Class Description

Spring 2020

INF 386G Gender, Technology, and Information

Unique ID: 27705 Philip Doty
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm Syllabus
UTA 1.204

DESCRIPTION

Also offered as Women's and Gender Studies 393.

COURSE NOTES

Gender, Technology, and Information (INF 385T/WGS 390) critically
examines the three elements of the course’s title in relation
to each other. Students will be asked to explore various
perspectives on the interactions, historically and currently,
among gender, technology, and information. Topics include
science and technology studies; techno- and eco-feminism;
domestic technologies; reproductive and sexual technologies;
virtuality, disembodiment, and gaming; and the gendered history
of computing.

Students will explore various research methodologies and will
produce, along with several other writing assignments, a final
paper that discusses a topic of the student’s choice about the
intersection (s) of gender, technology, and information.

Graduate students from all disciplines and academic units in the
University are welcome in the course, and students may take the
class for a letter grade or for credit/no credit. We are also
fortunate to have several experts visiting this class from
various departments and research centers here at UT.

In this course, we will assume a non-essentialist position about
gender, i.e., we will not support the assertion that there are
some inherent, identifiable differences among people of different
genders, nor will we presume the long-established gender binary.
We also are interested in gender as broadly as possible,
considering but also moving beyond “feminism and . . .” or
“women in . . .” as the focus of the course.

Technology is the second significant concept for our course. We
will not limit our consideration of technology to digital
technologies this semester, or, for that matter, only to
information and communication technologies (ICT’s). We will
examine artifacts such as computers, paper, housework
technologies, books, games, sexual and reproductive technologies,
and other technologies, while remembering that technology studies
includes many other elements, e.g., music, language, literary
genres, social conventions, and practices of many kinds.

We would like to offer two quick words about the third and final
major topic of our work this semester – information. While we
will use the useful fiction of information as thing, please
remember that many scholars consider it only a fiction. As such,
information is not “in our minds” or “in files” or the
like. The instructors, therefore, will generally avoid locutions
such as “content” when speaking about information and
communication. Instead, we will move beyond the cognitivism
inherent in information as thing and look more to meaning making,
cultural production, and social practice. This last approach
complements the critical considerations of gender and technology
that also characterize the course.

PREREQUISITES

Graduate standing.