GIST: Spring 2011

Welcome to "GIST":
An Exploration of Gender,
Information, Science and Technology

Computer Science/English/Gender & Sexuality 257
with Anne Dalke and Elizabeth McCormack

Bryn Mawr College,
Spring 2011, MW 2:30-4, Dalton 212A

Go to our on-line discussion board
Explore our
Web "Events" # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Read talking notes by Anne and Liz
Check out our Photos
and varied forms of Information

"This ... is about entanglements. To be entangled is not simply to be intertwined with another, as in the joining of separate entities, but to lack an independent, self-contained existence. Existence is not an individual affair .... individuals emerge through and as part of their entangled intra-relating" (Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway).

In this course, we will draw on our own experiences, historical case studies and various theoretical and imaginative explorations, in order to unpack our commonsensical understandings of gender, information, science and technology--and of their intra-actions. We will also be contributing to the scholarship in this area, by posting weekly on the world wide web and putting our longer papers and multi-media projects on-line. Because students from a variety of disciplines are taking this course, we encourage projects that make sense for, and will expand on and develop, the range of individual interests students will bring to the course.

Instructions for Weekly Postings
Help for authors on Serendip
on-line projects are due on THREE of these four dates: 2/11, 3/4, 4/1, 4/22
(for additional possibilities/inspiration, also check out
On Beyond Webpapers,
the
EdTech Data Base,  and the evolving list of Humanities Tech Tools)
Writing Groups (the second set)

Checklist of Course Requirements

Syllaship (because a bus isn't big enough)
Week One
Wed, Jan. 19:
Introducing Ourselves, Gathering Information
(when did we first feel gendered? when have we felt like scientists?), exploring the concept of co-constructed dialogue, and planning for the semester

By midnight on Fri, Jan 21: introduce yourself on the course website by describing your relationship to a particular technology that has been important to your development  (the clock, the bicycle, the piano, the personal computer, the cell phone...?). How have your interactions with this tool enabled you to do things you otherwise could not have done (possibly as easily, efficiently, or at all)? What are the limitations/constraints/drawbacks of this technology in your life? What new technologies have you not tried? Why not? Would you be interested in experimenting w/ them during this course?

SECTION ONE -- THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF GENDER:
MAKING AND RE-MAKING OURSELVES

Week Two
Mon, Jan. 24:
Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the late Twentieth Century." Simians, Cyborgs and Women. Routledge, 1991. 149-182 (this text, like many of the class readings, is available in a password-protected file @ http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/~adalke/gender ).

Lykke, Nina, Randi Markussen, and Finn Olesen. "There are Always More Things Going On than You Thought!" Methodologies as Thinking Technologies: Interview with Donna Haraway. Bits of Life: Feminism at the Intersections of Media, Bioscience, and Technology. University of Washington Press, 2008. 32-41 (available in the password-protected file).

Wed, Jan. 26: Andy Clark, Introduction: "The Naked Cyborg" and Chapter 5: "What Are We?" Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. Oxford, 2003. 3-11, 115-142 (
in the password-protected file).

By midnight on Fri, Jan 28: Offer a contemporary example or two to think "along with" or "against" Haraway's "leaky distinctions" or Clark's "scaffolding." What evidence can you offer to support or challenge their claims?

Week Three
Mon, Jan. 31 and Wed, Feb. 2: the science of gender diversity

Joan Roughgarden. Introduction and Part One: "Animal Rainbows." Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. 1-181 (purchase book).

By midnight on Fri, Feb. 4: post information on-line about historical or contemporary examples of gender diversity.

This coming week, meet with your writing adviser to discuss your first on-line "event."


Week Four
Mon, Feb. 7: the technologies of enhancing gender identity

Elaine Sciolino and Souad Mekhennet. “In Europe, Debate Over Islam and Virginity.” The New York Times. June 11, 2008.

Dull, Diana and Candace West. “Accounting for Cosmetic Surgery: The Accomplishment of Gender.” Social Problems, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1991): 54-70 (
(link is to JSTOR copy–if you’re off-campus, you’ll need to log in to the library)

Victoria Bañales. “The Face Value of Dreams”: Gender, Race, Class, and the Politics of Cosmetic Surgery.” Beyond the Frame: Women of Color and Visual Representation. Ed. Neferti X.M. Tadiar and Angela Y. Davis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 131-152 (in the password-protected file).

