"Though both are bound in the spiral dance, I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess." – Donna Haraway

A group of women, dressed for cold weather, holding a banner that says "end violence against women"

“‘UN Women for Peace’ March Marking International Women’s Day” by Flickr User United Nations Photos.

This came across the FemTechNet email group today. It is a training event for women and trans persons in activist networks to train them in the areas of digital security and privacy so they can, in turn, train others. Note that it is open to activists from anywhere but there are 45 funded spots (including travel and visa assistance) reserved for folks from Africa, post-Soviet states, the Arabic-speaking region, South & South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Gender and Technology Pop-Up Institute

Focus: Tools and techniques for digital security training and privacy advocacy


Tactical Tech, in collaboration with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), are organising a 7-day event for up to 50 women and trans people to learn tools and techniques for increasing their understanding and practice in digital security and privacy and to become digital security trainers and privacy advocates.

December 1-8, 2014.

Berlin, Germany

Who is the event for?
This is for influential and vocal women and trans people, who are women’s rights activists and/or net activists, and who would like to be trained as digital security trainers and advocates of privacy in order to strengthen their work and the local networks/organisations they are related to.

If you are interested in joining this event, at least four of the following criteria should describe you:

  • You take an active lead in your communities and networks, know your way around the internet, and also know that security and privacy problems can threaten your advocacy and activism and needs to be addressed.
  • You are comfortable with public speaking or training groups, and would like to expand your knowledge and skills, to be able to advise your communities and networks on issues around privacy and data protection.
  • You have strong online and offline networks and support other organisations and individuals who could benefit from digital security and privacy advice.
  • You are the kind of person who understands the tech, or are a techie/hacker, but don’t necessarily know how to explain digital security and privacy issues so that others can understand and practice it.
  • You understand and practise digital security and privacy but want to update and further strengthen your tech and training skills.
  • You are a workshop facilitator or are training on closely related topics and consider yourself tech-savvy, and want to add digital security and privacy from a gender perspective to your skill-set.

Read the rest of this entry »

From the FemTechNet listserv:
Journal of Peer Production (JoPP) — CFP for Special Issue on Feminism and (Un)Hacking

Editors: Shaowen Bardzell, Lilly Nguyen, Sophie Toupin

There has been a recent growth in interest in feminist approaches to practices like hacking, tinkering, geeking and making. What started off as an interest in furthering representations of women in the technical fields of computer science and engineering, often along the lines of liberal feminism, has now grown into social, cultural, and political analyses of gendered modes of social reproduction, expertise, and work, among others. Practices of hacking, tinkering, geeking, and making have been criticized for their overtly masculinist approaches, often anchored in the Euro-American techno-centers of Silicon Valley and Cambridge that have created a culture of entrepreneurial heroism and a certain understanding of technopolitical liberation, or around the German Chaos Computer Club (CCC).

With this special issue of the Journal of Peer Production, we hope to delve more deeply into these critiques to imagine new forms of feminist technical praxis that redefine these practices and/or open up new ones. How can we problematize hacking, tinkering, geeking and making through feminist theories and epistemologies? How do these practices, in fact, change when we begin to consider them through a feminist prism? Can we envision new horizons of practice and possibility through a feminist critique?
In this call, we understand feminist perspectives to be pluralistic, including intersectional, trans, genderqueer, and race-sensitive viewpoints that are committed to the central principles of feminism–agency, fulfillment, empowerment, diversity, and social justice.  We refer to the term hacking with a full understanding of its histories and limitations. That said, we use it provisionally to provoke, stimulate, and reimagine new possibilities for technical feminist practice. Hacking, as a form of subjectivity and a mode of techno-political engagement, has recently emerged as a site of intense debate, being equally lauded as a political ethos of freedom and slandered as an elitist form of expertise. These fervid economic and political ideals have been challenged and at times come under attack because they not only displace women and genderqueer within these technological communities but, more importantly, because they displace gendered forms of reflection and engagement.

This call came across the FemTechNet listerv this morning and seems very interesting. I am a bit sad that I don’t teach online so I have nothing to submit. I look forward to reading the final product!

Call for Submissions
Professing Feminism: Teaching Through the Digital Divide
Deadline: Dec. 15, 2014
Page limit 15-25 pages
Format: Email articles in MLA style. Double spaced. MSWord attachments only.
Contact: professingfeminism@hotmail.com

Professing Feminism, inspired by our own online teaching experiences in for-profit and not-for-profit higher education, will be a path-breaking anthology exploring feminist pedagogy and feminist content in online courses. Have you had experience teaching feminism online? How can your shared experience help facilitate the inclusion of feminist pedagogy and feminist content in the growth of online teaching that is rapidly mushrooming?

We are open to essays that both critique and positively evaluate the potential for professing feminism in online work, in a variety of contexts. Submissions can cover any aspect of the experience of feminism, feminist pedagogy, online teaching and online learning.
We are especially interested in articles that address the following topics:

  • Enacting a feminist pedagogy in online courses
  • Feminism and for-profit schools
  • Teaching other people’s feminism (teaching from prewritten courses in for-profit or not-for-profit online programs).
  • Providing feminist context in classes that include women’s literature, but provide no feminist context to the works.
  • Men and feminism in online classes.
  • Encouraging feminism in composition classes (or any classes where feminist content is rarely found or emphasized).
  • Academic hierarchy and feminism in online schools.
  • Feminist collaboration: issues of isolation, networking and publishing as an online adjunct
  • Addressing the stigma of teaching online and the divide between online and on ground schools and instructors.
  • Addressing the negative perceptions of online teaching.
  • The role of feminism in the new model of online teaching and for-profit schools
  • Feminism’s role within the job preparation emphasis in online schools

About the Editors:
Melissa Rigney has over 10 years online teaching and course development experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit higher education.In addition to a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska. She also has an M.S in Educational Technology from Texas A&M.

