19.12.2017 | Gender/Diversity in Informatiksystemen

Call for Abstracts for the Panel on 'Re-configuring Computing Through Feminist New Materialism' at STS Graz

A call for abstracts is now open for the panel 'S2: Re-configuring computing through feminist new materialism' during the Science and Technology Studies conference in Graz, Austria, moderated by Claude Draude and Goda Klumbyte. Deadline: January 19th, 2018.

Computing technologies have been traditionally seen as modes of abstraction leading away from matter, and towards disembodiment – a discursive position that has received considerable feminist critique (e.g. Hayles 1999). However, computing as practice is anything but disembodied. First of all, it is marked by a productive tension between the material and the semiotic: digital computation involves a translation of the discursive and the material into a structured language that then forms the basis of computing implemented through hardware and software that relies on material-infrastructural basis. Furthermore, the historical trajectory of computing and its abstract rendering of information has also been challenged from within the field as early as 1972 by Bateson’s theory of contextualised information and ecological take on cybernetics. Finally, feminist and STS scholars, and especially feminist computer scientists have been pushing the field to take feminist critiques regarding materiality into account and to look for pathways to connecting feminist theory to computer science on conceptual and practical levels (Bardzell 2010, Draude 2011, Maaß, Rommes and Bath 2012, Bath 2014). Simultaneously, the feminist new materialism has been emerging as its own distinctive body of thought (Tuin and Dolphijn, 2012) that takes matter to the core of its investigations and builds interdisciplinary bridges between the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ sciences.

This session invites to re-configure the dominant modes and practices of knowledge production in computer science through feminist new materialist and queer-theoretical lenses. Such an endeavour calls not only for interrogation of the power differentials embedded in  computing technologies, but also for critical examination of the dominant modes of knowledge production that underpin computer science, and re-thinking episteme through techne and vice versa. Namely, it encourages contributors to ask: what are the underlying conceptual notions in computer science and how do they (re)produce power dynamics? How are computer science theories gendered? How can insights from feminist and queer perspectives help re-contextualize the methodologies and theories that are commonplace in computing? We invite contributions – both written, or performative, art or media pieces, – from the fields of computing, feminist and queer STS, as well from the arts. We encourage contributors to come up with alternative formats, such as workshops, interactive presentations that focus on learning-through-doing, and other formats that account for the importance of material practices for knowledge production.

GeDIS team - Claude Draude and Goda Klumbyte - cordially invite you to submit your abstracts on the conference website by 19 January 2018. It should not exceed 500 words, max. 5 keywords, and the abstract with authors’ contact details should be submitted by using the online form and selecting the number of the panel (in this case no. 2). The conference will take place at Graz, Austria, on 7-8 May 2018.