Five College Women's Studies Research Center

Panel Titles and Abstracts - Mediating Public Spheres: Genealogies of Feminist Knowledge in the Digital Age

PANEL 1: BODIES/EMBODIMENT

Anne Ciecko (Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Neurodiversity, Feminism and the Public Sphere Paradox

Meredith Nash (Sociology, University of Tasmania)
Visualising gender: An examination of pregnancy through digital photographs

Mary Nucci (Human Ecology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)
(Social) Science: Digital Media and Science Phobia

Ninette Rothmueller (Alumna Associate, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center)
The Heartbeat of a Machine and I


PANEL 2: RECORDING FEMINIST VOICES IN POLITICAL PROTEST

Elizabeth Currans (Women’s and Gender Studies, Eastern Michigan University)
Mediating Critique and Dialogue: Online Conversations and Local Organizing

Natalia Muñoz (Multimedia Artist, Journalist and Communications and Marketing Consultant, Verdant Multicultural Media)
The Media and Engaging Communities of Color

Eve Ng (Research Associate, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center) 
Sophie Toupin
 (Research Associate, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center)
Critiquing the Cloud

Dahlia Valle (History at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY)
A Public Voice for Public Bodies?


PANEL 3: DIGITAL MAPPING AND ARCHIVING

Kelly Ball (Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Emory University)
Julie Enszer 
(Women’s Studies, University of Maryland) 
When Patience Leaves You Dusty: Politicizing the Process of Waiting in the Archive

Marla Jaksch (Women’s and Gender Studies, The College of New Jersey) 
Mapping Differential Geographies: New Media, The Virtual Freedom Trail, and the Politics of (Re)-Telling African Women’s Contributions to the Liberation Struggle in Tanzania

Dorit Naaman (Film and Media, Queen’s University)
Dana Olwan
 (Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University)
Qatamon in Color: Commemoration, Remembrance, and Im/Possible Presents

Martin Norden (Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
The Role of Digitized Historical Periodicals in Women’s Film Research: A Case Study

Jennifer Redmond (History, Bryn Mawr College)
Open Source Technology and Feminist Perspectives: Translating Sources on the History of Women’s Education to the Digital Age

Maria San Filippo (Research Associate, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center)
After AfterEllen.com: On-line Queer Media Communities as Critical Counterpublics



SATURDAY EVENTS

Student Presentations from Five College Seminars
Karen Koehler (Art and Architectural History, Hampshire College)
Women, Art, and the Avant Garde
 
Ninette Rothmueller (FCWSRC Alumnae Associate, Smith College and Mount Holyoke College)
Liquid Futures. Water and Sustainable Design in a Globalized Setting

Sonya Donaldson (Africana Studies, Hampshire College)
Growing up Black: Coming-of-Age Narratives in the African Diaspora


PANEL 1: BODIES/EMBODIMENT

Anne Ciecko (Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Neurodiversity, Feminism and the Public Sphere Paradox

Asperger’s Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism are frequently described as invisible impairments that may not be immediately apparent but involve various social, communicative, sensory, and perceptual challenges, pervasive interests, repetitive behavioral patterns, and non-neurotypical cognition. However, AS and HFA can be manifested in attendant exceptional neurocognitive abilities, visual thinking, finely-tuned senses, expressive originality, deep and differently networked knowledge, fluid intelligence, alternative genealogies of knowledge and modes of communication. 
  
While an exceptional woman, Temple Grandin, has arguably become the highest profile public autistic media figure, discourse of autism has historically skewed toward male representation. Diagnostic figures for AS and HFA position females as an underrepresented minority-within-a-minority. It is widely speculated that AS is underreported in females because they learn to mask and mimic, and pass as neurotypical. Links between autistic empowerment and neurodiversity movements and feminism have been topics of debate in a variety of media forums, along with theories of the gendered mind (eg. Baron-Cohen’s “extreme male brain” concept) and empathy. 
  
Audiovisual, digital, and interactive media and technology offer adaptive/bridging, self expressive, and educational possibilities for subjects and realities across the Spectrum. However, these outlets have also been vehicles for perpetuation of marginalizing negative images and enforcement of neurotypical normativity.

