[gender-it] Welcome & preliminary statement

  • From: "Hoofd Ingrid Maria" <g0201759@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <gender-it@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 15:12:54 +0800

Dear all,
Welcome to the gender IT mailing list! I hope we can all have a
productive exchange here.
Please find below a preliminary statement on the purpose of this
particular list. If you know more people who are interested in joining,
please tell them to email me (the current list owner) with their
details, or simply email me with a list of email addresses up for
subscription request.

September 21, 2003

Preliminary statement for discussing and planning a critical, feminist,
difference-based Tactical Handbook for IT education. (This is a really
title and we will of course come up with something way more juicy to
call it.)=20

Background: The idea for the Gender and IT Handbook workshop was
generated in=20
planning discussions on the editorial list for Next Five Minutes 4, in
(participants in these discussions included Arun Mehta, Faith Wilding,
da Costa, David Garcia, Terri Senft).=20
Many of us are involved in educating about New Media and IT in many
environments and teaching digital media to various populations with
differences in age, race, cultural milieu, gender, economic backgrounds,

geographic locations, language etc. Due to our experiences with dominant
about teaching and using digital media in mainstream (western) culture,
we felt=20
the need to explore ways in which discourses of difference, and
feminist and postcolonial analyses could be brought to bear on
tactics and strategies for critical and differentiated approaches to
teaching and=20
learning and using digital media.=20
Accordingly, we conducted a first planning workshop at Next Five Minutes
in Amsterdam on Sept. 14, 2003

Workshop: The workshop was attended by about 20 very interested and
people-women and men--and led by Arun Mehta and Faith Wilding. Everyone
introduced themselves and short introductory statements were made by=20
the workshop leaders. I summarize some points from everyone's statements
here: Many of us are involved in tactical and theoretical projects that
generating new knowledges, new ways of doing things. The territories of
culture are expanding and many issues of difference are emerging and
increasingly visible. How are these knowledges being transmitted, made
communicated, shared? How do we oppose specializations of knowledge and
curse of intellectual property laws and privatization of knowledge and
skills? How are values of difference transmitted by virtue of the ways
in which we=20
develop teaching around digital technologies?
It is important for us to begin to communicate with each other about our

experiences and tactics. We need to make our pedagogical experiences

(Resource for background study:
A recent study of Women in Computing (based on an exended study of women
computer science at Carnegie Mellon) was issued by MIT Press: Jane
Margolis and Allan Fisher, Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing)

Suggested Approaches and Content for Handbook
1)Providing a critically and historically based understanding of the
of computers and computing, (white male) IT culture, and the conditions
technological production and labor. Towards a difference culture of IT.
2) Language: A critical discussion of language uses in IT.
3) Discussion of how issues of difference that are the basis for
access to knowledge, and access to power (these include gender, class,
cultural difference, economic difference, age, ethnic, and geographic)
on the learning/teaching/practice environment. (Irina)
4) Importance of demystification of technological processes; Dismantling
computer and rebuilding it. Software and Programming basics?
(Genderchangers) 5)Feminist approaches to learning: collaboration and
team learning-horizontal=20
teaching rather than hierarchies; woman to woman teaching/networking;=20
learning through applied and tactical "real-life" projects and problems;
theory/practice learning; empowerment "you can do it" , allowing
learning from experiment; team teaching and role models.
6) The importance of telling our stories and sharing experiences.
invisible populations articulate their voices in the world.
(Cybermohalla project)
7) Issues of high-tech, low-tech, access, using open source software,=20
shareware, technological commons. Expropriation, piracy, appropriation.
8) Using our teaching to give visibility to social and political issues
experience of women and minoritarian populations. Challenging the
dominant IT=20
9)Teach about privacy and anti-surveillance tactics. (tactical
10) Using tactical media to collaborate with projects that are
global and local issues of concern to women and minoritarian populations
bringing these issues into public discourse (Women on Waves, subRosa,
Include lots of information about social movements, links to women's
organizations, street works, grass-roots initiatives, in our teaching.
11) Using art as a way of learning-discursive projects that use images,=20
language, sounds, etc.=20
12) The training in technology is happening under new conditions and in
a new=20
society of control-it represents new cultural processes, but it is still

linked to all other aspects of education and production. What kinds of
environments and practical configurations best facilitate the kinds of
and feminist learning we are interested in? How do people (geeks, for=20
example) learn to communicate better and what does it mean to
communicate better?=20
Does IT education have to be different for women than for men? (Arun)
13) Provide examples of projects and of actual learning and production=20
environments. What about funding? Resources?=20
14) Provide a descriptive list of "best practices." Things that have
15) Provide a self-inventory analysis of what we want. Challenging the=20
existing paradigms. Say what we don't want. Be attentive to girls'

This enumeration of contents is only preliminary and we'd like to hear
from all of you who attended the workshop about your concerns and
I apologize if I left out important points. We should begin to discuss
best to implement our ideas and make practical proposals about who can
what to the handbook. Irina Aristarkhova, Beatriz da Costa, Ingrid
Arun Mehta, and Faith Wilding have volunteered to be compilers and

In solidarity, Faith Wilding

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