Skip to content


Syllabus for Computer Science/English/Film Studies/Gender & Sexuality 257

Note: Readings are available as pdfs from the readings page, which you must be logged in to access.

Other requirements and information available at the links below:

I. What is Gender? What is Technology? What is the Relationship Between Them?
Wednesday, Jan. 21st
Introductions and Overview

By Sunday @ 5, log into course blog and introduce yourself

Monday, Jan. 26
deLauretis, Teresa. “The Technology of Gender.” Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film and Fiction. Indiana University, 1987. 1-30.
Grint, Keith and Rosalind Gill. “The Gender-Technology Relation: An Introduction.” The Gender-Technology Relation: Contemporary Theory and Research. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis, 1995. 1-28.

Contribute data to (or to challenge) these arguments:
bring in examples of ads, song lyrics, etc. which
represent a relationship between technology & gender

Wednesday, Jan. 28
Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” Simians, Cyborgs and Women. Routledge, 1991. 149-182.
Halberstam, Judith. “Automating Gender: Postmodern Feminism in the Age of the Intelligent Machine.” Sex/Machine: Readings in Culture, Gender, and Technology. Ed. Patrick Hopkins. Indiana University Press, 1998. 468-483.

Post or bring in a logo of your imagined utopian relationship of technology & gender

Every Sunday evening by 5, please post a reflection on the course blog.

II. Technologies of Gender: Making and Re-Making Ourselves
Monday, Feb. 2
Sciolino, Elaine and Souad Mekhennet. “In Europe, Debate Over Islam and Virginity.The New York Times. June 11, 2008.

Dull, Diana and Candace West. “Accounting for Cosmetic Surgery: The Accomplishment of Gender.” Social Problems, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1991): 54-70.
Bañales, Victoria. “The Face Value of Dreams”: Gender, Race, Class, and the Politics of Cosmetic Surgery.” Beyond the Frame: Women of color and Visual Representation. Ed. Neferti X.M. Tadiar and Angela Y. Davis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 131-152.

Find more on-line examples: post or bring to class…

Wednesday, Feb. 4
Intersex Society of North America: A World Free of Shame, Secrecy and Unwanted Genital Surgery.

Ward, Phyllis. Is it a Boy or a Girl? Great Falls VA: Discovery Channel. Cable broadcast, March 26, 2000 (on reserve in Canaday).
Parens, Erik. “Thinking about Surgically Shaping Children.” Surgically Shaping Children: Technology, Ethics, and the Pursuit of Normality. Johns Hopkins, 2006. xiii-xxx.

Monday, Feb. 9
Guest Visitors: Pemwrez2009 (in person) and
Ryan Brazell
(on Skype)
Hausman, Bernice. “Introduction: Transsexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender” and “Epilogue.” Changing Sex: Transsexualism, Technology and the Idea of Gender. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University, 1995. 1-19, 195-200.
Stone, Sandy. The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto,” Sex/Machine: Readings in Culture, Gender, and Technology. Ed. Patrick Hopkins. Indiana University Press, 1998. 322-341.

Wednesday, Feb. 11
Trebay, Guy. “He’s Pregnant, You’re Speechless.” The New York Times. June 22, 2008.

(On-line trailer to) Rosskam, Jules, Dir. Transparent: The Movie. MamSir Productions. San Francisco, CA: Frameline, 2005. 61 minutes.

Williams, Arthur Robinson. “My Right Self.” 2008.

Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies: Promoting the Ethical Use of Technology to Expand Human Capabilities. Stanford University Law School, Stanford, California. May 26-28, 2006.

Friday, Feb. 13 First 3-pp. paper due: exploring ways in which technology has
been used to construct, de-construct and/or re-construct gender

III. Engendering Technology: How Have we Used Machines?
Monday, Feb. 16-Monday Feb. 23
Select from the “starter” bibliography on the readings page, or follow your own interests elsewhere:
panel discussions (from the inside…) about individually gendered use of technology.

Wednesday Feb. 25-Wednesday Mar. 4
Select from the “starter” bibliography on the readings page, or follow your own interests elsewhere:
panel discussions about collectively gendered uses of technology.

Friday, Mar. 6 Second 3-pp. paper due: exploring ways in which you see (individual
or collective) gender identities affecting technological practice

III. The Politics of Looking @ Gender and Technology:
Feminist Speculations on a History of Representation

Monday, Mar. 16
Lang, Fritz, dir. Metropolis 1927; restored New York: Kino on Video, 2002. 124 minutes.

Wednesday, Mar. 18-Monday, Mar. 23
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985.

Wednesday Mar. 25
Schlöndorff, Volker dir. The Handmaid’s Tale. 1990; re-released Santa Monica: MGM Home Entertainment, 2001. 109 minutes.

Monday, Mar 30 – Wednesday, Apr. 1
Moore, Alan and David Gibbons. Watchmen. New York: DC Comics, 1986-1987.

Friday, Apr. 3 Third 3-pp. paper due, exploring an imaginative
representation of the intersections of gender and technology

V. Contemporary Engagements in Gender and Technology:
Blogging, Gaming, Programming, Remaking Our Identities On-line

Our On-Line Identities
Monday, Apr. 6

Turkle, Sherry. “Tinysex and Gender Trouble.” Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Simon and Schuster, 1995. 210-232.
Nowak, Christine and Christian Rauh. “The Influence of the Avatar on Online Perceptions of Anthropomorphism, Androgyny, Credibility, Homophily, and Attraction.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 11 (2006) 153–178.

Wednesday, Apr. 8
Discussion of online identity “in the wild”.
Create an avatar for yourself in any of the following virutal worlds. Pay attention to gendered spaces and to the technological process at work in these worlds. Also think about how you decided what to look like and how you “felt” within the world. Also, pay attention to the avatars in Facebook. What do they say about gender and/or identity? Take screenshots to post and/or print out for class discussion.

Virtual Worlds:


Spend some time over the weekend playing video games–seriously. If you don’t play, find a friend who does or go online and find a game online to play. Preferably, these will be games that require you to construct a character or select a character. Spend some time exploring–take screenshots and/or screen captures to post and/or show in class.

Monday, Apr. 13

Williams, D., M. Consalvo, S. Caplan & N. Yee. (2009, in press). Looking for gender (LFG): Gender roles and behaviors among online gamers. Journal of Communication.

Wednesday, Apr. 15

Romine, Morgan. “Fantasy to Frag Doll: The story of a gamer princess.” She’s Such a Geek. Seal Press, 2006. p. 162-173.

Gaetos, Paula. “fatality!” She’s Such a Geek. Seal Press, 2006. p. 174-180.

Doctorow, Cory. “Ananda’s Game.” Dangerous Games. Ed. Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois. Ace Books, 2007. p. 23-57.

Programming/Interacting with (Becoming?) Machines

Monday, Apr. 20
Wajcman, Judy. “The Cyborg Solution.” TechnoFeminism. New York: Polity, 2004. 78-101.

Wednesday, Apr. 22
Ullman, Ellen. “Out of Time: Reflections on the Programming Life.” Educom Review; Jul/Aug96, Vol. 31 Issue 4, p53, 7p.

Guest Visitors: Lisa Meeden (Professor of Computer Science, Swarthmore College)
and Dianna Xu
(Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Bryn Mawr)

Monday Apr. 27-Wednesday Apr. 29
Fourth project due in multi-media or digital form, exploring
contemporary engagements in gender and technology

By 5 p.m. Saturday, May 9 (for seniors) and
by 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 15 (for all others):
Portfolio and final 12-pp.
paper due, exploring possible interventions
into the intersection of gender and technology