Higher education and academic life is sometime spopularly painted in the media as a haven for people on the autistic spectrum. The most common models, "coming-out" narratives, and testimonials of autistic academic professional training, mentorship, and success favor specifically-difned fields and disciplines - especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This presentation will foreground feminist autistic scholarly interdisciplinarity and intersectionality, autodidacticism and nonnormative socialization, within aggressively neurotypical academic arenas. Drawing from what I will call "mediated Spectrum-scapes", gendered experiences, research, advocacy, and resources, I hope to offer a constructive exploratory discussion of contradictions, chalenges, and empowerment possibilities.

Meredith Nash (Sociology, University of Tasmania)
Visualising gender: An examination of pregnancy through digital photographs

This paper draws upon ‘feminist’ ‘memory work’ and the ‘photovoice’ method as frames for discussing the ways in which digital images may be used to trace and understand pregnant embodiment. I shall argue that digital photographs taken by women during pregnancy can reveal important information about how they experience their own bodies in contrast to cultural images and representations. I focus on pregnancy photographs in response to the limited attention paid to the use of digital images in social science research and the need to develop productive feminist approaches in their use.

Twelve participants in Hobart, Australia were self-selected using multiple points of contact. Participants were given digital cameras and they were asked to photograph themselves during pregnancy (20-24 pictures per month). Through a process of photo-elicitation, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted in 10-week intervals from between 10 and 20 weeks pregnant until after birth (4 interviews per participant). Data analysis employed thematic analytic techniques. The final stage involved participants in selecting their most ‘significant’ photographs to display to the community in an exhibition.

Digital cameras were tools that allowed pregnant women to portray themselves and their experiences in ways that would otherwise be impossible. With the increased variety, flexibility, and sources of digital images, participants had more support for memory work in pregnancy than they would with an analogue camera. Digital photographs were used as retrospective memory aides and women expressed a range of emotions in response to their photographs and tensions of self were embodied in their images. Concerns over appearance, in particular, reflected changing norms for pregnant embodiment. In this way, the concepts of the ‘body’ and ‘reproduction’ were expanded as women’s individual embodied experiences of pregnancy were reflected in the production and viewing of their own photographic images.


Mary Nucci (Human Ecology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)
(Social) Science: Digital Media and Science Phobia

Ada Lovelace Day. Science Cheerleaders. Catalyst Women in Chemistry Series. Sally Ride Day. GirlScience. Science: It’s a Girl Thing. These are just a few of the myriad programs aimed at encouraging girls to engage with science, both to address the disparity that exits in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, but also to promote the idea that girls can do science and be good at it. Research has shown that the reasons that girls don’t follow science as a career or even an avocation are multi-causal. In their review of the literature on girls and science, Brotman and Moore (2008) pointed to four themes in the research literature examining girls engagement with science: 1. equity and access, 2. curriculum and pedagogy, 3. reconstruction of the nature and culture of science, and 4. identity. What they each share to some degree is the idea of wrongness: gender bias in the classroom/text/discipline, errors in the focus or topic in science curriculum, science as a socially constructed male domain, normative behaviors and support in science education. Refocusing science education for girls on what is right may provide an answer to promote science engagement. If we instead consider the positive attributes of girls and young women that coincide with science as a creative, collegial discipline, we may provide a means for girls to find their identity, their interest and their place in science, rather than femaleness as mutually exclusive with science (Brickhouse, 2001; Gilbert, 2001). Focusing solely on the social aspects of science, this presentation will discuss evidence gathered from coursework that requires digital engagement with science, and discusses the responses from women college students who engage with science in the digital (social) space.

Ninette Rothmueller (Alumna Associate, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center)
The Heartbeat of a Machine and I

As an interdisciplinary scholar and artist, my work engages with philosophy of the body and cultural theory in a feminist study of biomedical developments. My work – both academically and artistically - examines the social, cultural, ethical and legal complexities of new injustices for women which arise as a result of both body fragmentation and trade in bodily substances in the context of technology-mediated life sciences in Europe. With a focus on historically-established hierarchies between eastern and western European countries, I trace how various modes of commodification leave discursive and experiential traces at the level of both the individual and society.

