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Extremely late 3/4 feedback

2009 April 11
by Melinda C.

Ugh, okay, I know we’ve already moved into the next section of the class, but I realized that I started my 3/4 feedback and never finished/posted it, but that I really should… so, here it is. Going to hide it under a more tag so as to be as unobtrusive as possible! And write a more timely, relevant post soon. 🙂

1. What connections have you seen among all the imaginative representations of gender and technology that we’ve looked at?

Metropolis and The Handmaid’s Tale are both centered around these worlds that seem dystopian to us, mostly because of the ways that humans are being mechanized, turned into technology themselves in a sense. Although these worlds are imaginative, I can see the ways in which they are based on our own society as it is, and how they provide a commentary on the direction that many people seem to fear we are moving in. I think these works make it clear that the answer to our problems is not to turn humans themselves into technology, or to remove the human element from our interactions and structures. I don’t think they necessarily say that technology is bad, but just that we need to be careful what we do with it, and that neither fully mechanizing nor completely removing technology is the answer to anything.

2. How do these works contribute to your understandings of gender, technology or the relations between them?

I think that The Handmaid’s Tale points out how a technological way of organizing people can be based on the “functions” that they play biologically and socially, which is obviously based on sex and gender. Women are categorized based on what they can do for the men – can they have children? Entertain them? Be an ideal wife figure? In a sense, their bodies are being used as technology. In Metropolis, the men are the ones doing the physical labor… the few women are placed in sexualized situations and provide bits of the “human” element that seems to be missing from the technology-based world. With Watchmen, I think I did the most thinking about gender & technology relations in regards to graphic novels in general (at more of a meta-level) than within it. Overall, I feel like these works were a way of seeing some of the anxieties that are brought up by the growing prevalence of technology in our lives.

3. Any other feedback about how the class has been working the past three weeks, w/ all the small group work we’ve been doing? are there other things you’d like to be doing in class that we haven’t done yet, or that you’d like to do more of?

I do like all the small group work, and I like that we keep switching up the groups and working with people who come from different disciplines, etc. I also like the idea of having our conversations carry over into the blog, to create a better connection between the blog and our class & also to make sure everyone has time to share. While I like having more of a chance to talk & participate with the small groups, I do think we lose something by not having enough time to go into much depth as a large group; we are all talking about different things, which is great, but it’s gotten harder to carry on one thread of thought in as much depth as I feel we did before. I guess it’s pretty hard to fit all of this into one class period, but like I said, I think that carrying things over into the blog is helpful.

4. What concrete suggestions do you have in particular about wordpress functionality? (Laura and Anne have started a log here….)
Others have mentioned everything I’ve thought of… I think it would be nice if there were an even more straight-forward way to post papers, and it would be great if Word formatting transferred over more cleanly. It is one thing to finish the papers on time, and then need to go back and strip the formatting, add spaces between the paragraphs, remember which fields to fill out, etc. Perhaps since more classes are using blogs like these, there might be some way to build in a more streamlined functionality for grouping works/entries together the way that we do with our papers?

5. What has your experience been with posting and receiving on-line commentary on your papers?
I don’t mind the commentary being online, since it really is commentary and not harsh criticism or anything that I am not comfortable with others seeing. I do think it would be nice if we felt more able to comment on each other’s papers as we do with our regular blog entries. I also like that the emphasis is on our ideas rather than on technical, formal aspects of our papers… it takes some pressure off of the writing process. I especially like it when the comments point me in new directions and suggest alternative ways of viewing the things I am writing about.

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