Type the phrase “why do men” or “why do women” into Google and the search engine’s auto-suggest feature will list the most common queries beginning with those three words. The results are at once comical and disturbing, opening a window into the world where gender, culture, and algorithms meet. This class is about those intersections.
The representation of men and women in digital media—whether in Google search results or the latest blockbuster video game—is only the starting point for our exploration of the relationship between gender and technology in the digital age. We will go beyond questions of representation in order to consider the countless ways modern technology shapes our attitudes toward and experiences of sex, power, play, and work, and even the way digital technology shapes our bodies. Indeed, the figure of the cyborg will animate much of our discussion throughout the semester. We’ll also look at social media, queer gaming, and feminism and protest in digital spaces. Finally, the intersections of gender with race and class dynamics will also be an ongoing concern.
Upon completion of DIG 340, students will be able to:
- Critique representations of women and technology using historical and social evidence
- Analyze gendered associations of various forms of technologies
- Design a social media campaign for a justice, equality, and community-related issue
- Evaluate assumptions about disability, race, class, gender, sexual orientation and identification embedded in social media platforms and algorithms
- Subvert a contemporary cultural artifact in order to highlight the relationship between power, gender, and technology
- Map a digital space using feminist theories or representation, power, and agency