In this presentation, I will focus on a dimension of the work done for my PhD, in which I employ theoretical approaches from the field of Leibphilosophie when bringing together qualitative interview data, visual texts, art works and sound works in a feminist analysis of biomedical developments between different socio-geographics and between different body-geographics. In doing so, I explore how technologically-mediated strategies of mapping create social environments in which different forms of inequality and trading relations can flourish, due to the very specific positioning of both active and passive actors (and due to the activation of technological objects as truth producing co-performers). My analysis is informed by the development of a theoretical-methodological approach in which art-inclusive research and practices of data analysis offer a means to transform and challenge traditional modes of knowledge production in academia.


Panel 2: Recording Feminist Voices in Political Protest

Elizabeth Currans (Women’s and Gender Studies, Eastern Michigan University)
Mediating Critique and Dialogue: Online Conversations and Local Organizing

On April 3rd 2011, in response to a police officer claiming that “women should stop dressing like sluts to avoid being victimized,” thousands of women and a handful of male allies marched in the first SlutWalk in Toronto, Ontario. This framework for claiming public space quickly spread across Canada, the United States, the Americas, Europe, and the world; eventually appearing in locations as geographically and culturally diverse as India, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, and Kyrgyzstan. These marches elicited strong responses of a variety of tenors. Some were as blatantly misogynist as the victim-blaming discourses SlutWalks contested. Others rejoiced in the renewed presence of feminist public protest. Still others questioned if this tactic successfully contested sexual violence and if the campy mode of response sufficiently addressed the experiences of women from a variety of racial, economic, and national backgrounds. These marches set the stage for an electronic debate about gender, sexuality, race, and appropriate responses to violence. In other words, engagements in topographically public spaces facilitated conversations in a mediated counterpublic sphere. These debates, in turn, influenced organizing on the ground.

Based on analysis of these online debates, participant observation of the 2012 Toronto and Detroit SlutWalks, and interviews with SlutWalk Toronto organizers, this paper explores the relationship between mediated feminist conversations and local organizing, arguing that the worldwide web provides a window into the ever present negotiations about the best feminist response to misogyny. As part of this analysis, I also examine the sometimes condemnatory, frequently critical, and occasionally dialogue-seeking ways that feminists address each other online and the effects of these affective choices on ongoing conversations and organizing.

Natalia Muñoz (Multimedia Artist, Journalist and Communications and Marketing Consultant, Verdant Multicultural Media)
The Media and Engaging Communities of Color

This presentation spotlights instances when media engagement with communities of color has worked and why, and when it has not worked and why. Connecting across differences is fundamental for the nation to grow stronger. It has to be intentional and inclusionary.

The digital age opened doors to people of color in the form of thousands of blogs and new magazines, but corporate media still rules the national conversation and, therefore, the health of communities of color, notably women. The pregnancy of a princess an ocean away gets prominent play and the plight of women without access to pre-natal care is almost non-existent.

And while the 2012 elections proved to mainstream media that people of color and women are forces of change, day-to-day coverage of issues of importance to these communities is lacking.

Here in Massachusetts, U.S. Senate contenders Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren spent a combined $78 million on their campaigns, and most of that money was used on ads targeting issues of importance to women. Focusing on a group that’s been politically marginalized –women – worked, but neither campaign took it a step further to reach out in a consistent and committed manner to diverse communities.

So while women’s rights are a top priority thanks to voter demographics as well as conscientious policy-making led by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the myriad issues people of color contend with in health, education, access to jobs and housing remain on the backburner. How to move the flow of information to communities that need it is part of the presentation.

When the substance and message are consonant, people of color become engaged.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has had great success with communities of color in part by occasionally holding press conferences for the ethnic media. He acknowledges that some outlets among the ethnic media may be one-person operations but are an important link to communities of color and can serve as powerful ambassadors between his administration and the diverse populations of the commonwealth. He has signed an executive order called New Americans Agenda to create policies to help immigrants and refugees integrate into the commonwealth.

Despite the dramatic changes in delivery in how news is spread, the digital age has not bridged the divide between the history writers and audiences. It is not surprising that, for example, “60 Minutes” shows mostly stories of white people told by white people, mostly male. CBS, like most other networks, is by and for white people. People of color are included as tokens. But even small and progressive corporate media disconnect from people of color. A recent article in The Daily Hampshire Gazette, in Northampton, Mass., on racial disparities in the Amherst public schools referred to people of color as “non-white.” So now people of color are not only less than (“minority”) but also not something (“non-white.”)