Wed, Feb. 9: the technologies of altering gender identity
Erik Parens. “Thinking about Surgically Shaping Children.” Surgically Shaping Children: Technology, Ethics, and the Pursuit of Normality. Johns Hopkins, 2006. xiii-xxx
(in the password-protected file).

Bernice Hausman. “Introduction: Transsexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender” and “Epilogue.” Changing Sex: Transsexualism, Technology and the Idea of Gender. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University, 1995. 1-19, 195-200
(in the password-protected file).

Sherry Turkle. “Tinysex and Gender Trouble.” Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Simon and Schuster, 1995. 210-232
(in the password-protected file).

By midnight on Fri, Feb. 11: post on-line a 4-pp. project or multi-media "event," exploring ways in which science and technology have been used to construct, de-construct and/or re-construct gender (see instructions on preparing and posting papers; for additional possibilities and inspiration, also check out On Beyond Webpapers, the EdTech Data Base, and the evolving list of Humanities Tech Tools).

You must post 4-pp. projects on three of the four due dates; if you choose not to do a project this week, then please post, instead, information on-line about
historical or contemporary means of enhancing or altering gender identity.

SECTION TWO -- THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
OF INFORMATION: REPRESENTING THE WORLD

Week Five
Mon, Feb. 14:
Katherine Rowe, "What is Information? Comparing Our Conceptual Maps and Investments."  Brown Bag Lunch on "Information, Meaning and Noise: What's the Difference?" January 29, 2004.

Paul Grobstein,
"Information Update: Searching for the Third Law." Brown Bag Lunch Series on "Information, Meaning and Noise: What's the Difference?" April 29, 2004.


Wed, Feb. 16:
Katherine Hayles, "How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine" (an essay from a book forthcoming; available in the password-protected file).

By midnight on Fri, Feb. 18: post information on-line about historical or contemporary forms of information.

Week Six
Mon, Feb. 21:
Katherine Hayles, "How We Think: Transforming Power and Digital Technologies"  (another essay from the same book, forthcoming; available in the password-protected file).

Wed, Feb. 23: Conceiving Ada, dir. Lynn Hershman Leeson. Fox Lorber/WinStar TV&Video, 1999 (85 minutes).

By midnight on Fri, Feb. 25: post information on-line about the historical or contemporary difference(s) technology makes.

Week Seven
Mon, Feb. 28-Wed. Mar. 2:
Panel discussions ("from the inside") about individual practices we have not yet explored together. Come to class prepared to "speak as" an individual whose life or work circumstances shaped, or were impacted by, an interesting intra-action of gender, information, science and/or technology.

By midnight on Fri, Mar. 4: post on-line a 4-pp. project or multi-media "event." Drawing on one of the texts we have discussed together (or, with our approval, on another text you've located), theorize about the experiences you presented on the panel (see instructions on preparing and posting papers; for additional possibilities and inspiration, also check out On Beyond Webpapers, the EdTech Data Base, and the evolving list of Humanities Tech Tools).

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


Spring Break: Fri, Mar. 4-Sun, Mar. 13

By 5 p.m. on Sun, Mar. 13: Post on-line a mid-semester course evaluation that looks both backwards and forward: 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? What books or films can you suggest, which we could use to learn more about these unexplored terrains?

SECTION THREE -- "MOORED METAMORPHOSES": THE INTRA-
ACTION OF GENDER, INFORMATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Week Eight
Mon, Mar. 14:
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).

Evaluating ourselves evaluating ourselves: Where are we locating ourselves, in this emerging
field of feminist science studies? What are the edges of our learning? Where to go from here?

Wed, Mar. 16:
Karen Barad, Preface and Introduction ("The Science and Ethics of Mattering"). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke University Press, 2007 (in the password-protected file).

By midnight on Fri, Mar. 18: post on-line reflections on y/our location in the field of feminist science studies.

