Call for Papers Cross-cultural Feminist Technologies
- December 1, 2019 - Notification of invitation to submit full papers (6000-8000 words)
- April 1, 2020 - Submission of full papers
- September 1, 2020 - review process complete
- November 2020 - publication of articles
Feminist scholarship is an increasingly diverse, interdisciplinary field that uncovers a wide range of voices, perspectives and points of emphasis. Feminist theory and movements are crucial in disentangling asymmetries such as power and subordination, oppression and resistance, dominance and marginalisation through a critical lens, and at bettering existing social environments and the pursuit of fairness, justice and freedom. Particularly, the merit of feminist theory lies within the shared scepticism of dualistic thinking that divides the world into clear-cut, antagonistic categories and reinforces hierarchical relationships between these categories (Ferguson, 2017).
In the digital age, feminist scholars have shifted their attention to the impact of technology on gender inequalities, asymmetric power relations and social circumstances. For instance, the internet used to be understood as a feminist media that may enable women’s liberation and lay the groundwork for a new type of social relations (Wajcman, 2010). However, the restrictive and hierarchical nature of the digital environment, while enabling many opportunities for marginalised categories, also engenders emergent issues such as cyber racism (Daniels, 2009), online misogyny (Jane, 2014; Dragiewicz, 2018), virtual sexual violence or revenge porn (Arora, 2019; Henry & Powell, 2015).
Given numerous threats to women and other gender or sexual minorities, a feminist internet ensuring equality, freedom and safety is advocated by activists and scholars alike. Moreover, feminists active in Science and Technology Studies (or technofeminists) actively examine the ways in which society, politics and culture impact technological developments. At the same time, Feminist HCI (Human Computer Interaction) scholars propose that interactive systems and technologies should integrate feminist values such as agency, identity and empowerment in their agenda (Bardzell, 2010), and make use of feminist tools – both empirical and methodological, to understand issues of marginalisation and exclusion within HCI.
Though comprehensively addressed by feminist researchers, a new issue arises: are these new feminized technologies inclusive? Critiques of the Enlightenment teleological narrative of dividing Western feminisms into ‘primitive’ and ‘modern’ are applicable in a technological space where these discourses intersect with the digitization of the global south (Abu-Lughod, 2013; Narayan, 1997, 2010; Khader, 2019). Critiques of missionary feminism argue that these tools are not saving ‘from,’ but saving ‘to’ a westernized ideal (Abu-Lughod, 2002). A decolonized conceptualization of technological feminism is therefore called for.
A strictly localised approach to these issues might prove insufficient as digital platforms can foster communication and new alliances across physical borders. Rather, we need a cross-cultural feminist approach that takes into account the intersection of different identities, values, and the broader technological and social contexts that shape them. In brief, a decolonized feminist approach to technology is essential today for understanding the ethical, social and political implications of the ever-changing world we inhabit. The purpose of this Special Issue is to push contemporary discourses at the intersection of feminism, technology, society, and decolonization by posing questions such as:
- Can we encode feminist values into technological design, development, and implementation and if so, how? Are there intrinsic values of these tech communities that can be at odds with feminist values?
- Whose feminism is encoded to build a digital space that is inclusive of women across borders? Technology is created to transcend borders and cultures; is there a universal feminism that can do the same?
- Is technological feminism an extension of western feminist ideals? If so, how can feminist technologies be decolonized and what values are missing?
- Is it possible to build a feminist technology in a contextual vacuum? If not, then how can we create localized context for products that are generalized by design?
- Can feminist technologies address online hate and misogyny? If so, how?
- Is feminism a primary pathway for the most inclusive of future technologies, or are there other intersectional identities that should supersede feminism?
Global Perspectives/University of California
Berkeley, CA, Vereinigte Staaten
United States, CA