An online magazine, Colorlines, offers a plethora of news and views that engage people of color. How? Quite simply, the content is driven by a call to racial justice. The stories are written in English, but the content is geared to the interests and concerns of a diverse audience, including immigrant communities.

Eve Ng (Research Associate, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center)
Sophie Toupin
(Research Associate, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center)
Critiquing the Cloud 

Both the activist discourses of the Occupy movements and media representations of Occupy have foregrounded class as a social divider, which has overshadowed other axes of inequality that stratify Occupy itself. In this paper, we take an intersectional feminist approach that has largely been absent from academic discussions. Our analysis centers feminist agency and critiques, and brings feminist claims to the fore within the Occupy discursive repertoire.

We draw on Sophie's empirical research, conducted from September to December 2012, on the intersectional feminist contributions or 'nodes' in Occupy Wall Street and how such nodes are shaped by and shaping the movement. Early findings point to a gendered division of labour within the movement, both in the virtual and physical world, where (self-identified) women and queers are disproportionally involved in reproductive, care and awareness-raising functions, such as educating (white) men on oppression and their privileges, while (white) men are involved with more valued work and being the 'faces' of the movement in both mainstream and alternative media.

We will tie our analysis to broader conversations about new media and participation to
discuss the possibilities and limits of cloud protesting, and consider how to contest digital inequalities through both online and offline strategies.

Dahlia Valle (History at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY)
A Public Voice for Public Bodies?

The public realm has historically been forbidden for women's ideas and actions, yet their bodies are open for public attacks, both physically and verbally. With an entrance into a digital age, do women and their bodies have a voice? Or is the cyberverse just a replication of patriarchal and misogynistic culture? What I call “remote activism” has also stripped women of a community and physical presence in the “real world”. If activists stay “behind the scenes” then how will the rest of the world know of their “real world” existence? These questions, as well as a discussion of cyberbullying and the online gaming community will be discussed in this presentation.

Is the digital world a masculine sphere? Absolutely. We can see this through the numerous examples of teenagers who are bullied via the internet and sexually harassed. Young girls are attacked for being sexually alluring and young men are attacked for being effeminate. This is not much different from Jean Kilbourne’s discussion of how the media “devalues all that is feminine in our culture” and promotes “violent masculinity” (Kilbourne, “Killing Us Softly 4”, Media Education Foundation and Jackson Katz’s “Tough Guise: Violent Masculinity in the Media”) The gaming industry on the web also replicates a sort of schoolyard bullying, a “no girls allowed” stance. This is incredibly problematic.

In addition to the issue of a masculine sphere, the internet provides a dissemination of information that is incredibly fast and has proved to be fortuitous for some social movements.  Because we can quickly and succinctly connect with others who share the same ideologies as we do. For example, I can wake up in the morning and find several petitions from feminist organizations telling me major and minor news stories relating to women’s issues, and usually a link to sign a petition and share that information on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc. But this kind of remote activism takes away a crucial part of women’s movements: a safe, physical place to exchange ideas with other women, and a physical presence that is visible to the rest of the world.  This absence of a larger, physical presence could in fact be detrimental to feminist goals and concerns.  


Panel 3: Digital Mapping and Archiving

Kelly Ball (Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Emory University)
Julie Enszer
(Women’s Studies, University of Maryland) 
When Patience Leaves You Dusty: Politicizing the Process of Waiting in the Archive

During the 1970s and the 1980s, lesbian-feminists created a vibrant lesbian print culture, participating in the creation, production, and distribution of books, chapbooks, journals, newspapers, and other printed materials. This extraordinary output of creative material provides a rich archive for new insights about the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM), gay liberation (the LGBT movement), and recent U.S. social history. Access to this archive, however, is limited. Some research libraries collected this material from the WLM, but lesbian-feminists distributed many of these materials for immediate consumption, not with an eye to library holdings. Today, few of these materials receive attention in public and private digitization initiatives. For example, one common archival practice is to prioritize the processing and digitization of collections in response to scholarly interest. Given the tendency for lesbian history to be erased, under-valued, and under-theorized within queer scholarship (B. Martin, A. Jagose), how might archival practices of digitization and preservation be politicized to account for this asymmetry? In other words, how do we ensure that lesbian-feminist print culture, the site of activism for hundreds of women during the WLM, is both preserved and made accessible for future generations? How do we theorize lesbian-feminist print culture as worthy of scholarly attention in literary studies, history, and queer studies?

