Dialogues In Feminism

Dialogues in Feminism, Technology, and Culture:  A Distributed Open Collaborative Course

Technology is becoming more pervasive and ubiquitous globally, but the number of female students in STEM fields has remained low, even declined at many universities. Ideas about technology and corresponding practices generated from a feminist point of view are therefore becoming only more relevant. Since the mid 1990s, feminist scholars, artists and designers interested in technology have spent a lot of time and energy in developing methods for inclusive and open access teaching. One recent example of this process is FemTechNet, which comprises almost twenty research universities and art schools in the US and Canada. A collaboration between faculty members from two different colleges, this initiative will enable to bring a FemTechNet course to the University of Michigan. Offered in the Fall of 2014 by the Stamps School of Art & Design and College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, this class will engage students in ongoing debates about feminism, technology, and culture by becoming active participants in the creation of global digital archives.

Videotaped student-lead dialogue sessions with invited speakers are a major part of the course and will contribute to open online FemTechNet content that builds on an academic resource for feminist studies of technology and culture. Students will learn from the interactive experience of not just reading and answering questions, or communicating within our class community, but by being directly exposed to wider national scholarly community on this topic and encouraged to create their own content through Wikipedia editing, online video production, game-making, and vernacular animation practices like BitStrips and Extranormal. Our larger goal is to coalesce students, especially female students in the humanities, art & design, to become more engaged with technology and STEM fields through critical feminist lens, and to explore the possibilities and limits of interactive distributed pedagogy at Michigan.

Project Team:

Lisa Nakamura, Professor of American Culture and Screen Arts, College of Literature, Science and the Arts

Irina Aristarkhova, Associate Professor of Art & Design, Stamps School of Art and Design