Week Nine
Mon, Mar. 21:
Karen Barad, Chapter 7 ("Quantum Entanglements: Experimental Metaphysics and the Nature of Nature," esp. 331-352). Meeting the Universe Halfway (in the password-protected file).

Wed, Mar. 23: Visit from Tian Hui Ng, Interim Director of the Choral and Voice Studies Program @ Haverford, exploring information (chorale scores, lyrics, notes) as "paintings of word art"

By midnight on Fri, Mar. 25: post on-line reflections about the possible intra-actions of scientific and humanistic perspectives.

Week Ten
Mon, Mar. 28-Wed, Mar. 30: Panel discussions ("from the outside") about collective practices we have not yet explored together. Come to class prepared to "speak for" a group whose lives or work circumstances shaped, or were impacted by, an interesting intra-action of gender, information, science and/or technology.

By midnight on Fri, Apr. 1: post on-line a 4-pp. project or multi-media "event." Drawing on one of the texts we have discussed together (or, with our approval, on another text you've located), theorize about the collective experiences you presented on (or learned about from) the panel (see instructions on preparing and posting papers; for additional possibilities and inspiration, also check out On Beyond Webpapers, the EdTech Data Base, and the evolving list of Humanities Tech Tools).

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


SECTION FOUR -- CREATIVE COLLABORATIONS IN
GENDER, INFORMATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Week Eleven
Mon, Apr. 4-Wed, Apr. 6:
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. 1816-1817; rpt. Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2008 (purchase book).

By midnight on Fri, Apr. 8: post on-line reflections about the contribution of Shelley's tale to our explorations of gender, information, science and/or technology.

 

Week Twelve
Mon, Apr. 11: Michael Chorost. Prologue, Chapter 1 and Chapter 11. World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet. Free Press, 2011 (in the password-protected file).

Wed. Apr. 13: Teknolust, dir. Lynn Hershman Leeson. Blue Turtle/Epiphany Entertainment/Hotwire Productions/ZDF. 2003 (100 minutes)--on library reserve in Canaday.

By midnight on Fri, Apr. 15: post on-line reflections about the contribution of Frankenstein's textual daughters to our explorations of gender, information, science and/or technology.

Week Thirteen
Mon, Apr. 18: Octavia Butler. "Bloodchild." Bloodchild and Other Stories. Seven Stories Press, 2003 (also available in the password-protected file).

Wed, Apr. 20: Tron: Legacy, dir. Joseph Kosinski. Walt Disney Pictures, 2010 (125 minutes).

By midnight on Fri, Apr. 22: post on-line a 4-pp. project or multi-media "event," representing a contemporary creative presentation of information about gender, science and technology. Consider doing a collaborative project (see instructions on preparing and posting papers; for additional possibilities and inspiration, also check out On Beyond Webpapers, the EdTech Data Base, and the evolving list of Humanities Tech Tools).

You must post 4-pp. projects on three of the four due dates; if you choose not to do a project this week, then please post, instead, your on-line
reflections about the contribution of Frankenstein's filmic daughters to our explorations of gender, information, science and/or technology.

This coming week, meet with your (other) writing adviser to discuss your final on-line "event" and portfolio.

Week Fourteen
Mon, Apr. 25:
Cory Doctorow. “Anda’s Game.” Dangerous Games. Ed. Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois. Ace Books, 2007. p. 23-57 (in the password-protected file; this is a take-off from Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game," Analog, August 1977).

Wed, Apr. 27: Final Performances--> in spontaneously formed emergent groups of four or so students, prepare ten minute presentations reflecting on y/our experiences over the semester. Use the presentations to encourage, in a provocative and entertaining way, further story development on the part of others in the class.

By midnight on Fri, Apr. 29: post on-line reflections about the contribution of game-playing cultures to our explorations of gender, information, science and/or technology.

By 5 p.m. on Sat, May 7 (for seniors) and by noon on Fri, May 13 (all others):

Portfolio and final 12-pp. project or multi-media "event" due, intra-acting with gender, information, science and technology
(for inspiration, check out On Beyond Webpapers, the EdTech Data Base, and the evolving list of Humanities Tech Tools).