Julie R. Enszer’s talk, "Conditions: Material and Digital Archives," examines three responses to those questions. First, Enszer discusses her work to preserve the material remains of lesbian-feminist print culture at the Lesbian Poetry Archive (www.LesbianPoetryArchive.org), in particular the journal Conditions; Enszer distributed seventeen boxes of back issues of the journal to libraries and community archives worldwide. Second, with undergraduate students, Enszer is building a digital archive of Conditions with full copies of each issue of the journal, reflections from writers, editors, and contributors to Conditions, and contemporary responses to the journal. Finally, Enszer uses archival material from lesbian print culture in my courses to invite a new generation to engage with the ideas expressed by WLM activists. Preserving, digitizing, and teaching lesbian print culture is one strategy to ensure its survival.

Kelly H. Ball’s talk, “When Patience Leaves You Dusty: Politicizing the Process of Waiting in the Archive” addresses the question of how processing and digitization initiatives are adjudicated on the administrative level in research libraries. Taking the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) at Emory University as a case study, Ball discusses how lesbian print culture is structurally “hidden” in the archives by being repeatedly pushed to the bottom of the processing and digitization schedule. Given MARBL’s status as a leading research archive and MARBL’s commitment to preserving histories of social justice within the American South, the repeated delay of processing lesbian print materials and manuscript materials demands reflection. Ball argues that the indefinite pause of processing lesbian materials reflects broader trends in scholarship, the interests of grant agencies who make processing and digitization possible, and the interest of the general public. Moreover, the paper suggests that teaching with these materials is one way to politicize the importance of lesbian-feminist materials and thus move them to higher priority in the processing queue. To this end, Ball concludes by discussing some recent faculty approaches to incorporating lesbian- feminist materials into their syllabi and thus giving archivists a platform from which to argue for processing and digitizing funds.

Marla Jaksch (Women’s and Gender Studies, The College of New Jersey) 
Mapping Differential Geographies: New Media, The Virtual Freedom Trail, and the Politics of (Re)-Telling African Women’s Contributions to the Liberation Struggle in Tanzania

2011 marks the 50th anniversary of liberation from colonial rule in Tanzania and many other African countries. Building up to this momentous occasion there have been various conferences, workshops, celebrations and discussions about the achievements that have been made and to reflect on what yet has yet to be done. It has also marked a new trend in Tanzania that of African liberation heritage tourism.

Societies emerging from colonialism, conflict and violence face numerous challenges at the local, national, and international levels. A variety of strategies now exist for “healing” wounds of violent past and for coping with the future. National reconciliation and peace building can be promoted through effective use of innovative heritage projects for empowerment while providing redress for marginalized communities. In most African countries, cultural institutions like museums and art galleries, archives and art academies were established either by the colonial state or in the context of postcolonial nation building. Often these efforts have been shaped according to national aesthetics and/or thematic concepts and guidelines. By moving beyond those well established forms of heritage pageantry – national memorials, commemoration celebrations – that are often more about national performance than social justice, important histories of the “other” that were formerly overlooked, silenced, and diminished may now be explored.

My project rests at the intersection of efforts to rethink African liberation heritage and debates surrounding how and who should undertake these efforts and who should directly benefit. My project maps the complex relationships between Tanzania and South Africa, specifically women’s contributions, in preparing for liberation and post-apartheid South Africa. Most of this history is only now being fully explored, and still widely unavailable and much still undocumented. While the 50th anniversary of Tanzania’s independence has sparked an eruption of exhibitions, books, and events, a close look at the materials and content of events reveals a continued hegemony in regards to what counts as worthy of telling, whose stories matter. My project specifically examines the contributions of and visual and textual representations by/of women political activists in Tanzania, including female anti-apartheid and liberation activists living in exile in Tanzania, both during and after the struggle against apartheid and colonialism.

