Feminist Technologies workshop
Feminist technology often refers to technologies that deal with issues of gender and equity. But recently, hackers, scholars, and designers have asked how we would design and create technologies that embody the values of feminism—equity, justice, and social transformation—that anyone can use for any purpose, including research. In this workshop, we will apprentice with Dr. Max Liboiron, director of Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), a feminist marine pollution lab in northern Canada. As a case study, participants will design feminist technologies for monitoring marine plastic pollution to learn how research instruments can embody the values and politics of feminism. The final portion of the workshop will focus on how these making doing practices can inflect participants’ own research projects.
Workshop length: 2-4 hours.
Requirements: Room with a projector and ready access to outdoor water (any kind of water!).
Feminist Technologies course at Memorial University of Newfoundland
GEOG/SOCI4107: Feminist GeoTechnologies is offered by Dr. Liboiron at Memorial University of Newfoundland at least once a year:
This course immerses students in feminist theory and methodologies so you understand how values, power, and resistance exist in knowledge production, including science and technology. We then apply feminist theory and methods to build a technology for monitoring a global pollutant. This may make this course different from some of your others in that: 1) You’re going to build something; 2) that thing is going to matter outside of the classroom; and 3) readings, assignments, and exams are all geared towards you gaining concrete skills and a working ability to create this final project. It’s like engineering, but better; we’re going to be applying feminist theory and methodologies—large-scale ideas about politics, culture, and sociality—to specific objects and landscapes in St. John’s.
Undergraduate students in the course have been responsible for building many technologies, including: the Ice Cream Scoop now used in our children’s science kits; the PED ROC, a passive shoreline sampler that we are currently developing into a fully workable prototype; infamous Plastic Eating Nautical Instrument System (PENIS) surface that didn’t work; and the adorable Plastic Entanglement Trap (PET).
Examples of final technology reports authored by students:
- Firelog collective (2014). Hotspots in the Square.
- Kenny, C., Cnuddle, A., Chiripanhura, S. (2014). Examining Thermal Pollution and Exploring Environmental Injustice in Holyrood, NL: Thermal Flashlight Project.
- Quigley, A., Efford, H., Reese, K. (2015). Making Plastic Public, Penile and Unpleasant: Design & Final Report from P.E.N.I.S. Handlers.
- Cowan, E., Gonondo, C., O’Connor, A., Squires, P. (2015). Plastic Entanglement Trap (P.E.T.) Final Report.
- The Raucous Caucus. (2016). The Hairy Snatcher.
A sample syllabus is here.
See Memorial University of Newfoundland’s course offerings for more information on when the course is being offered.