About DIG 340

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, women, trans, and non-binary people 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.

Learning Outcomes

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 an interactive narrative vignette that enacts and reflects upon some intersection of gender and technology
  • 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

Inclusive learning

I am committed to the principle of inclusive learning. This means that our classroom, our virtual spaces, our practices, and our interactions be as inclusive as possible. Mutual respect, civility, and the ability to listen and observe others carefully are crucial to inclusive learning.

Accessibility and Disability

The college welcomes requests for accommodations related to disability and will grant those that are determined to be reasonable and maintain the integrity of a program or curriculum. To make such a request or to begin a conversation about a possible request, please contact the Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources, which is located in the Center for Teaching and Learning in the E.H. Little Library: Beth Bleil, Director, bebleil@davidson.edu, 704-894-2129; or Alysen Beaty, Assistant Director, albeaty@davidson.edu, 704-894-2939. It is best to submit accommodation requests within the drop/add period; however, requests can be made at any time in the semester. Please keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive

Academic Integrity

Students at Davidson College abide by an Honor Code. The principle of academic integrity is taken very seriously and violations are treated gravely. What does academic integrity mean in this course? Essentially this: when you are responsible for a task, you will perform that task. When you rely on someone else’s work in an aspect of the performance of that task, you will give full credit in the proper, accepted form.

Another aspect of academic integrity is the free play of ideas. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions. When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification.

Classroom Courtesy

While this course embraces the digital world it also recognizes that digital tools and environments complicate personal interactions. Studies have shown that students who use laptops in class often receive lower grades than those who don’t. Research also shows that laptop users distract students around them. I allow laptops and tablets in class, but only when used for classroom activities, such as note-taking or class readings. Occasionally I may ask students to turn off all digital devices.

Messaging or other cell phone use is unacceptable. Any student whose phone rings during class or who texts in class will be responsible for kicking off the next class day’s discussion.

Late arrivals or early departures from class are disruptive and should be avoided.