The goal of this research is to produce the Virtual Freedom Trail Project (VFTP), an open-source, community-based archive and web-based virtual, living museum, centering on the marginalized voices and experiences in the struggle for liberation in Tanzania.
In this particular case, it addresses historic conservation and cultural heritage in economically poor countries as it also relates to issues of poverty, land use/rights, gender inequality, and the digital divide. It will challenge histories told exclusively from elite perspectives and represent histories/social problems in support of development at the grassroots/community level. Furthermore, this project specifically seeks to identify alternative visions for sustainable development in Africa through historic and cultural conservation that may well challenge prevailing and contemporary attitudes towards both. The protection of cultural heritage in countries like Tanzania is a challenge, particularly where heritage sites are widely spread in rural areas. By combining local community-based resources, including participants, and local forms of knowledge production to document, preserve and protect heritage sites on the Internet, provides a viable alternative for the conservation of endangered heritage assets.

Dorit Naaman (Film and Media, Queen’s University)
Dana Olwan
(Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University)
Qatamon in Color: Commemoration, Remembrance, and Im/Possible Presents

Qatamon in Color is a multi platform digital project that employs a two-pronged approach to trace the genealogy the complex history of a West Jerusalem neighborhood back to its Palestinian origins. Producing an interactive site, walking tours and onsite media installation, former Palestinian residents are invited to re-inscribe their family histories onto their homes, commemorating a past and imagining a present while the Jewish-Israeli residents will be engaged in exploring their homes’ (and by extension the city’s) Palestinian history.

In this presentation, the artistic and research co-directors will describe the process of developing a project that works with two communities where the political, economic and physical power differential is not only enormous, but also often masked in creative projects that aim to humanize individuals. We will address the politics of our work and how it engages competing historical scripts and charged political spaces. We will explore the personal and collective challenges of this project. Our talk is inspired by our feminist practices which seek to confront political power imbalances, create feminist alliances, and open new modes of viewing a complex historical and social space.

Martin Norden (Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
The Role of Digitized Historical Periodicals in Women’s Film Research: A Case Study

Women made important inroads into the U.S. film industry on all its levels during the first thirty years of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, however, they saw much of their history erased over the ensuing decades as historians chose to focus mainly on the accomplishments of male figures of the time, such as D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mack Sennett, Buster Keaton, Cecil B. DeMille, etc. Now, however, with the advent of new digital technologies, the women’s stories are coming much more readily to light.

The last decade has seen enormous advances in the retrieval and searching of historical periodicals, with many such documents now digitized and available online. Millions of these documents are currently on the web, and many are searchable via OCR (optical character recognition) technology. Most college and university libraries subscribe to a suite of historical newspapers provided by ProQuest, such as New York Times, Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune, but there are countless other sources. For instance, many websites initially created for do-it-yourself family genealogists, such as ancestry.com and genealogybank.com, have proven invaluable for professional historical researchers in all fields. Particularly important for researchers investigating the early movie industry is the Media History Digital Library (mediahistoryproject.org), a nonprofit that recently mounted many trade periodicals and fan magazines (e.g., Moving Picture World, New York Clipper, Photoplay) on the web in an open-access format. Such electronic resources have enabled feminist scholars to pursue a “level playing field” approach to film history and provide alternatives to the recycled (and male-dominated) narratives that have characterized much historical writing about film.

To illustrate the importance of digitized historical periodicals to the salvaging of women’s film history, I will draw upon my own work as a case study. I am currently preparing a book on Lois Weber (1879-1939), who wrote, directed, and edited literally hundreds of film from the 1900s to the 1930s but is a sadly neglected figure today. My book, under contract to the University Press of Mississippi, will be an anthology consisting primarily of interviews Weber conducted with journalists during the 1910s and 1920s. She was a key figure in the development of the early film industry but, unlike many of her male contemporaries, did not leave behind an autobiography or book of memoirs and did not have an archival collection established in her name. Hence, there has long been a need for a book-length volume of her public utterances. My aim is to restore Weber’s “voice” as thoroughly as I can through this project, and I never would have been able to compile such a book without the digital technology now available; such a book would have been unthinkable even a half-dozen years ago. I will discuss the challenges of conducting historical research with the digital tools noted above and, if I have access to the internet and a video projector during my presentation, would do a brief demonstration of the techniques, time permitting.

