search engines and other ubiquitous technological infrastructures?
- Are there similar ways of how power is embedded in other technological artefacts or in scientific knowledge as it is in this example of AI and algorithms?
- How neutral and objective can technological artefacts and infrastructures be? Is there a difference to how neutral and objective scientific knowledge can be?
Suggestions for peer teaching
- Feminist epistemologies:
- Collins, P. H. (1989). The Social Construction of Black Feminist Thought. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 14(4), 745–773. https://doi.org/10.1086/494543
- Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspectives. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575–599. (also available as: Haraway, D. (2001). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspectives. In M. Lederman & I. Bartsch (Eds.), The gender and science reader (pp. 169–188). Routledge.)
- Harding, S. (2001). Feminist Standpoint Epistemology. In M. Lederman & I. Bartsch (Eds.), The Gender and Science Reader, (pp. 145–68). Routledge.
- Inscriptions of masculinity and patriarchy into technology
- Isn’t science and technology a neutral thing? Doesn’t it just depend on how we use it? Or are concepts and tools of technoscience already tailored towards a certain framing of the world and the relations within? How masculine and patriarchal is technology and could it be otherwise?
- Green, E. (2001). Virtual Gender: Technology, Consumption, and Identity. Routledge.
- Linda Stepulevage: Becoming a technologist: days in a girl’s life. 63-83
- Maria Lohan: Men, masculinities and ‘mundane’ technologies: the domestic telephone. 189-206
- Lie, M., & Corneliussen, H. (2003). He, She and IT Revisited: New Perspectives on Gender in the Information Society. Gyldendal.
- Helen Jøsok Gansmo, Vivian A. Lagesen, Knut H. Sørensen: Forget the hacker? A critical re-appraisal of Norwegian studies of gender and ICT. 34-68
- Tova Håpnes, Bente Rasmussen: Gendering Technology. Young girls negotiating ICT and gender. 173-197
- Wajcman, J. (2004). TechnoFeminism. Cambridge: Polity Press.
- Wajcman, J. (2007). From women and technology to gendered technoscience. Information Communication and Society, 10(3), 287–298.
- Gender and sex (re)inscribed into bodies and (modern) medical theories and practices
- How much has gender to do with our bodies and our understanding of bodies? Is there such a thing as a “biological sex” and if so, how does it figure? What influence have personal backgrounds of scientists on how models of sex and gender are created?
- Schiebinger, L. (1986). Skeletons in the Closet: The First Illustrations of the Female Skeleton in Eighteenth-Century Anatomy. Representations, (14), 42–82. https://doi.org/10.2307/2928435
- Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). The five sexes, revisited. The Sciences, 40(4), 18–23. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2326-1951.2000.tb03504.x
- Schmitz, S. (2004). Wie kommt das Geschlecht ins Gehirn? Über den Geschlechterdeterminismus in der Hirnforschung und Ansätze zu seiner Dekonstruktion. Forum Wissenschaft, 4/2004, n/a. Online: http://www.bdwi.de/forum/archiv/archiv/97754.html (2012-08-28).
- Gendered educational systems as technological replication infrastructure
- What part plays education in fostering/abolitioning genderd stereotypes of technology and technologists? Is it really the case that girls* and women* are just not as interest in technology as boys* and men* and therefore we have to live with the current gender ratio in tech?
- Margolis, J., & Fisher, A. (2002). Unlocking the Clubhouse. Women in Computing. Cambridge/London: The MIT Press.
- Wächter, C. (2003). Technik-Bildung und Geschlecht. Profil Verlag.
- Knoll, B., & Ratzer, B. (2010). Gender Studies in den Ingenieurwissenschaften (1., Auflage). Facultas Universitätsverlag.