This upcoming HASTAC Feminist Scholars workshop looks like it could be really great! In true feminist fashion, I am already over committed next week so I can’t participate. I hope they do another one over the summer!
The name “ePad Femme” is evocative of all sorts of imagery. Just last week, during Creative Lab time, the Fashioning Circuits students and I were imagining a menstrual pad that would alert you when it needed to be changed. However, “ePad Femme” refers to a tablet device from The EuroStar Group that is being marketed as “the world’s first tablet aimed exclusively at women,” I have to insert an exasperated sigh here. I could point you to other posts where I’ve addressed similar issues: “Whose Idea of Bliss?” that addresses the HTC Bliss phone that was designed for women, or “Droid’s Hypermasculine advertising” in which I analyze the Droid commercial that pits femininity and technological prowess against one another. But let’s dig a little deeper. Read the rest of this entry »
Making Digital Counterpublics
How can humanities classroom and research practices use digital tools and platforms to facilitate counterpublic formation for marginalized populations, activist organizations, and community outreach? 300 word abstracts by March 15th to David Parry (dparry at utdallas dot edu) and Kim Knight (kknight08 at gmail dot com)
David will chair the session and I will take part in the panel. My topic will be the use of classroom practices (specifically the Fashioning Circuits project) to create inclusive spaces for coding and making.
If you are unfamiliar with the MLA session proposal format, it works like this: we solicit paper submissions. Then we propose the panel to the convention organizers. So even though we may include you on the panel, we aren’t quite done yet. The panel itself still has to be accepted by the convention. You have to be an MLA member by April 7 to present at the convention.
We are excited to hear about the ways that other universities are using digital tools to engage with the public, re-frame the university, and so on. Please submit!
Edited to add: We’re extending the deadline to March 25th!
Last week I attended the Media Places: Infrastructure | Space | Media conference at Umeå University. The conference was sponsored by The Peter Wallenberg Foundation and universities of Umeå, Stanford, and Lund. The conference was invite-only and I was honored to be asked, not only to attend, but also to give a short presentation as part of a panel on “Moving the Field Forward.”
This was the second conference I attended this semester and each was an interdisciplinary approach to a narrowly focused topic. I really like this format. Media Places had only one track of sessions, so it was great to know that everyone saw the same things and heard the same ideas. This made for frictionless conversation and “networking” as we gathered during breaks and meals. It was as painless as networking can possibly be.
As I mentioned above, I was asked to participate in one of the panels. Patrik Svensson asked myself and two other “junior” faculty members to speak to the issue of moving the field forward, and if possible, to tie it into the conference theme. What follows is a recreation of my talk from my notes. I actually had to edit some of this out on the fly as I was bumping up against the 8-minute time limit. Since I can’t remember what I cut, I’ll just include it all here, as I initially rehearsed it:
I had hoped to blog about these two things before I went out of town for another conference, but with the end of the semester also looming, my to-do list was overflowing.
Rather than let them sit and wait until I return, I thought I’d draw your attention to a couple of items that I have found interesting over the last few weeks;
- Game developer Luke Crane tweeted to ask why there weren’t more women in the gaming industry. The hashtag #1reasonwhy has been used to track answers. As is often the case when people attempt to bring attention to gender disparities in this arena, many of the responses are quite misogynistic in and of themselves. But for the most part, the chorus of answers has been honest and productive. These tweets prompted the derivative hashtag #1reasontobe to explore the positive reasons that women choose to work in the industry.
- Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology
- The Fembot Collective have published the first issue of their new journal, Ada. I look forward to delving into the first issue and will post a review once I return from the conference. They have some really cool themes coming up, including one on feminists of color.
As I said, I will blog about both of these more fully when I return. But until then, happy reading!
This call is for a panel at the 2013 ACLA. 250 word abstracts are due November 15, 2012 (the CFP says 2013, but I’m fairly certain that is a mistake).
I thought I’d take a moment to draw your attention to a recent post I wrote for In Media Res. On their “About” page, IMR describes themselves as “dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship. Our goal is to promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media. In Media Res provides a forum for more immediate critical engagement with media at a pace closer to how we experience mediated texts.”
The structure of the site is that they put out a call for participation for “theme weeks.” Proposals are reviewed and if you are accepted, you submit an image, series of images, or video along with a brief Curator’s statement. One post is published per day during the theme week. The Curators, other scholars, and the public are invited to engage in dialogue around the week’s posts.
This is the second time that I have participated in an In Media Res theme week. The first time, a group of Fashioning Circuits graduate students and I curated a piece called “The Multiply Mediated Voice of the America’s Next Top Model All Star,” that addressed the use of social media to construct “authentic” participant personae on the show. This time the theme week was “Women’s Health is a Joke.” My piece, “Get in My Vagina! Language and Power in Online Comedy Videos” addresses the ways that certain comedy videos use the word “vagina,” taking into account our social context in which biological language to describe women’s bodies is deemed improper.
It sounds like some kind of weird gamer rating system, doesn’t it? Which would also be…problematic. But in this case, Sony has released a print ad in France that compares the latest model of the PS Vita to a women with four breasts, the extra pair appearing on her back. Behold:
C|Net’s Michelle Starr gets right to the heart of the issue with this Sony PSVita ad. She writes, “Please, stop using us as bait to dangle in front of your heterosexual male demographic in order to sell toys.”
Sony reps in various markets have responded with the defense that the ad is not running in [insert market name], which raises the issue of cultural context.
I’m not sure how well that defense works. First of all, are we certain that women in France would not also find the ad offensive? I am not suggesting that the cultural context is not different. But I think anyone would be hard-pressed to argue that this is a celebration of the female body and sexuality. The extremity of the depiction makes the woman into a headless (i.e. brainless, speechless, expressionless) plaything.
Second, it seems like a company with a global customer base should be interested in courting that customer base, no matter where they are. As we see over and over again, companies can no longer control the context in which their messages are received. There may no longer be any such thing as running an ad only in France.
(Nod to my students in “Embodied Identity in Digital Society” for bringing the ad to my attention.)