Jennifer Redmond (History, Bryn Mawr College)
Open Source Technology and Feminist Perspectives: Translating Sources on the History of Women’s Education to the Digital Age

This presentation draws on research I have been conducting on the history of women’s education, focusing on both prominent figures and important themes and events in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. So often we think of women’s history in terms of dearth; a lack of source material or neglect of private, less prominent or alternate forms of archival material has meant that women’s history has lacked critical attention in national narratives. This leads to what I have referred to as a necessary ‘patching of the sources’, where I imagine a patchwork quilt of source materials, some fragmentary, some illuminating and vivid, that need to be combined to create the fullest narrative possible for certain topics in women’s history, or ‘interventions’ from women’s source materials on wider themes. Our endeavors to produce digital source material comes from a desire to transmit knowledge and cultural production of awareness of women’s history to as wide an audience as possible: fellow researchers, students, teachers, alumnae, digital humanists and those simply with a desire to learn more about the topic: in essence, the public sphere has expanded in the digital age, although there are still challenges to this morphing into another form of ‘digital divide’.

The digital age and the tools it provides allows for a different mediation of knowledge than standard forms of scholarly communications, which as Smith Rumsey has noted, has seen “fundamental operational changes and epistemological challenges [that] generate new possibilities for analysis, presentation, and reach into new audiences”. 1 The exhibit format in the open source software tool we use, Omeka, allows for a deconstructed narrative to be formed about the subject matter; while it is cohesive in terms of form and flow, the sectioning of a narrative, particularly when dealing with a person’s biography, allows for the fragmentation of their story, and in my efforts, for a kaleidoscopic view on them to emerge. This is, in my view, one of the pivotal means by which to incorporate digital media in feminist scholarship and practice. In a feminist postmodern tradition, this approach posits that there is no ONE person for us to study, no ONE Truth we can ascribe to a person or their life history. It also impacts on the presentation of the narratives we tell and to be cognizant of the privilege in these stories: the history of women’s entry into higher education is an elite history and recognition of this is necessary so that the histories we tell are not merely celebratory without being interrogative. Collections in an elite college necessarily reflect elite histories; multi-layered narratives need to be critiqued and analyzed. This presentation will address these themes in addition to an analysis of the impact of using digital vs. “real” archival material in pedagogy and research, and will critically reflect on the potential for feminist contributions to digital humanities.

Maria San Filippo (Research Associate, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center)
After AfterEllen.com: On-line Queer Media Communities as Critical Counterpublics

This article considers how interactive web-based communities act as counterpublics organized around queer screen media, using as its seminal case study AfterEllen.com. Founded in 2002 by Sarah Warn, AfterEllen became the premier community (on-line or otherwise) of queer women talking about queer women in film and television. Conceived and designed to facilitate global access and user interaction, AfterEllen offers a vital example of contemporary media fan-activism fostering a queer women’s community. AfterEllen is an influential pioneer within a media blogosphere that has paved the way for more queer critics in major media outlets. AfterEllen has also served as a catalyst for women’s meditations on popular culture more broadly, in online forums such as Feminist Frequency, Feministing, Jezebel, and xoJane, and in “pop-up communities” such as that generated by the 2010 “It Gets Better” campaign in support of queer youth. By examining the technological, economic, and ideological tactics that nourish these digital communities of cinephiles and media activists, I aim to understand and promote its counterpublic potential for queer women and new media subcultures as well as its potential uses for teachers and students of gender and media studies. Of chief importance to my examination will be a consideration of how AfterEllen coverage transformed following the 2006 buyout by LGBTQ cable television channel Logo, whose parent company is Viacom. By sifting through AfterEllen’s archival record, I will track its changing representational politics as it shifted from independent to corporate ownership.


Panel 4: All Roads Lead to Feminist Science & Technology Studies!  Genealogies of Science in FeminisM
Five College Feminist Science and Technology Studies Initiative

Kiran Asher (International Development and Social Change Program, Clark University)
Jennifer Hamilton (Critical Social Inquiry, Hampshire College)
Lisa McLoughlin (Engineering, Greenfield Community College)
Jacquelyne Luce (Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Donna Riley (Engineering, Smith College)
Britt Rusert (Afro American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Banu Subramaniam (Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Angie Willey (Five College Feminist Science Studies Faculty)

In this presentation, we explore the multiple genealogies of feminist science and technology studies (FSTS) and what that means for the future of women, gender and sexuality studies and for feminism and science. Over the last year through our writing and reading groups and seminar series, we have explored our different points of entry into feminist science and technology studies. Within our group, we have arrived at the field from a wide range of disciplines, including: American studies, Afro-American Studies, anthropology, biological sciences, critical race studies, development and environmental studies, cultural studies, engineering, forestry, history, literary studies, political science, science and technology studies, social justice, and women’s studies. To us, the wide reach of scholarly focus on feminism and science signals the centrality of questions of feminism and science and technology.