Batya Weinbaum holds a doctorate in English from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has been teaching feminism online since 2007, and has been editing the journal Femspec since 1997. Her scholarship, including writings on feminist pedagogy, has appeared in numerous venues, including Transformations, a journal of inclusive teaching practices. She has published three scholarly books, including a book with University of Texas Press, and has been included in numerous scholarly anthologies.

CFP: Texting Girls: Images, Sounds, and Words in Neoliberal Cultures of Femininity  via HASTAC.

If the abstract in the CFP is any indicator, this upcoming issue of Women & Performance is going to be a great read.

I have lately been fascinated by the YouTube videos of the Japanese group Babymetal and may submit something on them.

At first glance on their website, they appear to be a pretty standard death metal band. The only clue to their difference might be the hearts in the Bs in “Baby.”

But watch a video and you will see that this is a strange mashup of death metal and choreographed reality-show J-pop, rounded out with apocalyptic goth lolita fashion. The only overlord they seem to be worshipping here is their waistlines as they demand chocolate but simultaneously worry about weight gain in the lyrics. Fascinating.



Postcolonial Digital Humanities | CFP: Ada Journal: Gender, Globalization and the Digital.

Deadline for essay submissions is September 30th. The review process is open and pretty short. Accepted essays are published the following May.

How the Humanities Compute in the Classroom – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

This is a pretty nice overview of Digital Humanities (DH) teaching and scholarship for those who may be unfamiliar with it. It is great to see Miriam Posner’s work profiled and to see an emphasis on pedagogy. I additionally appreciate the author’s focus on the impressive work of student Iman Salehian.

There are two points to which I’d like to draw attention. Neither of these ruins the article for me, but both are worth considering, even if just for a moment:

2014 is off to an inauspicious start with the return of Sad Lady Ada.

2014 is off to an inauspicious start with the return of Sad Lady Ada.

1. The first is the statement, “Ms. Salehian, 20, is a petite junior with an outsize work ethic.” While this is meant as a compliment to Ms. Salehian, her bodily stature is irrelevant to her work ethic and to her DH work. Would she have been similarly described were she not petite? Why is the young male student in the article not described similarly? I’m sure the author didn’t even realize he was doing this. This is a great example of implicit bias, y’all… It’s hard to imagine a male student being described in diminutive terms. I hate to start the new year with the return of my Sad Lady Ada meme, but so it must be. Read the rest of this entry »

Your 2013 year in blogging.

See the link above for the 2013 Year-in-Review for The Spiral Dance. 4,200 visitors, with a record for the most in any day (696 on Feb 25th in response to this post).

Thanks for a great year!

tweet alerting me to the Microsoft bra, with an image from the article

Tweet about the Microsoft Bra

Earlier this week, Twitter user @s_hardey tweeted at me that Microsoft is working on a high-tech bra. The tweet came on a Tuesday, which is my busiest teaching day. Before I got a chance to check it out, it got buried in my mentions.

But today…today is an unexpected work-at-home day thanks to winter storm Cleon. So when I saw this PolicyMic article in my Tweet stream, it reminded me that I had never followed up on Sarah’s tweet and gave me the chance to check it out.

Microsoft Has Invented a Bra That Discourages Women From “Emotional Eating” – PolicyMic.

Nina Ippolito is responding to a research team’s project that used a phone app to track the relationship between women’s emotions and eating habits and then tried to use the app to intervene before emotional eating could occur. The intervention came in the form of a message that suggested deep breathing exercises. The third stage of the project developed a prototype bra that tracked the emotional state of the wearer based on vital signs. The data gathered by the bra did not result in an intervention. Instead, the purpose was to see how well the vital signs aligned with emotional state. The paper does not seem to indicate how the bra might eventually be connected to a strategy of intervention. Would it buzz? Shock? Connect to the wearer’s phone and the app? It’s unclear.

Ippolito’s critique of the Emotional Eating bra raises many interesting questions. Like Ippolito, I find myself hesitant about the researchers’ choice of which women’s health problem to solve. I suspect that emotional overeating is a problem for which the researchers felt that their wearable device presents a plausible solution. However, the device has problematic potential for policing women’s emotions and bodies in a culture that is already quite adept at doing so.

Read the rest of this entry »

Call for papers Virtualis 9 | Departamento de Estudios Culturales.

This upcoming issue of Virtualis intends to expand the discourse on digital divide beyond quantifying access to the skills and literacies necessary to achieve inclusion.

Looking at past issues, it looks as though a range of methodologies are welcome: from study-based to critical/theoretical readings of policy, and so on.


Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology – : Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology.

The latest issue of Ada: A journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology is out and the topic is “Feminist Science Fiction.”

There are lots of great looking articles, including a transcription of a speech by Donna Haraway. I can’t wait to dig in to this issue!


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