Some scholars in feminist science and technology studies have offered interesting genealogies of the emergence of FSTS as a field. However, we argue that in fact there is no unitary or “true” genealogy to this field. Instead, we explore the multiple histories, genealogies and stories on the emergence of the field through the multiple narratives of the members of the five college FSTS Initiative. We explore what is at stake – for feminism and science - in telling different origin stories. Rather than a unitary focus or definition of the field, these multiple narratives reveal both the vibrancy and political urgency of the project of science, technology and feminism. These narratives also reveal that the intersections of feminism and science/technology represent a central and critical site that multiple fields independently and inevitably come upon. Rather than define and prescribe the contours of the field, we call for the continued heterogeneity and porous borders for the field. In this presentation, we explore the multi-disciplinary, and interdisciplinary articulations of feminist science and technology studies and chart the tremendous possibilities and futures that such rich genealogies make possible without losing sight of the fields of power within which they operate.


Saturday Events
Roundtable and Media Demos of FCWSRC Learning Communities

For information about the work of these communities, please click here:
FCWSRC Learning Communities

Student Presentations from Five College Seminars

Karen Koehler (Art and Architectural History, Hampshire College)
Women, Art, and the Avant Garde

This pro-seminar will give students the opportunity to develop an in-depth, independent research paper on a woman artist, architect, or designer working in the 20th or 21st century-from any place or region of the world. The course will begin by collectively considering the work of modernist, post-war, and contemporary women artists who are known for their experimentation and for working in multiple modalities-including painting, sculpture, performance, installation, books arts, video, film, photography, architecture and design. Throughout, we will target the ways in which women artists have crossed or defied traditional formats and delivery platforms, as well as those today who work in multifaceted mediatic interfaces. Visiting scholars will
demonstrate the ways in which case studies can enable rigorous formal analysis, complex historical contextualizations, and diverse critical approaches. Each student will produce a lengthy research paper, which they will develop, workshop, and present throughout the semester.

Ninette Rothmueller (FCWSRC Alumnae Associate, Smith College and Mount Holyoke College)
Liquid Futures. Water and Sustainable Design in a Globalized Setting

The topic of ‘Flooded Cities’ is a challenging one within postmodern architecture and sustainable design. As numerous cities in the US have and will experience severe flooding, it is a pressing issue for architecture to develop sustainable interventions which provide feasible responses to address such developments. Participants in this
independent studies project will take on the task of contributing to the second virtual world water day symposium held on the platform Waterwheel. Participants will lead an academic and/or artistic panel on ‘Flooded Cities’, which will involve doing research on the topic, co-selecting presenters, and chairing the conference session. In addition, students will learn how to best use the platform, be advised on how to create a knowledge producing network on a topic of interest, and are requested to publish on the outcome of their engagement with the topic following the conference. Participants will have the unique chance to network with academics from various international universities, which are co-organizing the symposium. Students will be required to design the interactive web-space in which their panel takes place,using the free tools offered by the Waterwheel platform. Designing the web-space will include elements of, for example, sound design, stage design, audience space esign, and communication design (input/output in written/spoken format during a question and answer period).

Sonya Donaldson (Africana Studies, Hampshire College)
Growing up Black: Coming-of-Age Narratives in the African Diaspora

In this course, students will examine coming-of-age narratives to consider the ways in which writers explore the challenges of growing up Black in the Diaspora. We will engage critical questions such as: What does Black childhood look like? Does a Black childhood exist? Can it? How is Black childhood defined and what defines it? Further, what is the relationship between Black childhood and the project of nation building and the idea of national belonging? How do Black parents function in preparing their progeny for their role/place in the nation, particularly with regards to questions of being a "nation within a nation" and/or claims to citizenship?